The results of an experiment in my class yesterday:
I had paired 2 boys to work together on a project and had forgotten that they cannot stand to be near each other. I already had everyone else paired and working and decided I wanted them to try. I told them it was a social skill to work with someone you don't like, in a respectful way. No one has to like anyone, but I wanted to see behavior that made it look like friends working together. No one in the class thought it was going to work, but I offered a group reward to the whole group if they were encouraging and if the 2 agreed (they could opt out). They decided to give it a try. By the end of the period they had not only been productive, but seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Today I jokingly referred to them as each others BFF (best friends forever) and it made them giggle every time I said it. Then I asked them to write about the experience and this is what they wrote:
Boy #1: To be friends with him yesterday made me feel weary at first. But after we got going it just got cooler and cooler. I think Mrs. C wants us to be friends or to work together again without having problems. Anyway, I think we might have started a friendship. I learned that he is actually a cool kid, although he still has his moments.He is smart and knows stuff about things I did not know and we did good schoolwork because of it. He knows ways to figure things out. I learned that even though you don't like a person, you can stick it out and maybe even good will happen. I feel he is pretty cool now and I have more respect for him. He respects me and he even talked to me today and Mrs. C didn't get us in trouble for whispering in class.
Boy #2: Well, it was very weird, but she is crazy and she said that when we started that she might be crazy but we were going to try this. No, really it was fun and we kept busy and we figured out how to get along. I feel like we could maybe be friends but anyway getting along is good too.