The Butter Battle Book: A Lesson Plan for K-3 Understanding Conflict
The Butter Battle Book
The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss takes a frightening reality, war, and in the simplest of terms illustrates why war does not work. We see each side building better bombs until the final stand-off, which in the end solves nothing. This book should be translated into every living language, and should be required reading for K-3s all around the world.
K-3 is a perfect time for teachers to incorporate dealing with conflict on both small and large scales in their curricula. Children this age are old enough to care about other people and the world around them. They can take in and process information about current events and history.
K-3 children are young enough to be influenced, and their future habits may form out of lessons they learn in school. K-3 is a prime time in child development to form values and standards of behavior outside of the home. Teachers and schools can take advantage of this by encouraging and modeling socially responsible and tolerant behavior.
Begin by reading The Butter Battle Book to the class. Take your time when reading to children, and hold up the book at each page so they can all enjoy the pictures. The pictures in Dr. Seuss' books always seem to paint the story extremely well.
Ask the children about conflict in their own lives. They may talk about a fight with a sibling, or a problem they have had at school. Ask them about how they felt in the conflict. When they have finished answering, ask them to think about how the other person felt.
Take this a step farther. Ask the children to come up with more than one way handle conflict. Discuss a way that does not work out well, and discuss a better alternative. For example, if two siblings both want to use the computer, they can yell and fight until the parents turn the computer off so nobody gets to use it. A better alternative is to agree to take turns. One sibling can use the computer for half an hour, then the other sibling gets her half an hour.
Pass out art paper and instruct your students to draw people finding ways to resolve conflict in socially positive ways. Hang their pictures on the wall.