Classroom activities and assignments

Educators know that developing any kind of literacy requires practice. Building on the literacy model for reading and writing, we need to see peace as a skill set that we must work hard to master, and dedicate years to develop. And even once developed, the skills of peace making must be actively maintained, rather than passively habituated.

We are gathering ideas for group projects, assignments, in-class exercises, and community activities built around peace literacy themes, in order to help students develop, master, and maintain their peace-making skills.

Want to share your own ideas? We'd love to hear from you!  Contact

College level examples for download

  • College or High School Level In-class Exercise for practicing the peace literacy skill of empathetic listening and reflecting on non-violence, prepared by Sharyn Clough
  • College or High School Level Writing Topics based on Chappell's Road to Peace series, prepared by Krista Hensley
  • College or High School Level Assignment for US History Classes using Chappell's Soldiers of Peace, prepared by Krista Hensley
  • College Level Assignment for English Comp using Chappell's Soldiers of Peace, prepared by Krista Hensley

high school level examples for download

middle school and primary level examples for download

  • Middle School Level In-class Activity on Animal Posturing to accompany Chappell's The End of War, prepared by Susan Radford
  •  A "StoryBird" about respect to help kids doing group work in class, designed by Kim Cowperthwait.

classroom materials for educators

  • Poster: Aggression and the Fires Burning Beneath, inspired by a design from Krista Hensley.

Films featuring themes consistent with Peace Literacy

  • Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Mathaii's non-violent strategies for environmental advocacy are documented in Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Mathaii
  • Animals posturing
  • Humans posturing
    • Comedy Duo Key and Peele illustrate the human reluctance to engage in hostile aggression in “Hold Me Back” (Comedy Central)
  • Trauma and other underlying fires that cause human aggression
    • Mike Tyson Interview (HBO Real Sports)
    • Comedy duo Key and Peele with their characteristically brutal and incisive humor, illustrate the vulnerable emotional life of a bully in “School Bully” (Comedy Central)
    • Children Full of Life - a documentary from Japan showing how Mr. Kanamori, a teacher of a 4th grade class, teaches his students teamwork, community, the importance of openness, how to cope, and the harm caused by bullying
  • Empathy building
    • Using infants to help elementary school children learn empathy: The Roots of Empathy Project
    • From the PBS NewsHour (2013) coverage of the study
    • Using shelter dogs to help prisoners learn empathy:
       Dogs on the Inside - Trailer
  • Using respect in policing
    Segment from CBS, On the Road
  • On dehumanization
    • British comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, portraying two German SS officers, who start out, like all of us, assuming they’re on the side of good. At some point they are no longer sure: “Are We the Baddies?” 
    • “Don’t be a Sucker” was made by the US War Department in 1943 and is a short (17 mins) and skillful illustration of how dehumanization works and how to resist it.
    • Four Hours at My Lai A devastating look at the massacre committed by American soldiers during the Vietnam war, the men who participated, the dehumanization of the Vietnamese women and children, and the one man who intervened.
    • The Power of Music An American World War II Veteran talks about rehumanizing German soldiers
    • A Class Divided - a 12 min. excerpt from Jane Elliot’s 1970 social experiment on dehumanization with her third grade class divided by eye-color.
  • Changing minds by appealing to worldviews

online Resources

scholarly articles by faculty who teach peace literacy

Baesler, E. J., & Lauricella, S. (2013). Reaching peace by teaching peace: Assessing instruction of the nonviolent communication and peace course. Journal of Peace Education, 10, 1-18.
Baesler, E. J. (2017). I’d rather teach peace: An autoethnographic account of the nonviolent communication and peace course. Peace Studies Journal, 10(2), 71-75.





Peace Literacy curriculum

We offer peace literacy lesson plans and study guides suitable for use in k-12 classes, higher education, and community organizations. These materials have been created by a variety of educators as a public service, and they can be downloaded here for free.

Peace Literacy
Curriculum Developers

Sharyn Clough, Ph.D. Peace Literacy
Curriculum Coordinator

Trish Beckett, B.Ed.
Scott Griswold, M.Div.

Krista Hensley, M.A.
Abbie Jenks, M.SW., M.Ed.

Christopher Mahon, B.Ed., M.A.
Ann Mbacke, B.A.
Derek Petrey, Ph.D.
Susan Radford, B.A.
Linda Richards, Ph.D.
Katherine Rowell, Ph.D.

new! Workshops

We have a number of workshops coming up this year that are open to the public - check them out!

Reports from the Field

Teachers who’ve used our materials share their stories.

Why our world needs peace literacy

A short essay for download.