"That's mine!" one child shouted, snatching the coffee stirrer with an attached string from his friend’s piece of art.
"You ruined my art!" the friend wailed.
"It is my art, it is the sail of my ship!" he retaliated.
"But, I need it," the friend shouted before lashing out with his fists.
“You are both feeling angry,” I said, connecting their feelings while separating their bodies.
"And sad," said one boy while the other nodded in agreement.
We called a peace circle with all of the children and spoke of the boys’ altercation. Taking turns, I had the other children voice their perspective while the two boys sat and calmed down.
I started by asking the children, "who remembers Don carrying his ship from the classroom to Expressive Arts?" Many of the children raised their hands. “What were the sails made of?"
One of the more quiet children raises her hand and is called on, "Coffee sticks," she correctly replied.
"And who remembers what the ship was made of?" Many more hands were raised with the answer, “An egg carton.”
"Well, I didn't remember it was yours," the friend said indignantly.
"No, you tricked me; you said I didn't need the sails,” said the ship maker. “When I took it off, you came back and got it for your art."
The truth was coming out. There was silence.
"Well, I wanted it," said the friend, getting to the root of the problem.
"Yes, you did want it,” I said with a neutral tone.
“But, it was mine. I made it for my ship.” Again, I agreed.
“Can anyone think of a solution where both boys would feel good and get what they needed?”
The group began to offer other solutions. One child noted that there were other coffee stirrers in the classroom. I reminded them of their friendship and how they could have gone together to get more supplies.
"I can see the two of you smiling and walking together, two friends, both having what they want.” They looked at each other and smiled.
“That's another idea for your peace tool box. Next time, you can make another choice,” I offered as the two boys went back to playing together.
ALTERNATIVE TO PEACE CIRCLE/ENHANCEMENT:
Have the children display how they are feeling on the Excellerations™ Our Feelings Chart (WEFEEL) or your can make a chart, listing all the feelings of the children involved in the conflict:
You could leave a space on the Feelings Chart for emotions felt after solving the problem.
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