Butter Battle Escalator

Type of Activity: Processing / Conflict Resolution

Props Needed: Butter Battle Escalator book

Process: Read the Butter Battle Escalator Book by Dr. Seuss out loud as a group.  Pay attention to how a conflict escalates between the Yooks and the Zooks.  On a large sheet of paper or on the board, chart six steps of the

escalation following the model on page 208 in JTCC.

Ask the following questions:

  • What was the original conflict?
  • What do you think caused the conflict to escalate?
  • Read the last page again and brainstorm at least five possible ways to resolve the conflict.
  • What could the Yooks and the Zooks have done to de-escalate and not end up as they did?

Reflect on a conflict they had with at least one other person.  Then have them chart how it escalated using their escalator sheets.  With partners, they should discuss the conflicts they have charted.  Ask the following questions:

  • If the conflict was resolved, how was it resolved?
  • If the conflict was not resolved, how could it have been resolved?
  • When you become angry or upset, what are some de-escalators that help you calm down so that you can deal with the conflict?  Write each one on a sticky note.
  • Post your de-escalators (sticky notes) on a sheet of paper.  Create and label categories so that those that are similar are together.

The Butter Battle Book can be used with students of all ages.  It is a perfect allegory for the idea of escalating conflicts. There are many other ways to use children’s literature for addressing conflict-resolution concepts.

It is important to give participants an opportunity to explore how to deal with conflict at a time when they are not involved in a conflict. Later, when a conflict inevitably occurs, they will have heightened skills to deal with it. De-escalation if important because conflict cannot be resolved when people are thinking and acting in an enraged state.

For more resources see: Journey Towards a Caring Classroom, The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss

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