Peer Mediation
Training Activities
For Peer Helpers


  Training sessions for Peer Mediators take place in the fall. Usually September or October. The following sections have a sampling of activities from which to select.

Getting acquainted

The Nature of Conflict

Communication Skills

The Mediation Process

Role Plays


Getting Acquainted

  1. The "Name Game."

  2. String Toss.

  3. Hello Bingo.


The Name Game


To provide an opportunity for participants to introduce themselves.


Chart paper or chalkboard.


  1. Explain to students that this activity will give them an opportunity to introduce themselves and share some personal background information with the group.

  2. Begin by printing your name on the chart paper. Tell the students something about yourself related to your name, i.e. Who were you named after? Why your parents chose your name. Your nickname. Or anything else !

  3. Invite students to take turns printing their names (crossword puzzle style) connected to the letters already on the paper.




String Toss


To have students become acquainted with one another.

To create a friendly atmosphere.

To enhance listening skills.


A ball of yarn.


  1. Ask students to stand in a circle.

  2. Explain that each person will have an opportunity to throw the ball of yarn to someone they do not know. To demonstrate, throw the ball of yarn to someone you do not know, introduce yourself to that person and tell one thing that you like to do. (Make sure you hold onto your end of the yarn !)

  3. At the end of the activity discuss:

  4. Reverse the process. The last person to receive the ball of yarn begins. As the ball is passed, say the receiving person's name and what he/she likes to do.

  5. Explain to the students that as mediators they will be expected to make students feel comfortable. Using their names will show respect.


Hello Bingo


To help participants become acquainted with one another in an interactive manner.


Copies of Hello Bingo.



  1. Explain to students that the goal of this activity is to complete the Bingo sheet by circulating through the group, matching participants with the descriptions.

  2. Make is clear that each student may sign her/his name only once.

  3. When the sheet is completed, call "Hello Bingo !"


Hello Bingo


is a good swimmer was born in another country can say hello in another language can play a musical instrument like to read
is a good artist has a pet is left handed was born in the same month as you writes poetry
has more than three brothers of sisters likes the same sport as you put your name here is afraid of the dark has a grandparent living with them
has a friend from another country likes science fiction is a good listener likes to cook helped someone today
sleeps in a waterbed likes to sail gave a parent a kiss today is an only child likes to do science experiments


The Nature of Conflict

  1. Why People Have Conflicts.

  2. Young Woman or Old Woman?.

  3. The Maligned Wolf.


Why People Have Conflicts


To identify the reasons why people fight or argue.

To identify some of the common methods used to handle conflict.


Chart paper.



  1. Explain to the students that you would like them to think about some of the things people argue about and how these situations are typically handled.

  2. Create three groups. Give each group chart paper and a marker.

  3. Ask the first group to list things that children usually argue about and how they handle these arguments.

Do the same for the other groups, using adults for group two and world leaders for groups three.

  1. Allow enough time for each of the groups to come up with a comprehensive list.

  2. Reassemble as a large group. Ask each group to share their ideas and hang the charts on the wall.

For discussion:

  1. "Are there any common ways in which all three groups handle their arguments?" (There should be some recurring conflicts and ways of handling them in all three charts.)

  2. "What have we learned about handling conflict from childhood, through adulthood and even as world leaders?" (response is often "nothing !")

Emphasize the fact that mediation offers a creative, nonviolent means of resolving conflict.


Young Woman or Old Woman?


To understand that people may view the same event from different perspectives.


Overhead transparency of Young Woman/Old Woman.

Overhead projector.


  1. Show the overhead transparency to the students.

  2. Ask the students what they see in the picture.

  3. Select one student who sees the Old Woman and one who sees the Young Woman and ask her/him to point out the features which she/he sees.

  4. Use the following questions as a guide for discussion:

    • "Is there a correct way to see the picture?

    • "How did you feel towards those who saw the picture the same way as you did?"

    • "Did you feel differently towards those who saw the other picture?"

    • "Why is it important to recognize that there is usually more than one way to look at situations?"

    • "How can two people resolve a conflict if they each see the situation from a different point of view?"



The Maligned Wolf



To understand the importance of hearing both sides of an issue.

