"I" Statements Guest Post

Last spring when I was working with a third-grade boy who was new to our school and teaching him how to make an "I" Statement, I asked him if he had ever practiced this before. That's when he said, "No, we didn't have a Peacemaker at my old school." Be still my heart. How do you teach "I" statements?

Well, Tanya's back at the Corner from Montana
to share her satisfrying "I" Statement lesson.


Fr-I Statements by Tanya Kirschman

Traditional French fries are not very healthy for you; however, it’s easy to create some of the healthiest fries around and kids will still “eat them up!" This activity grabs young students’ attention right away and also gives them an opportunity to learn, observe and practice an important assertiveness skill: the “I” statement.

The “Fr-I Statement” activity incorporates Jenga blocks that have been spray-painted yellow to resemble (wide) french fries. Printed conflict scenarios (and more here) on file folder labels are adhered to each block. The labels need to be cut down to fit on the fry, so print accordingly. Six fries fit into each of my fry boxes (I found these boxes at the Target One Spot, but most party stores will have them; you could even ask your local fast food restaurant for a donation.). I placed them on a barbecue-themed tray I own, but a fast-food tray would look even more authentic. 

Explain an “I” statement to begin the lesson:

* By telling the person how you feel, it helps them to better understand your request. We have all felt mad, scared, frustrated, aggravated, etc. and can relate to those feelings.
* Be specific when telling the person what they did; do not say, “when you do that” because they might not know what upset you.
* Ask for something reasonable at the end, “I want you to stop/to give it back/to include me” etc.

Also discuss:

* The “I” statement is a respectful way of asking someone to stop doing something that you don’t like.
* We all have the right to ask someone to stop. 
* Use good eye contact, confident body language and a serious voice tone in your delivery. (Model this as well.)
* Receiving an “I” statement does not mean the person no longer likes you or you aren’t friends anymore. 
* Respond to an “I” statement by saying, “Okay, I’ll stop” or “I’m sorry," but only apologize if you are truly sorry.
* If the person does not comply (stop) you may get a teacher for help. (Later in the year Kelso’s Choice will encourage the use of a second strategy before seeking help, but I keep it simple for now.)
* If the person does stop, you don’t need to alert the teacher because you have solved it on your own. 

Fr-I Statement Activity

I use the Stick Pick app on my Ipad to make sure all students get a turn. When their name-stick is chosen, the student comes forward and chooses a fry from one of the boxes. 

I read or they read the scenario to the class and they put their fry in the red fast-food basket. I always place the “I” statement poster where it can easily be seen. Students can look at it while giving me their “I” statement in response to their chosen scenario. 

I play the part of the person receiving the “I” statement. Varying my response challenges students to think about and share what their next step might be.

Bookmarks are distributed at the end of the lesson. (Barbara suggested the fries for the blanks. I like how they remind students of our Fr-I Statement activity!)  “I” statement posters are also left behind for reference in the classroom.

(“Click on image to print bookmarks. Clipart from sweetclipart.com and clker.com”)

If you want a book so kids can experience the "I" statement modeled in literature, check out The Peace Rose review at Books That Heal Kids.

Thank you, Tanya. What a gift. Your students (and now my readers!) 
are indeed blessed.
Happy birthday to your little angel.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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