Alta Vista Elementary School

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Recess Leaders

Recess Leaders are upper grade student leaders trained to provide conflict resolution strategies on the playground. Recess Leaders rs work in teams of two and are a visible presence in their bright colored vests on both the primary and upper grade playgrounds. When minor conflicts arise between students on the playground, Recess Leaders utilize their training to assist students in identifying and problem solving the conflict through a scripted process.

Recess Leaders participate in Project Cornerstone's Expect Respect Student Workshop for cultivating student leadership.

Expect Respect Goals
  • To develop a common understanding of bullying, harassing and discriminatory behavior and how these behaviors impact student success;
  • To identify negative behaviors students would like to reduce on our campus and the positive behaviors they would like to increase;
  • To develop a plan of action, specific to our school, for improving student-to-student relationships during the current school year.

Recess Leaders Training Includes
  • Leadership
  • Communication - how to express feelings and needs, how to listen well without taking sides
  • Problem solving
  • How to improve the school environment
  • Responsibility for their own actions
Benefits of the Recess Leaders Program
  • Recess Leaders gain confidence in their ability to help themselves
  • Recess Leaders learn to get along better at home and at school
  • Other students learn from Recess Leaders how to get along with each other better
  • Arguments decrease, so students spend more time learning
  • Students and teachers are able to work together in a more friendly, relaxed way.

How to Talk It Out Strategies (Steps to Problem Solving):
  1. Stop. Cool off.
  2. Talk and listen to each other. What is the problem? Have the two disputing children face each other.
  3. Find out what you both need. What are some solutions? Listen to each other tell what happened. Wait for their turn to speak. Be polite.
  4. Brainstorm Solutions. Discuss ways to work out the problem. (For each solution have them ask, "Is it safe? How might people feel about it? Is it fair? Will it work?).
  5. Choose the idea or solution you both like best. Agree on what to do.
  6. Make a plan. Go for it. Shake hands.
  7. If it does not work, what can we do now?
“When you____________(call me names), I feel_________(sad), because I________(don¹t do that to you). Or, teach them to say, “I don’t like it when you________(tease me). It makes me feel_________(angry). I want you to_________(stop it!). Encourage them to discuss the problem and to listen to each other. The goal is to help children learn to stand up for themselves and solve their own problems.


The two players each make a fist with one hand and hold the other open, palm upward. Together, they tap their fists in their open palms once, twice, and on the third time form one of three items: a rock (by keeping the hand in a fist), a sheet of paper (by holding the hand flat, palm down), or a pair of scissors (by extending the first two fingers and holding them apart). The winner of that round depends on the items formed. If the same item is formed, it's a tie. If a rock and scissors are formed, the rock wins, because a rock can smash scissors. If scissors and paper are formed, the scissors win, because scissors can cut paper. If paper and a rock are formed, the paper wins, because a sheet of paper can cover a rock.