Hug O' War
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.

Young people demonstrate that differences can be discussed and worked through kindly and playfully. When we disagree, curiosity and creativity can help us talk openly. Conflict isn't comfortable, but we have the curiosity and skills to get through. 

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Session
  • brainstorm and practice ways to work through a problem
  • describe situations where a group effort is a better solution than an individual effort

copy of the poem "Hug O' War" by Shel Silverstein


Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends. New York: Harpercollins Juvenile Books, 1974. ISBN: 060256672

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Make a lighthearted statement about which people may disagree, such as "peanut butter and jelly is the best food for lunch." 

    Conflict isn't always bad. Conflict can help us understand another view, and we can be curious about how and why we disagree. We can disagree and still like each other. In this lesson, we explore having kind and civil conversations about differences.

    Share one or more of the videos on this page and talk about tips for having civil conversations. 

  2. Read Shel Silverstein's poem "Hug O' War" in the handout below. Discuss whether there can be a game in which everyone wins. Discuss the difference between competition and cooperation. Ask the children why they think the author will not play tug o' war.

    Discuss this idea: We are each very different, and that is a beautiful thing. If someone thinks differently than me, I can show curiosity to understand instead of criticizing.

  3. Have children draw a picture that illustrates people using cooperation to in a community, school, or home. The facilitator can write dictated descriptions on the pictures.