Learning How to be a Good Friend
Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a good friend? Everyone wants a good friend—but friendship is a two-way street. In this social emotional lesson plan, kindergarteners and first graders are encouraged to think about the qualities of a good friend. As they are learning how to be a good friend, they’ll talk about valuable traits like being honest, caring, and dependable. To wrap up the lesson, students will work together to create a class agreement about friendship that can be posted for everyone to see.
Students will understand the qualities of a good friend and make agreements as a class for how they treat one another.
- Gather students into a circle, either seated, in chairs, or on the floor. Remind students about the raised hand attention signal and the talking piece you may have introduced in other activities.
- Circle time always begins with everyone being welcomed into the circle. Model welcoming a student and then have each student welcome the student sitting next to them. Be sure to rotate who sits where so students introduce different classmates. Example: “Hello Anish, welcome to our circle!”
- Optional: create a new greeting every week. For example, using a small ball or bean bag, have students toss the object to each other once they greet another student, then the student with the object greets the next student, etc.
- Once every student has been welcomed, retrieve the talking piece.
- SEL Focus - Relationship Skills: Tell students that today during their circle time, they are going to talk about how they can be good friends.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Ask: Why are friendships important to us?
- Chart student answers and ensure the talking piece is used to support equity of voice.
- Read an age-appropriate book of your choice on friendship to the class while seated in a circle (Suggestions: Making Friends by Fred Rogers or How to be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them by Laurie Krasny Brown).
- Have students reflect (after reading the book) on what makes a good friend.
- Chart student answers.
- Use the following suggested qualities of a good friend if students are having challenges coming up with qualities: Good friends listen to each other. Good friends are kind to each other and don’t say mean things about each other or hurt each other's feelings. Good friends are honest with each other. Good friends can disagree but still be friends. Good friends can count on each other. Good friends can try to help each other out. Good friends care about each other.
Guided Practice(15 minutes)
- Guide students through creating agreements from their answers to "what makes a good friend" on how as a class they will make and keep friends. If student answers are too general, have them specify what being a good friend looks like and sounds like.
- Have each student sign the chart paper with the class agreements on friendship.
- Post class agreements about friendship in the classrom.
- Remind students what they learned about listening last week (if students don't name it themselves) and how that's an important friendship quality.
Independent working time(10 minutes)
- Have the students remain in a circle.
- Pair students off and have them look for examples of friendship behaviors in magazines, make pictures of the examples they came up with in class, or even write words that are key to friendship.
- Use the pictures to create a classroom friendship collage to post up with the class friendship agreements.
- Enrichment: Advanced students may read additional books on friendship independently.
- Support: Struggling students may need to be paired with the teacher or teacher’s aide initially during independent work time.
- During independent work time, students should be looking for images or words that represent what the class came up with in their friendship agreements.
- Students should be practicing their listening skills learned in last week's lesson as they work with their partner.
- Look for students who need support.
- Sit closer to them and give clues and encouragement.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Go over the class agreements about friendship again.
- Paste the friendship agreements up in the room so you can refer to it throughout the day, especially during circle time or to reinforce prosocial behavior.
- Optional: Share examples of what it looks like to NOT be a good friend.