I Messages Activity from 4th Grade

In 4th grade, we revisit conflict resolution strategies in my curriculum map. After we cover communication styles, we talk about using I messages in an assertive and respectful way. This I messages lesson went over well with my students as they were able to identify situations in their real lives where they could use these statements. Always the goal!

I Messages Lesson: This activity worked great in 4th grade to practice assertive communication in a conflict!

I Messages Lesson

1. Brain Teaser

First, I give small groups a logic puzzle… but I don’t give them all of the clues. I give them 6 clues, but they really need 8 to solve it. I let them try the puzzle for about 5 minutes listening to their complaints about it being confusing and not knowing what to do.

2. Discussion

We pause here to discuss.

  • How did it feel when you got stuck?
  • How did you communicate as a group when you got stuck?

3. Instruction

I explain that this is very similar to trying to solve a problem with a friend without all the information. When we don’t tell our friends how we are feeling, why we feel that way, and what we need to be different, it’s really hard to move on! We need to give them all the information (and be open to all of the information they want to share) in order to really be able to solve the problem or conflict.

I give them the rest of the clues to the logic puzzle so they can solve it from here (because we all know they won’t be able to move on without it!).

Then, we go over the I-message formula:

  • I feel…
  • When/because…
  • Can you please/I need…

4. Small Group Activity

Next, I give students scenarios they might encounter at school. In their small groups, they create I messages to express themselves. We use situations like:

  • People told you that you couldn’t join the soccer game at recess
  • Someone in your group is being bossy and not listening to anyone’s ideas
  • Someone is taking things off of your desk without asking
I Messages Lesson: This activity worked great in 4th grade to practice assertive communication in a conflict!

5. Individual Activity

Afterward, I want students to apply this to personal situations. I ask them to think of a situation that has happened recently when they had a problem or a conflict with someone. They briefly describe the situation and then create an I-message they could have used or could use if it came up again in the future. These are our exit tickets for the lesson!

Get This I Messages Lesson:

I Messages Lesson: This activity worked great in 4th grade to practice assertive communication in a conflict!

Keep Reading:

How to Teach Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

Communication Skills for Kids

I Messages Lesson: This activity worked great in 4th grade to practice assertive communication in a conflict! 4th grade communication lesson, assertiveness lesson, i messages activity for school counseling

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