Students demonstrate the ability to:
I will be a better student if I act on the following beliefs:
Ways to Communicate
Essential Question: What are some ways humans communicate?
Objective: Participants learn about different forms of communication; participants practice different forms of communication.
Summary: Communication is what we do to give and get understanding; it is the process of sending and receiving messages. Successful communication occurs when there is understanding. Communication can be verbal, using oral language to convey a message, or non-verbal, including facial expressions, body language, text, or written-based language. Sometimes a message’s original meaning gets lost in the translation between thought and the act of communicating it. Teaching young people how to communicate effectively helps them maintain healthy relationships, resolve conflicts peacefully, excel in school, and eventually get and keep jobs.
Materials: Paper, pens, and pencils
Journal Prompt: How do you communicate most often? How would you get people to understand you if you couldn’t communicate that way anymore?
Essential Question: How can conflicts be resolved peacefully?
Objective: Participants use scenarios and role-playing to learn ways to resolve conflicts peacefully; participants examine choices and consequences involved in settling disagreements or tension.
Summary: Conflict resolution means working out a problem or disagreement without fighting, running away, or going against your feelings. Knowing how to handle conflicts in a positive way can help people stay safe from violence, feel good about themselves, and learn to respect others. Physical violence, name-calling, threats, bullying, teasing, and other forms of negative communication often escalate conflicts and lead to serious consequences, including physical injury, lowered self-esteem, and punishment. Good communication involves being a good listener, considering and respecting the other person’s point of view, working together to think of solutions, and learning to relax the body and calm the mind during high-tension situations. Practicing these positive communication skills can help people make responsible choices during high-tension situations and avoid violence and further problems.
Scenario #1: “I was sitting here first” (problem: stealing)—Sarah was sitting in a chair. She got up to use the bathroom. When she came back, Dana was sitting in that seat. The person who was sitting there first wants their seat back and the other person doesn’t want to give the seat up. (Choices: hit each other and get into a fight someone gets hurt, they both get in trouble, and no one gets the chair. OR Discuss and explain calmly, both people compromise, get another chair everyone has a chair, and no one gets hurt OR Ask a teacher for help the teacher assists them in discussing and explaining calmly, and everyone gets a chair, no one gets hurt.)
Scenario #2: “That’s mine” (problem: stealing)—Jolie and Carrie are sitting next to each other eating a snack. When Jolie turns to talk to another friend, Carrie grabs Jolie’s snack and hides it in her lap. Jolie turns back and notices her snack is gone and suspects that Carrie stole it. (Choices: call names, yell to give back the snack, threaten to slap her if she doesn’t give it back, grab the snack back out of her lap someone gets hurt, both get in trouble, they stay mad at each other OR discuss and explain calmly or get a teacher, Jolie gives the snack back and apologizes, Carrie accepts the apology they both get to eat the snack, no one gets hurt or in trouble, they stay friends)
Scenario #3: “I heard you said you didn’t like me” (problem: gossiping, teasing, bullying) –Amina overhears a group of girls making fun of the outfit she is wearing today. She notices that Lauren, a girl who has teased her about her clothes before, is part of that group. Amina feels like crying. (Choices: go yell at the group, punch Lauren, run away and hope it doesn’t happen again someone gets hurt, everyone gets in trouble, Lauren continues to tease and bully Amina, Amina continues to feel sad OR Amina walks up to the group and tells them how their comments make her feel Lauren and the group apologize, Lauren and the group continue to tease Amina OR Amina gets a teacher to help her confront the group)
Scenario #4: “I thought we were friends” (problem: ditching, silent treatment, leaving out) Camille and Stephanie are good friends. They have sleepovers and hang out together at recess every day. Over the summer Camille’s cousin Breanne from Los Angeles moved into Camille’s family’s home. Since the school year started, Camille and her cousin have been hanging out at recess together every day and Stephanie has not been invited to any sleepovers. One day at recess Stephanie walks over to Camille and Breanne to say hi and the two girls run away from her. The next day at recess Stephanie walks over to try to say hi again and hang out with her best friend. This time instead of running away Camille and Breanne look at each other, cross their arms, and give Stephanie the silent treatment. (Choices? Consequences?)
