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Jumpstart: Handling Disagreements - Universal


CASEL Competency Focus: Responsible Decision Making
Time: 20-30 minutes
Materials: Chart Paper/Board, Post-It Notes or Paper
Goal: In a social situation, the student will use a respectful response when disagreeing with a peer or adult without escalating the situation in 8 out of 10 observable opportunities, as measured by a teacher assessment tool.

1. Use good listening skills to hear/listen to the other person's ideas/perspective in a disagreement.
2. Ask a clarifying question to help you understand the other person's view or idea.
3. Use a learned/rehearsed respectful response to express your own personal opinion (such as "I see what you are saying, but"; "That is a good point"; "I am sorry but I disagree with you on this").

Standards Addressed:

Speaking and Listening Standards


    • Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.
    • Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.
    • Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

Definitions of Key Terms:

  • Disagreement: Disagreeing means to have a different feeling or opinion about a topic, like food, from other people. You may think that pizza is the greatest food ever, while your friend does not like to eat pizza at all.

Lesson Procedures

Gather students to introduce the topic: Handling Disagreements. Ask, “Can you think of a time that you have had a disagreement with another student, friend, or family member? What was the disagreement about?”

Start to make a list of the general instances when disagreements happen. These may include:

  • During recess- trying to decide on a game to play
  • During a sport or game- agreeing on a rule or correct way to play
  • With a sibling- (students can list disagreements that they’ve had with siblings)
  • With a parent or guardian- (students can list family disagreements)
  • With a teacher or staff member- following directions, acting respectfully, doing what is expected, (students can brainstorm other disagreements that may happen with adults at school)

Remind students that just because disagreements occur does not mean that the problems can’t be solved. Discuss strategies that can be implemented to assist students in handling disagreements.

Strategies may include:

  • -Taking a deep breath and giving yourself some space before talking with the other person
  • -Asking an adult to help solve the disagreement
  • -Deciding to take turns, trying it your friend’s way and then your way
  • -Brainstorm ways in which the disagreements listed above can be handled


For the activity today, students are going to work independently, with a partner, or with a small group to select one of the disagreements brainstormed on the list or come up with their own ideas. They are going to write a short script or play to act out in front of the class. If students are too shy to act it out, they can write the script and ask another group to perform it.

Students will write their script, which includes a disagreement. Next, they will practice the script or performance for a few minutes so they are comfortable performing it. Finally, each group will have the opportunity to present their play or script to the class. After each group performs, ask students what they noticed about the disagreement and how it was handled. Encourage students to think of new ways that the disagreement could have been resolved.

Follow Up:

Now that the students have worked together to write their script and perform it live, they can try it out on the SiLAS app or website. Give time during this session or another session to choose avatars and create a video related to handling disagreements. Students can share their video with the class as well as send it home to families.

There are many books that support the theme of handling disagreements. Some recommended titles include:

  • Enemy Pie
  • The Story of Ferdinand
  • The Hueys In It Wasn’t Me
  • The Fort
  • When Miles Got Mad