To encourage students to think about other familiar stories which are told from one character's perspective.



A copy of The Maligned Wolf.

Chart paper.



  1. Prior to beginning this activity, draw a simple outline of Little Red Riding Hood on one sheet of chart paper and the wolf on the other.

  2. Hang the drawings on the wall/chart stand or chalkboard.

  3. Ask students if they have ever heard the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

  4. Ask for words to describe Little Red Riding Hood and record these on the drawing.

  5. Do the same for the wolf.

  6. Read The Maligned Wolf.

  7. Ask the students how they feel about the wolf now. Do the same for Little Red Riding Hood.

  8. Ask the students to think about other familiar stories in which one of the characters may have been unfairly portrayed.

  9. Ask the students what they have learned from this activity.


The Maligned Wolf


The forest was my home. I lived there, and I cared about it. I tried to keep it neat and clean.

Then one sunny day, while I was cleaning up some garbage a camper had left behind, I heard footsteps. I leaped behind a tree and saw a little girl coming down the trail carrying a basket. I was suspicious of the little girl right away because she was dressed funny - all in red, and her head covered up as if she didn't want people to know who she was. Naturally, I stopped to check her out. I asked who she was, where she was going, where she had come from, and all that. She game me a song and dance about going to her grandmother's house with a basket of lunch. She appeared to be a basically honest person, but she was in my forest, and she certainly looked suspicious with that strange getup of hers. So I decided to teach her just how serious it is to prance through the forest unannounced and dressed funny.

I let her go on her way, but I ran ahead to her grandmother's house. When I saw that nice old woman, I explained my problem and she agreed that her granddaughter needed to learn a lesson all right. The old woman agreed to stay out of sight until I called her. Actually, she hid under the bed.

When the girl arrived, I invited her into the bedroom where I was in the bed, dressed like the grandmother. The girl came in all rosy cheeked and said something nasty about my big ears. I've been insulted before so I made the best of it by suggesting that my big ears would help me to hear better. Now, what I meant was that I liked her and wanted to pay close attention to what she was saying. But she made another insulting crack about my bulging eyes. Now you can see how I was beginning to feel about this girl who put on such a nice front, but was apparently a very nasty person. Still, I've made it a policy to turn the other cheek, so I told her that my big eyes helped me to see her better.

Her next insult really got to me. I've got this problem with having big teeth, and that little girl made an insulting crack about them. I know that I should have had better control, but I leaped up from that bed and growled that my teeth would help me to eat her better.

Now, let's face it - no wolf could ever eat a little girl - everyone knows that - but that crazy girl started running around the house screaming - me chasing her to calm her down. I'd taken off the grandmother's clothes, but that only seemed to make it worse. All of a sudden the door came crashing open, and a big lumberjack is standing there with this axe. I looked at him and all of a sudden it came clear that I was in trouble. There was an open window behind me and out I went.

I'd like to say that was the end of it. But that grandmother character never did tell my side of the story. Before long the word got around that I was a mean, nasty guy. Everybody started avoiding me. I don't know about that little girl with the funny red outfit, but I didn't live happily ever after.



  1. Joe's New Bike.

  2. Effective Listening.

  3. The One Minute Report.

  4. Open Questions.

  5. Listening for Feelings.

  6. I Messages.


Joe's New Bike


To improve listening and speaking skills.

To show how messages can change from one person to another.


A copy of Joe's New Bike


  1. Ask for three volunteers who think they are good listeners.

  2. Ask two of the volunteers to leave the room. Read Joe's New Bike to the whole group, including volunteer #1.

  3. Ask volunteer #2 to return and ask volunteer #1 to retell the story from memory.

  4. Ask volunteer #3 to return and ask volunteer #2 to retell the story from memory.

  5. Ask volunteer #3 to retell the story to the group.

  6. Use the following questions for discussion:

    • "What happened to the information as it was passed along?"

    • "Was anything important left out?"

    • "How did that affect the story?"

    • "What are rumors?"

    • "What happens when a rumor is passed from one person to another?"

    Remind the students that, as mediators, they will be involved in situations that include rumors. It is important to remind the disputants that rumors are not reliable ways to obtain information.


