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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
College level examples for download
- College Level In-class Exercise for practicing the peace literacy skill of empathetic listening and reflecting on non-violence, prepared by Sharyn Clough
- College Level Writing Topics based on Chappell's Road to Peace series, prepared by Krista Hensley
- College 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
- College Level Writing Assignments for Eng 101 using Chappell's Soldiers of Peace, prepared by Krista Hensley
high school level examples for download
- High School Level Writing Assignment for English classes, using Chappell's Soldiers of Peace, prepared by Krista Hensley
- High School Level Book Report Assignment/Template/Rubric for reading Chappell's Peaceful Revolution, prepared by Chris Mahon
- High School Level In-class Exercise for practicing the peace literacy skill of empathetic listening and reflecting on non-violence, prepared by Sharyn Clough
- High School Level Writing Topics based on Chappell's Road to Peace series, prepared by Krista Hensley
- High School Level Assignment for US History Classes using Chappell's Soldiers of Peace, prepared by Krista Hensley
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.
- The 4-Way Test for Transforming Conflict, pamphlet designed by Rotarian Action Group for Peace. For more on the 4-way test and other great Rotary Peace Resources, visit here: http://www.worldpeacepartners.org/resources.html
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
- With their characteristically brutal and incisive humor, 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)
- With their characteristically brutal and incisive humor, comedy duo Key and Peele 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 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
- Talking to conservative voters about climate change
- Strategy and discipline in the Civil Rights era protests as documented in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins.
- A Force More Powerful, a 1hr documentary about Gandhi and and Civil Rights era nonviolence strategy, available on Vimeo and here: www.aforcemorepowerful.org
- The Alternatives to Violence Project https://avpusa.org/
- American Friends Service Committee, www.afsc.org
- Center for Nonviolent Communication https://www.cnvc.org/
- Center for Teaching Peace www.peaceed.org
- Christian Peacemaker Teams email@example.com
- Circle of Insight, www.circleofinsight.org
- Fellowship of Reconciliation, www.forusa.org
- Institute for Economics and Peace, www.economicsandpeace.org
- International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/Vision of Humanity, www.visionofhumanity.org
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, www.thekingcenter.org
- The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, www.gandhiinstitute.org; see also http://www.mkgandhi.org/
- The Nonviolent Peaceforce, www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org
- Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, www.wagingpeace.org
- Peacemakers Bibliography, www.peacemakers.ca/bibliography/bib37nonviolentdirect.html
- The Peace People, www.peacepeople.com
- Peace Talks Radio, www.goodradioshows.org/
- Paul K Chappell, Peaceful Revolution, www.paulkchappell.com
- Pace e Bene, www.paceebene.org/pace
- Roots of Empathy: www.rootsofempathy.org
- Voices for Creative Nonviolence, www.vcnv.org
- Waging Nonviolence, www.wagingnonviolence.org
- War Resisters League www.warresisters.org
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.
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.
Sharyn Clough, Ph.D. Peace Literacy
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.
We have a number of workshops coming up this year that are open to the public - check them out!
Teachers who’ve used our materials share their stories.
A short essay for download.
A short essay for download.