Journal Prompt: Describe a situation you were in recently that was not solved peacefully. How would you go back and change it if you could?
Online Communication—Internet Safety
Essential Question: How can you stay safe on the internet?
Objective: Participants learn about the potential dangers of the internet; participants plan how they will stay safe when using the Internet.
Summary: The internet has created new ways for people to communicate and be connected. Through the internet and other computer technology, young people have the opportunity to gain media literacy, become technically savvy, construct identities, socialize, and be connected to people all over the world. Despite the benefits of computer innovation, cyber-bullying and the spread of rumors and gossip on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, as well as through chat rooms, instant messaging, and email, are growing problems. The FBI reports that by the age of 14, 77% of teens have been contacted by a predator online, 12% of teenage girls admitted to eventually meeting strangers they first met online in person, and chat room strangers are implicated in nearly 20% of cases of missing teens aged 15 to 17 each year (Baeza 6). Teaching young people about online safety is as important as teaching them about the benefits of computer technology.
Journal Prompt: What would you like to look up on the internet? If you had a pen-pal from another country that you communicated with over the internet, what would you tell them about yourself? If you created your own website, what would it be about?
The Challenger Disaster
The Challenger shuttle crew of seven astronauts died tragically in the explosion of their spacecraft during the launch of STS–51–L from the Kennedy Space Center on January 28, 1986. The explosion occurred 73 seconds into the flight as a result of a leak in one of two Solid Rocket Boosters that ignited the main liquid fuel tank.
The NASA investigational commission’s report on the incident cited the cause of the disaster as a failure of an O–ring seal in the solid–fuel rocket. The faulty design of the seal coupled with the unusually cold weather of the launch date, let hot gases leak through the joint. This allowed booster rocket flames to pass through the failed seal, further enlarging the small hole.
The commission not only found fault with a failed sealant ring but also with the officials at NASA who allowed the shuttle launch to take place despite concerns voiced by engineers regarding the safety of the launch. One of the major factors to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was a lack of effective communication between the NASA engineers and management. Communication between the company that designed the Solid Rocket Boosters and NASA management was also very poor.
The environment was such that it was not conducive to creating an atmosphere where everyone was comfortable expressing their opinions and making thoughtful decisions. The truth of the matter is that Morton Thiokol did not have any data on how its Solid Rocket Boosters and O–rings would perform at temperatures lower than 51 ºF. The night before the launch, the temperature outside fell to 18 ºF, and on the morning of the launch, the temperature was at 36 ºF. While some engineers believed that the boosters would still be able to function safely under these conditions, many were very worried that the temperature would cause a failure. The inability of the Morton Thiokol engineers to effectively convey their concerns to the NASA management and convince them to postpone the shuttle’s launch is one factor that ultimately led to the disastrous outcome.
Another interesting failure in communication occurred between the grounds crew and NASA management. The grounds crew was out measuring the thickness of the ice on the shuttle the morning of the shuttle’s launch. In order to do this, they used infrared cameras that also allowed them to record the temperature of each part of the shuttle. They recorded a temperature of only 8 ºF on the right Solid Rocket Booster only hours before the launch. This is far below the temperature range that the O–rings were designed to be used in. However, this vital information was never conveyed to NASA’s managers or the engineers because the ground crew was only instructed to report on the thickness of the ice on the shuttle.
A Bridge or a Fence
Once upon a time two brothers, who lived on adjoining farms, fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without conflict. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence. One morning there was a knock on the older brother’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox.
“I’m looking for a few days’ work.” – he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with?”
“Yes.” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor; in fact, it’s my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll do him one better.”
“See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence –an 8–foot fence – so I won’t need to see his place or his face anymore.”
The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post–hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”
The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready, and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, and nailing.
About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.
The farmer’s eyes opened wide, and his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge – a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all – and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his arms outstretched – “You are quite a fellow to build this bridge, after all, I’ve said and done.”
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other’s hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.
“No, wait! Stay a few days. I have a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.
“I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but I have many more bridges to build.