Joe's New Bike


Joe finally had enough money to buy the Cannondale Mountain Bike he had been admiring in the window of the Trail Shop for the past six weeks. It was a lot of money - $375.00 - but Joe had been saving his paper-route earnings for two years.

Joe beamed with pride as he raced home down Pine Avenue past Springvale School, where a group of his friends were playing soccer in the field.

Andrew, his best friend, hurried over to admire the new bike. He asked Joe if he could try the bike and Joe, reluctantly, said he could take it around the block.

When Andrew did not return after 10 minutes, Joe began to worry. He ran to the corner where he could see Andrew, in the distance, trying to straighten out the front rim. Three other boys were gathered around. Joe raced to where Andrew was bent over the bike and started yelling at his friend, only to look up and see his beautiful new bike safely resting against a fence. Andrew grinned as he explained that he had stopped to help Craig who had fallen and damaged his bike.


Effective Listening


To have students differentiate between effective listening and poor listening.




  1. Explain to students that we hear a great deal about listening and how important it is. Ask, "What is the difference between hearing and listening? How do we know when someone is listening to us?"

  2. Explain that in this activity you will demonstrate the difference between effective and poor listening.

  3. As for two volunteers.

  4. Ask the volunteers to leave the room and prepare a one-minute report on their favorite TV show, book, movie etc.

  5. Tell students that when #1 begins talking, they should use effective listening behaviors.

  6. For #2, poor listening behavior. (Select a few so that it's not too obvious.)

  7. Call the volunteers in and have them give reports.

  8. Ask #1 "How did you feel when you gave your report?" "Why?"

  9. Repeat for #2.

"It is important for mediators to be good listeners. This means looking at the person who is talking, sitting still, not interrupting. People like to feel that they are listened to when they are speaking. This is a sign of respect and trust."


The One-Minute Report


To have students practice active listening skills.


Active Listening checklist on chart paper.


  1. Create groups of three: listener, speaker, and observer.

  2. Explain that each student will have the opportunity to talk for one minute on any topic. Each student will take a turn being the speaker, listener, and observer. The listener is to listen attentively without interrupting, but giving non-verbal encouragement. After the speaker has finished, the listener will paraphrase the story as accurately as possible. The observer will observe the speaker and listener and make comments about their observations.

  3. (see checklist on chart paper.)

  4. Continue until all students have had a turn being the speaker, listener, and observer.

"Having good listening skills and being able to repeat what someone says are very important skills for mediators. When students in conflict come to you, they must feel that they can trust you to care about their problem. This means that you care what the person is saying and feeling. This type of listening is called effective listening. It means listening without interrupting or judging."


Open Questions


To help students learn to ask questions that are non-judgmental.


One copy of Open Questions worksheet for each student.



  1. Explain to the students that they will practice asking questions that will help the disputants uncover the complete story.

  2. Explain that closed questions allow for only short or one word answers and often place blame.

    • For example: "Did you steal his disc?"

  3. Open questions on the other hand allow the person to respond in a way that helps her/him get all of her/his thoughts or feelings out. Open questions do not place blame.

    • For example: "Can you explain how you got the disc?"

  4. Read the following closed questions aloud to the group and ask for volunteers to rephrase them as open questions:

    • "Did you break his radio?"
      Example Response ("What happened to the radio?" "How did the radio get broken?"

    • "Did you call him a liar?"
      Example Response ("What did you say about him when you were talking to your friends?")

  5. In small groups, ask the students to turn the closed questions into open questions. (Open Questions Worksheet)

  6. When most students are finished, ask for volunteers to share their responses.

This may be a difficult concept for some students to understand. Emphasize the importance of being non-judgmental.


Open Questions Worksheet


"Why didn't you just apologize?"
"Which one of you is lying?"
"Are you sure you didn't call her a thief?"
"Why don't you like her?"


Listening for Feelings


To learn to identify speaker's feelings.

To increase the student's awareness of emotions.


List of Listening for Feelings statements (cut into sentence strips.)

Chart paper and markers.


