Karen and Tyrique had a breakthrough today. When I came to the rug after breakfast time, they and two other students were excited about the latest edition of a nature magazine. I responded by complimenting their enthusiasm and slipping in a little vocabulary expansion: "I feel so elated to see you all getting excited about a book!"
The honeymoon did not last long. As I walked away to greet a latecomer, I noticed some of the excitement on the rug was turning into an aggressive and loud conflict over who would turn the pages. Camp David was not available at the moment, but we managed to devise a three stage solution through informal talks on the rug.
- Two of them would read the magazine for a few minutes while taking turns to turn each page;
- The first two would then peacefully hand the magazine off to the other two with Ms. Pappas facilitating the transition; and,
- The other two would read the magazine on their own while taking turns to turn each page.
Through a fair "Ini-mini" random selection process, Karen and Tyrique were chosen as the first two to read the highly coveted publication.
Well, mornings are a busy time, with math routines, morning announcements, newspaper letter hunts, and some anecdote collection before circle time. Sometimes Ms. Pappas forgets to go back to situations like the "Book Taking Turns Agreement." Today, however, my forgetfulness was not a problem. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Karen and Tyrique walk over to the other two students, give them the book, and say, "Here you go. It's your turn now."
At that sight, I definitely felt elation. I quickly acknowledged their success by exclaiming, "Wow. I am so proud of Karen and Tyrique for being such great friends. I am looking out for you for purple." Sure enough, they continued to cooperate for the rest of the day and were both put on purple, the highest honor on our behavior card system. If only international diplomacy were this simple.