Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Moral Tales: A Program on Making Choices for Grades 2-3

Alternate Activity 3: Barking Dog Role Plays

Part of Moral Tales

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Download Leader Resource 2, Unfair Scenarios. Decide which ones you will use, and add your own. Print a copy to use during the session.

Description of Activity

This activity may be a good substitute if you opt not to do Activity 5: Watchdogs for Justice - an Unfair Snack. Tell the group they will have a chance to be watchdogs for justice. Ask for volunteers to act out a scenario and another volunteer to be the "watchdog for justice." Instruct the watchdog to bark whenever something is unfair.

Read one of the scenarios from Leader Resource, Unfair Scenarios aloud to participants. Whenever the watchdog barks, have the actors freeze. Ask the group to help calm the dog by figuring out, "What's unfair?" After this question has been answered, have the role play continue, with the watchdog barking if the injustice continues. If the actors in the role play have difficulty resolving the situation fairly, ask the audience if anyone has an idea for making the situation fair. Invite a volunteer with an idea to come and join the role play.

After each role play is finished, ask the actors to turn in a full circle to show that they have left their character behind. Before you start a new scenario, ask the role players:

  • How did it feel to be treated unfairly?
  • How did it feel to treat someone unfairly?
  • How did it feel to be the watchdog?

Ask everyone:

  • What worked to make things fair?
  • What didn't work?
  • What else could have been tried?
  • How did it feel to watch someone being treated unfairly?
  • If the watchdog had not started to bark, how would you have known the situation wasn't fair?

This activity gives participants an opportunity to practice being justice makers through role play in a safe environment. Moreover, hearing the perspective of each character in a conflict helps children see the situation from a variety of viewpoints and develop empathy for all concerned, with a preference built in for the person who is being treated unfairly.

Including All Participants

It's important in this activity to avoid "typecasting" the participants. If you have someone who tends to be a bully, try to cast them in a different role. Similarly, if someone has been a frequent victim of bullying, do not cast them in that role.