  1. Tell the students that it is important to listen to people's words but it is also important to listen for feelings.

  2. Pass out sentence strips randomly.

  3. As students read the statements (1 - 14) aloud to the group, ask the participants to identify the feeling that is behind the words.

  4. As students offer words to describe the feelings, record them on chart paper.

  5. Encourage students to use a broader range of vocabulary to describe feelings.


Listening for Feelings

(Sentence Strips)


I just can't figure it out. I give up.
Wow! Eight days until Christmas vacation.
Look at the picture I drew!
Will you be calling my parents?
What a drag, there's nothing to do.
I'll never do that well. He always does better than me, and I practice.
You never get mad at him, always me.
I'm getting a new 18-speed bike.
I feel like writing in my book. It's mine anyway.
Yeah, I guess I was mean to him. I shouldn't have done it.
Am I doing this report right? Do you think it will be good enough?
I can do this part on my own. I don't need your help.
Leave me alone. Nobody cares what happens to me anyway.
I'd like to tell him that, but I just can't. He'd probably punch me!


I Messages

To teach students a way of expressing their thoughts and feelings in a non aggressive manner.

Chart paper.
Two puppets or volunteers.


  1. Begin with an example of the difference between an "I" message and a "You" messages. Using puppets, act out the following skits:

Skit 1: "You" Message
LAURA: I can't believe you forgot to bring in the poster. You are so forgetful! Now how are we going to do our presentation?

PETRA: Well, you wouldn't help me until last night. I was up late because of you and so I slept in this morning. I was in such a rush that I forgot the poster. It's not my fault.

  1. Ask the children if they think Laura and Petra will be able to resolve this conflict. After a discussion, act out the second skit.

Skit 2: "I" Message
LAURA: Petra, I am very upset because we can't do our presentation without that poster. I wish there was a way we could get it before this afternoon.

PETRA: I'm sorry that I forgot it. I was in such a rush this morning. Maybe my mom can bring it over on her way to work.

  1. Discuss the difference between these two skits. Explain that an "I" message tells how you feel without blaming or attacking the other person. When we use "I" messages, the other person realizes that we are upset, and because we are not blaming them they are more likely to try to come up with a "win-win" solution.

  2. A "You" message usually expresses anger and blames or criticizes the other person. People often react to "You" messages by defending themselves and finding a way to counterattack.

  3. On chart paper, print the following "I" message formula:

Use the person's name: Jacklyn,
Tell how how you feel: I feel frustrated
Tell why: When you interrupt me
Tell what you would like: Please wait until I am finished.
  1. Explain that during the mediation process there may be situations where it is necessary to deliver and "I" message to the disputants.

  2. Read the following scenarios and ask the students to compose an "I" message for each one:

    • The disputants keep interrupting each other. You have reminded them of the ground rules several times.

    • You hear two opposing stories from the disputants.

    • One of the disputants is very angry. She/he snaps are you and says, "Get off my back." You think you're better than me anyway!"


    The Mediation Process


  1. Role of the Mediator.

  2. Mediation - The Process.

  3. Good Resolutions.

  4. Steps in the Mediation Process.


Role of the Mediator

To introduce students to the philosophy and role expectations of the Peer Mediation Program.

Chart Paper.


  1. Announce to students that they will see a role play of a conflict. Tell them to watch and listen carefully to what the helper does and how the disputants respond.

  2. After/during conflict role play, the helper will take sides, give advice, not listen carefully, impose solutions, etc.

  3. Questions for discussion:

    • "What things did you see the helper doing?"

    • "How did the disputants respond?"

    • "How did the disputants seem to feel as a result of the help they received?"

    • "What might the helper have done differently?"

    • "Was the problem solved?"

  4. Repeat the role play conflict using mediators.

  5. Ask the same discussion questions.

  6. Ask students:

    • "What do you think a mediator is?"

    • "What do you think a mediator isn't?"

  7. Record on chart paper.

Tools: (You will need two experienced mediators to demonstrate the mediation process in this activity. This demonstration is quite effective if two of the teachers or other adults attending the training suddenly begin arguing about a realistic issue i.e. - One forgot to bring the video or was late picking the other one up. The "helper" should also be an adult who has been prompted in terms of how to intervene.)


