Activities for
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS


RESPECT FOR ALL (2/12) Classroom lessons to foster respect for diversity--a concrete way for schools to mark Respect for All Week.

9/11 ANNIVERSARY TEACHING GUIDE. Our age-appropriate classroom lessons and activities for grades K-12 aim to deepen your students' understanding of September 11 and the 10th anniversary ceremonies, and develop their critical thinking skills. The guide, written by Morningside Center executive director Tom Roderick, also includes recommended books and other teaching ideas. Please join us on Facebook or Twitter to share your thoughts and experiences on teaching on 9/11.

ACTIVITIES TO CLOSE THE SCHOOL YEAR (for all grades) Five activities use different methodologies to help you and your students reflect on the year and look ahead to next year.

Earth Day 2011: OUR WATER FOOTPRINT (4/15/11) Elementary students consider how much water we consume and what impact it has by hearing some facts and discussing the story of one girl's water consumption.

BAND OF BROTHERS(for elementary students) (3/24/11) Students discuss their own experiences of helping others, then view and discuss a brief video about Japanese children who are working together to help their community in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami.

GULF OIL SPILL: What happened, and who is responsible? (for younger grades) (6/9/10) Students discuss the massive BP oil spill and view two short videos as they consider what happened in the gulf, their own consumption of oil, and who should be held responsible for the spill.

HAITI: Still in Crisis, but No Longer in the News (2/24/10) Marieke van Woerkom's activity helps younger students consider how Haitians are faring now that the news media has largely moved on.

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN HAITI? (1/19/10) Help your students learn about the earthquake and Haiti's history, and brainstorm about how they can help Haitians now and in the long run.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King: THE POWER OF NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE (1/13/10) Through engaging activities, video, and small-group discussion, students consider the Montgomery Bus Boycott and how they might stand up against injustice in their own lives.

TEACHING IN A TIME OF CRISIS Educator Marieke van Woerkom provides timeless guidelines for opening up discussion on difficult issues--like the current economic recession--with your elementary and middle school students. Also included: links to resources on the economic crisis to inform the class discussion.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Classroom Activities for Starting Off the School Year This 28-page PDF booklet includes great activities to get your class (grades preK-12) off to a good start in the new school year.

THE GARBAGE PATCH: Two Earth Day Lessons for Elementary Students With the help of a short video clip, students explore the 'life cycle' of a plastic bag and develop a 'reduce, reuse, recycle' action plan.

LESSONS ON THE INAUGURATION for grades K-12 Our 15-page PDF booklet includes student readings and interactive lessons about the inauguration, Obama's inaugural speech, the challenges facing the new administration, and the inaugurals of presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt.

AWARENESS OF ANGER for grades 3-6 Students reflect on a time when they were angry. They describe the ways people communicate and physically react when they have strong feelings and consider what choices we can make when we are angry.

ACTIVE LISTENING (for grades 3-6) In this lesson, students practice active listening by paraphrasing what they hear.

POINT OF VIEW for grades 3-6 Through an exercise and roleplays, students consider the importance of understanding another person's point of view in solving a conflict.

WHAT IS COMMUNICATION? for grades K-3 In these two fun classroom activities, students practice sending and receiving messages and consider what communication is.

PEACEMAKERS (for grades 3-6) A series of classroom activities culminate in students interviewing a peacemaker in their school or community.

CONFLICT AND WIN-WIN SOLUTIONS: Two Lessons for Grades 3-6 The first lesson introduces students to the concept of conflict; the second has students practice coming up with "win-win solutions."

RESPECTING DIFFERENCES for K-2 Students observe that even friends may disagree in their opinions. The lesson includes an "opinion continuum" exercise that encourages students to respectfully express and listen to different opinions.

LISTENING WELL In this activity for grades 3-6, students practice the skills of good listening.

ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT: What can we do about it? Through a series of engaging activities, students learn basic facts about climate change and consider what we can do about it.

WORK, WORKERS, & THE US LABOR MOVEMENT: Unit Plan for 5th Grade Social Studies An 8-lesson activity helps students explore issues of work and workplace conflicts through reading, discussion, interviews, and investigation.

Two Problem-Solving Approaches (K-12) Regularly instituting these two approaches in your classroom will build your students' problem-solving skills and create a more congenial classroom atmosphere.

Teacher Mentors for Students By spending a little informal time each week with a student not from their class, a teacher mentor can play an important role in a young person's life.

Study Guides: The Librarian of Basra and Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq These two recent children's books (grades K-12) present a positive opportunity to open up discussions of the Iraq war with students. Both tell the story of Alia Muhammed Baker, the chief librarian of Basra, Iraq, who saved 30,000 books from Basra's library before it burned during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Community Meeting & Meditation (Grades K-5)
These two classroom practices give your students time and space to reflect on and discuss their thoughts and feelings.

I-Messages & The Assertiveness Line (Grades K-5) Teaching students these strategies to deal with problems that come up with friends can help create a more peaceable classroom.

Think Differently (Grades K-5) Two great activities to add to your classroom routine: an Opinion Continuum opener, and a Win-Win Role-Play & Discussion.

10-Minute Community-Builders (Grades K-5) An experienced classroom teacher offers two 10-minute activities she has found useful in building community in her classroom, particularly at the start of the school year.

Feelings Charade (Grades 4-12) This fun activity can help open up communication with and among students about their feelings. It also helps build students' vocabulary and their confidence in using their full vocabulary range.

Puppet Skit: Dealing with a Bully (Grades K-1) After two puppets discuss how a bully at their school, youngsters analyze what they've seen and consider w to respond to the bully.

The Heart Story Encourages students to consider the effect of "put-downs" and to think about how to express "put-ups."

Conflict Escalator Uses puppets to introduce young children to the concept of escalating and deescalating conflict.

Be strong, Be Mean, or Give In? (Grades 3-5) Uses a student role play to help young people consider the choices of assertiveness, aggressiveness, and passivity.

Two Activities on Diversity In a group and one-on-one, students consider their similarities and differences and see that it's okay to talk about diversity.

Exploring Stereotypes: First Thoughts (Grades 4-6)
Students consider stereotypes, beginning with stereotypes of "teenagers."

Listening Circles
This simple process gives young people--and adults--a chance to express their feelings about events of the day.

Microlab for Exploring Tough Issues Well-structured small-group discussion can help students discuss issues of the day that concern them.

10-Point Model for Teaching Controversial Issues A classic guide for how to explore sensitive issues in your classroom.

 



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