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10-15 minutes




Paper, markers


To help students identify ways that they can become a better friend

  • Brainstorm some characteristics of good friends as a class (e.g., sharing, kindness, truthfulness, etc.).
  • Have students take two pieces of paper and trace both their right and left hands.
  • On one hand, have them write five strengths/characteristics that make a good friend. If students have trouble doing this on their own, they can partner up to come up with more ideas.
  • On the other hand, have them write five areas where they think they have room to grow to become a better friend.
  • Ask students to select one item per hand to put into practice that week (set a small goal).
  • Share/reflect weekly (as a group or in a journal).
  • Repeat.

Read: The Rainbow Fish (Marcus Pfister)

  • Have others identify what makes you a good friend.
  • To extend this practice, students can choose one of the areas that they think they could improve and set a small goal that would help them to build on those skills.
  • Have students create an acrostic poem with their name using each letter to describe themselves as a friend or have them work in pairs and have each partner describe the other as a friend in an acrostic poem.

Students who have quality friendships are less likely to both engage in, and be victims of bullying, even if they have a tendency to act out or be socially withdrawn (Bollmer, Milich, Harris, & Maras, 2005). This is because students can use quality friendships to learn to regulate their emotions and behaviour in a socially appropriate way (Caspi, Henry, McGee, Moffitt, & Silva, 1995; Eisenberg, Fabes, Guthrie, & Reiser, 2000). Encouraging students to engage in more quality friendships will encourage prosocial behaviour in the classroom.

Bollmer, J., Milich, R., Harris, M., & Maras, M. (2005). A Friend in Need: The Role of Friendship Quality as a Protective Factor in Peer Victimization and Bullying. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(6), 701-712. doi:10.1177/0886260504272897

Caspi, A., Henry, B., McGee, R. O., Moffitt, T. E., & Silva, P. A. (1995). Temperamental Origins of Child and Adolescent Behavior Problems: From Age Three to Age Fifteen. Child Development, 66(1), 55-68. doi:10.2307/1131190

Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Guthrie, I. K., & Reiser, M. (2000). Dispositional Emotionality and Regulation: Their Role in Predicting Quality of Social Functioning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(1), 136-157. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.78.1.136