Mediation - The Process


To introduce the mediation process by explaining the steps through a role-play demonstration.


4 copies of The Puzzling Case.

An outline of the steps in the mediation process on chart paper.



The Puzzling Case


Situation: Andrew has been working on a puzzle during lunch hour and is almost finished. The puzzle is spread out on the floor in one corner of the classroom. Bianca has been asked by the teacher to finish a mural and needs the floor space that Andrew is using.

Bianca and Andrew are arguing when the lunch monitor walks into the room.

MONITOR: Looks like you two have a problem. Would you like help solving it?
BIANCA: Yes, please! I don't have much time to finish this mural.
ANDREW: I wish you could help. Bianca won't listen to me.
MONITOR: Well, Marissa and Emily are mediators on duty today. Let me go get them. I think they may be able to help.
MARISA: Hello, our names are Marisa and Emily. What are your names?
ANDREW: I'm Andrew.
BIANCA: And I'm Bianca.
EMILY: We are student mediators. Our role as mediators is to help you talk about your problem but we will not judge who is right or wrong. Would you like us to help you try and solve your problem?
ANDREW: Yes, please.
BIANCA: Yes, and we don't have much time.
MARISA: Before we begin, we need you to agree to four rules: 
No interrupting.
No name calling or put downs. 
Agree to tell the truth
Agree to try hard to solve the problem
Can you both agree to these rules?
MARISA: Before me begin, we need you to agree to four rules:


BIANCA: I can.
ANDREW: Me. too.
EMILY: Bianca, will you please tell us what happened?
BIANCA: Ms. Burchell asked me to finish this mural before the bell rings. This is the only corner in the room without carpet so I need to work here on the floor. Andrew is only putting a puzzle together and he won't move. This mural is much more important.
EMILY: So you're saying that you have a mural to finish before the bell rings and Andrew won't move the puzzle he is working on to let you use this floor space?
BIANCA: Right!
EMILY: How do you feel about this, Bianca?
BIANCA: Well, I feel very frustrated because I need to finish this and I am running out of time.
EMILY: You feel frustrated because you are running out of time and you have a project to finish?
BIANCA: Exactly.
MARISA: Andrew, will you please tell us what the problem is?
ANDREW: This is a very hard puzzle and I'm almost finished. I just can't pick it up and move it. Bianca expects me to destroy an hour's work. Besides, I was here first!
MARISA: So, you want to finish the puzzle you were working on and you can't move it easily.
ANDREW: Yes, and this is the only floor space that I can use, too.
MARISA: How do you feel Andrew?
ANDREW: I feel angry because Bianca just came over here and told me to move. The puzzle has taken a long time and no one else has been able to do it.
MARISA: You feel angry because Bianca wants you to move and you would like to finish this puzzle?
ANDREW: Right !
EMILY: Bianca, what do you think you could do to solve this problem?
BIANCA: Well - I suppose I could help Andrew finish the puzzle so that I can work here. I did that puzzle once last year anyway. It wouldn't be too hard for me.
MARISA: Andrew, what can you do to help solve this problem?
ANDREW: Maybe Bianca could help me move the puzzle. I don't think we have time to finish it. We could slide a piece of cardboard under it and move it to the table.
EMILY: Any other ideas?
BIANCA: I think moving the puzzle is a good idea. Then I still have time to finish this mural.
ANDREW: I could help you with the mural. I can at least paint in the background.
MARISA: Sounds like you two have worked out your problem.
BIANCA: Yeah, thanks for your help.
EMILY: Bianca, what would you do differently if this problem happened again?
BIANCA: Well - I shouldn't have told Andrew to move. I know that is a hard puzzle and he was here first.
MARISA: Andrew?
ANDREW: Next time I start a puzzle, I'll work on a piece of cardboard so that I can move it easily.
EMILY: Is your problem solved?
EMILY: Congratulations on a successful mediation. We need to fill in a report form and we will come back later when you are finished the mural for your signatures.


Good Resolutions


To make students aware of what makes a realistic, effective resolution.


Chart paper.


Good Resolutions Checklist


  1. Explain to the students that, as mediators, they will need to know what makes a good resolution and how to work with students to help them find a resolution that is workable.

