July 10, 2019
by Meena Srinivasan

Lesson plan

Role-Playing Scenarios

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  • Students will be able to define the term "restorative justice."
  • Students will be able to explain how they can bring restorative justice into the classroom.
(15 minutes)
  • Bring students into a circle, either seated in chairs or on the floor.
  • Ask them to raise their hands if they have heard of the words "restorative" or "justice" before.
  • Ask, "Does anyone know what these words mean?"
  • Write the words "restorative" and "justice" on the board, and write everything that the class already knows about them.
  • Either project or write on the board the following definition of restorative justice, from Unicef: "Restorative justice is when the person harmed and the aggressor (the person who acted out in violence), and in some cases other persons affected by a crime, participate together in the resolution of matters that came from the crime, generally with the help of a facilitator. Restorative justice is about making things as right as possible for all people involved."
  • Ask students to read through the definition, and to come up and underline words or phrases that stand out to them.
  • Ask the class if they have questions about this term.
  • Ask how restorative justice may be different from punishment of a behavior or crime.
  • Show the class the book What Are You Staring At? by Pete Wallis.
  • Explain that you will be reading through the book. As you read, ask the students to look for connections to the definition of restorative justice in the book.
  • Read the story to the class.
(5 minutes)
  • After reading What Are You Staring At?, ask the class how each character felt in the story.
  • Write student responses about characters' perspectives on the board.
  • Ask, "How did restorative justice take place in the book?"
  • Ask, "How can we have empathy (or understanding another's situation) for the characters? How can restorative justice support community and understanding?"
(5 minutes)
  • Review the different perspectives from the story on the board.
  • Introduce the Restorative Justice worksheet to the class, and read its instructions.
  • Dismiss the class back to their seats, and distribute the worksheet.
  • Ask one student to repeat the worksheet's instructions for the class.
(25 minutes)
  • Allow students to complete the Restorative Justice worksheet in pairs. Walk around the room to answer any questions and check for students' understanding of different perspectives.

Enrichment: Have students research the origins of restorative justice in indigenous communities, and its role in the Maori community of New Zealand.

Support: During the independent working time, work one-on-one with students to provide more concrete examples of restorative justice.

(5 minutes)
  • Observe students during the independent working time.
  • Collect worksheets to check for students' understanding of its questions and the meaning of restorative justice.
(5 minutes)
  • After all students have completed their worksheets, ask if anyone would like to share what they wrote about restorative justice.
  • Ask, "How can justice support community? How does restoration come about?"
  • Ask the students, "How can we bring restorative justice into our classroom?" Create a list of their responses on the board.

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