Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Guidance Lesson: Problem Solving and Promoting Kindness (5th & 6th Grade)

Teasing and being mean is something that occurs within our schools constantly. School counselors can be utilized in classroom guidance to promote kindness and to teach refusal and/or problem-solving skills to students. This lesson will reinforce refusal skills that have already been introduced to the students and give the students a chance to put their problem-solving skills in action. There is a kindness piece at the end of the activity to reinforce kindness at the school and also it shows students that some kindness acts can be small but powerful. Encouraging students to be kind and to solve conflicts in a positive way will lead to a safe and positive school climate which will allow students to participate in academics to the best of their ability.

What you will need:
Access to YouTube with ability to display to class (link found in references)
Refusal Skills paper to review with students (attachment 1)
Conflict resolution scenarios for students to role-play (samples included as attachment 2)
Kindness acts written on papers for students to draw from (samples included as attachment 3)

1. Students will participate in warm-up activity that allows them to learn similarities and differences about each other.
2. Students will work cooperatively with each other to proactively problem-solve scenarios.

Introduce refusal skills to students (see attachment 1)
Give examples of each and ask if the students can think of a situation where they may use it. This will most likely start a discussion about which types of situations can lead to the students needing or wanting a refusal skill, especially if their friend is asking them to participate in or do something they do not want to do.
*Helpful Hint: This can be a lesson in itself, it helps prep the students to be comfortable with the refusal skills for this lesson’s activity.

Introduce the activity: “Today I brought in some scenarios for you to show the class different ways to solve small problems. I will split you up into groups and with your group, you will decide how to show the scenario to the class and include an idea to solve the situation in an appropriate and positive way. If you need some ideas, I have the list of refusal skills and other ideas here (show on board) or you can use one or two of the choices that you have learned throughout school.” Complete the activity.
*Helpful Hint: Be sure the language of the scenarios matches your audience.
*Helpful Hint: You could include scenarios that you are aware are current issues for students at your school.

Directions for the activity:
-Divide class into groups of 3 or 4.
-Hand a scenario to each group. (see attachment 2) 
-Give groups time (10-15 min) to decide how to act out the scenario and come up with a solution
-Bring class back together
-Give each group a chance to show classroom their scenario
-Discuss each solution with the entire class, ask the class to add any suggestions if need be.

If time permits, discuss why kindness can be helpful and the importance of spreading it. Show the Kindness Boomerang video. Discuss video with students. (What is the lesson of the video? What do you think of the video? What was your favorite act of kindness? Do all acts of kindness have to be really big? Were there any moments where someone could have reacted negatively but chose to do something kind? What might happen at school if we all completed acts of kindness? Etc.) Have students draw an act of kindness (see attachment 3) and ask them to complete the act within two days.
*Helpful Hint: If time does not permit, consider this kindness activity for another lesson.


There are many ways to solve conflicts in appropriate ways. By using refusal skills and positive choices, it will help students be kind to each other, avoid getting into trouble, and will allow students to build friendships. Just like meanness can be like a disease and can ‘infect’ other people, kindness can do the exact same thing. Would you rather be ‘infected’ by meanness or kindness?

And remember:

Fluetsch, Valerie. (2014). Refusal Skills List
Life Vest Inside. (2011). Kindness Boomerang. Retrieved from
Images retrieved from:
            Kindness is contagious--

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