  2. Ask students to come up with different aspects of a good resolution. Record their ideas. When all ideas have been offered refer them to Page 6 of the student handbook.

  3. Discuss the items on the checklist to be sure students understand the rationale for each.


Steps in the Mediation Process


To review the steps in the mediation process in an interactive form.


Copy of Steps provided. (You may want to adhere these pages to cardboard and laminate for future use.)


  1. At random, pass out the cards to the students.

  2. Explain that you would like these students to line up in the appropriate order in complete silence holding up their cards for the remaining students to see. i.e. no talking.

  3. The students observing may help if the participants run into difficulty.

  4. When the cards are in order, ask each participant to read his/her card out loud.


Role Plays

Mediation Role Play

General Instructions:

Give a copy of the problem an the appropriate role to each disputant.

Give a copy of the problem and both disputant roles to the mediators.

Allow the participants enough time to read the material and think about their respective roles.

Role Plays:

  1. The Missing Book
  2. The Messy Desk
  3. The Project


The Missing Book

(Problem #1)

Terence and Ryan sit beside each other in class. Ms. Myers, their teacher, has asked each student to buy a copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins for a novel study. Ryan has not bought his book yet so Terence loaned his copy to Ryan over the lunch period. When Terence comes back from lunch he asks Ryan for his book. Ryan says that he put it back on Terence's desk.
Your book is missing and you feel Ryan is responsible. You really didn't want to loan it to Ryan in the first place because Ryan had a month to buy his own copy. He simply didn't bother. Now, English class is about to begin and you need your book.

Terence and Ryan sit beside each other in class. Ms. Myers, their teacher, has asked each student to buy a copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins for a novel study. Ryan has not bought his book yet so Terence loaned his copy to Ryan over the lunch period. When Terence comes back from lunch he asks Ryan for his book. Ryan says that he put it back on Terence's desk.
You don't know what happened to Terence's book. You put it back on his desk and when you came back from the washroom, Terence had returned from lunch and asked for his book. The book costs $7.98, and your mother has not given you the money yet even though you have asked her for it a number of times. You are embarrassed to tell Ms. Myers that you do not have the money to buy the book.

The Messy Desk

(Problem #2)

Leah and Danielle share a desk. They are in Grade 6 and have been friends for a few years. The storage space under the desktop is not divided so Leah, who is a collector, has papers and books spilling over into Danielle's side. Danielle is very neat and organized and is frustrated by continually having to tidy up this storage space. One day, out of frustration, Danielle empties everything onto the floor and is in the process of throwing out of a pile of papers when Leah walks into the room.
You struggle with homework and projects and feel that you need to save rough notes and worksheets in case you need them to complete an assignment. You are upset because you have just failed to math test and Danielle made 96.


Leah and Danielle share a desk. They are in Grade 6 and have been friends for a few years. The storage space under the desktop is not divided so Leah, who is a collector, has papers and books spilling over into Danielle's side. Danielle is very neat and organized and is frustrated by continually having to tidy up this storage space. One day, out of frustration, Danielle empties everything onto the floor and is in the process of throwing out of a pile of papers when Leah walks into the room.
Being neat has been emphasized by your mother for as long as you can remember. Although you like Leah, you cannot understand why she can't keep her side of the desk in order. Her papers which spill over into your side look like they belong in the trash. You are fed up and decide to clean out the entire storage space.


The Project

(Problem #3)


Arup and Jane have a science project due in two days. Although they are partners, Jane has done most of the work. They are having lunch together and Jane is calling Arup "irresponsible" and "lazy" in front of their friends.
You did not really like the topic of your project but agreed to it because Jane was very persistent. Jane seems to be taking the lead; telling you what to do and how to do it. You have your part of the project completed but left it in the car when your mother drove you to school.

Arup and Jane have a science project due in two days. Although they are partners, Jane has done most of the work. They are having lunch together and Jane is calling Arup "irresponsible" and "lazy" in front of their friends
You have always been interested in whales. Your mother is a biologist and has access to a lot of information. You are very organized and like to have assignments passed in ahead of time. You really wanted to do this project on your own but your teacher assigned everyone a partner.