Yesterday, I was working with one of my 2nd grade classes on the subject of Feelings.  In particular, we were talking about strategies for calming down during times of the school day when strong feelings make it difficult to stay focused and ready to learn.

One of my students raised his hand in the air and eagerly told me about the new “Conflict Bridge” that his teacher had recently brought in.  I challenged him to show me how the bridge helped kids solve conflicts; he accepted!

With pride, he rolled out a tan mat (see below) in grandiose style and picked a classmate to help demonstrate how the bridge gave them the steps and the language they needed to work through a problem situation. With each child facing the other, starting on the first square of opposite sides of the mat, they took turns following each step (I feel_____ when. I want _____. etc). With no rehearsal (because the step-by-step bridge makes rehearsal unnecessary), they walked toward each other (literally and figuratively), each following the same step from their own point of view.  In the end, they met in the middle of the “bridge” and shook hands after effectively working through a recent sports-related conflict from recess.    It was incredible!

I now have a new favorite way to teach the steps and language of Conflict Resolution to my students.  Looking forward to bringing this to all of my elementary classrooms!