“I only want to play basketball!”
“If you won’t play this game, I won’t play with you!”
“But I want our team to be called the Purple Pandas!”
“I want to be the red piece!”
“No, that idea is stupid!”
As a teacher, I used to hear these phrases all day long. It would drive me nuts! These days, I still hear my students saying these things and others. I bet as a parent, teacher or educator, you might hear these things too. The difference is now I hear my students follow up on those comments with a priceless statement that sounds like: “Ok, how about we compromise?”
That's because I started explicitly teaching my students HOW to compromise.
"The Big Three - 3 Ways to Compromise," is the mantra for the book, “The A-team presents: The Compromising Curse.”
We started by reading "Alex's Compromising Curse" and teaching the three ways to compromise. Then, we role played real situations and my students quickly learned how to resolve conflict with their peers. Now my students use "The Big Three" all the time!
The characters in this book, Alex, Max, Lily, Jack, and Bella, are all members of The A-team, a group of students that participate in a friendship group at their school. All of the characters have very similar challenges to my students, and every kid who reads this book can relate to their struggles with common social challenges.
Alex, the main character in the compromising book, loves basketball and he struggles to compromise with his peers. He always wants to play basketball and never wants to play the games his peers suggest. This leads to conflict that could be resolved with better compromising.
Alex was inspired from a former student of mine. His difficulty compromising caused a lot of problems with friendships as well as a lot hurt feelings, and even crying. We worked together on the three ways to compromise. We role played and practiced a TON! Then, like the book, I gave him a top secret mission to complete. My student loved the mission because it gave him explicit instruction and he felt awesome when he completed it.
Over time, he learned and became more confident with "The Big Three" of compromising. Then, when someone wanted to play a different game, he was able to say the magical phrase: “how about we compromise?” Because he learned to compromise, he got to play his favorite games with his peers and discover some new games (such as capture the flag, which quickly became a new favorite).
Using these social learning books makes teaching these lessons so powerful because the characters are relatable, the stories are familiar, and the situations are real. The strategies are practical, explicit and easy to learn. Overcoming social challenges now seems doable for my students! I really hope that these books can help other teachers and students the way they are helping mine!
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