Teaching our students the value of friendship is so important for our classrooms. My goal in designing friendship activities for character education is to give students memorable and meaningful experiences that they will use beyond the classroom. If you’ve been searching for ways to better incorporate friendship character education into your classroom, read on for my favorite ideas!
Need friendship character education resources?
My character education friendship resource that you see below contains a variety of activities and tools for making friendship more than just a lesson! Check out all the ways you can encourage friendship!
If you’re new to using character education resources, check out my post about where I start each year here.
Friendship Pacing Guide
This pacing guide organizes your entire character education month of friendship. It will help you plan and set aside enough time to complete all of the activities with your students. Pick and choose what works best for your classroom and student interest.
Friendship Parent Letter
I love utilizing parent letters! These are so effective at establishing good habits. They get families involved so they can reinforce the character education lessons at home.
The letter included in my resource provides parents and families with tools to help them explain, model, and praise friendship in the home. Additionally, it includes a list of books and movies that families can enjoy together!
Friendship Read Alouds
Read-alouds are excellent for giving students shared context for discussions. They can see good (and sometimes not-so-good) examples of showing friendship and building relationships. I put together a list of my favorite read-alouds that teach different aspects of friendship. These books allow your students to explore ideas and makes for great conversation.
Friendship Bulletin Board
At the start of a new character education month, I make sure to update the bulletin board first. It’s a beautiful way to introduce and define the concept and start class discussions. I include everything you’ll need to introduce friendship to your students. It will create a beautiful display that you can keep up for the whole month. You have space for adding quotes for the week, social scenarios for class discussions, writing prompts, and more!
Friendship Anchor Charts
If you know me, you know I love anchor charts. They are perfect resources for students, and I often refer students to them as we respond to questions and discussions. It is also helpful as they start to work independently.
This anchor chart activity is a great bridge from the bulletin board to introducing students to the character education pillar. I’ve also used the anchor chart to pair with a mentor text. The chart is set up as a discussion question, which I believe students benefit from by working together as a class to answer. Printable versions are also available in my resource!
Posters are great to use as reminders about friendship. This resource includes three different posters. Each poster has the same message, but includes different clip art that shows examples of friendship. I make an effort to include multicultural children to reflect our diverse classrooms.
Hang these posters on your bulletin board, as part of a display, posted in the hallway, or create individual printouts for students to keep at their desks.
Use a calendar to challenge your students to show friendship! This calendar is editable, so you can change the month and activities listed. You can pick and choose what makes sense for your classroom and student culture, or you can swap around activities for different days.
I like to take a few minutes each day to discuss the calendar activity. We may have a conversation about ways to complete the activity, or what it might mean in teaching us about friendship. Students can come up with examples as well! When finished, students color in the square.
These calendar activities I have made the most impact on my students. It gives them real-life opportunities to practice friendship and make meaningful connections. It puts it into action and helps them internalize their character education lessons.
Friendship Doodle Notes
The doodle reflection pages are a fun and creative way to get students to think about friendship and ways they can show it. It includes reflection questions, examples, quotes, and doodles to color. It makes a great morning work activity or early-finisher task. These are super cute if you want to display them as students finish!
Friend Interview and Glyph
In this activity, students will interview a classmate and ask a series of open-ended and true-false questions in order to get to know each other and foster stronger friendships in the classroom. It’s very helpful to assign partners who do not know each other well to encourage new friendships and authentic conversations. After recording their partner’s answers, students will create a glyph about their classmate.
Find a Friend Activity
Students will go around the classroom asking different classmates if they can agree with a statement on the printable. If they agree, the student should sign their name. Encourage students to fill in all of the squares and each person should only sign one box. There are three different versions which allow students personalize their statements to find out what they have most in common with classmates. There are pre-written statements, fill-in-the-blank statements, and blank squares so you can adjust to your classroom and student needs.
Students will be creating a “Friend Wanted” advertisement. Help students brainstorm the qualities of a good friend, what a good friend does, and what makes each of your students a good friend in order to plan and complete their ad. In addition, students will list their own friendship strengths on dotted tags so others can “take what they need” in a friend as well.
Students will work together to brainstorm the characteristics and actions that create a good friendship. They will create a list of the most important qualities as the “ingredients”. Together, students will decide what the “directions” are to have a good friendship. This is a partner activity, so students will discuss with each other what makes a good friendship. They can think about their own friends, classmates, and other relationships. As a bonus, this makes a super cute “cookbook” for the class library when it is all finished.
For each week you spend on friendship, you can share new quotes with students. I’ve included five friendship quotes and three short-answer questions for each quote. This will help students reflect on the quote’s meaning. You also have several printing options available. Include it on your bulletin board each week, or print individually for students to work on independently or in small groups.
Social-scenarios are really fun ways to incorporate character education. This allows your students to place themselves in new situations and think about friendship. I love these for inspiring meaningful conversation. These can be displayed on your bulletin board or printed for students to work on by themselves.
Friendship Readers Theater
These are super fun for students. There are a lot of benefits to using readers theter. It helps with fluency, comprehension, speaking, reading motivation, and confidence. It also provides purpose for reading. I’ve included basic steps of teaching performance like highlighting parts, reading expressively, and stage positions.
Included are three scripts:
Friendship Pie: In this story, a character named Rabbit is aksed to make a friendship pie without any instructions. As Rabbit goes around to teach friend asking for help, his friends help out in different ways, offering generosity, helpfulness, and kindness. As students act out this story, they will learn about different aspects of friendship and how they can be a friend in different ways.
The Friendship Challenge: In this story, students will play contestants in a game show. Throughout the rounds, students will learn and interpret some famous sayings about friendship. They’ll also learn about what it means to be a good friend and a not so good friend as they play each character.
The S.S. Friendship: In this play, students each represent one letter in the word “friend,” holding a sign or large cutout of the letter, if possible. As students say their parts, they’ll share a new word that’s an important part of being a friend.
Friendship Writing Prompts
Writing prompts help encourage students to write in thoughtful and creative ways. These friendship prompts are perfect for student reflection. This resource has five writing prompts for students to write about friendship.
- Answering questions about one of their friendships and the story of that friendship.
- Students help a student named Marvin reflect on how he can make friends.
- Thinking critically about a time they had a problem with a friendship and how it was resolved.
- Retelling a favorite story about friendship.
- A creative prompt having students create a tale about an unlikely friendship.
The writing prompts include printable bulletin headings. You can choose do display these in your classroom or “publish” student work with fancy paper and included clip art images.
This character education friendship resource is just a small part of my larger Character Education or Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum bundle. You’ll be set for the entire year!
All of the individual pillars (kindness, respect, responsibility, courage, cooperation, empathy, generosity, perseverance, friendship, and integrity) are covered in this bundle. It is filled with meaningful lessons, materials, hands-on activities, anchor charts and bulletins and more!