No matter the time of year, some students may feel left out and uncertain how to become part of the group. Maybe they’re new to the class or school or just slower to make connections with peers. Here’s an idea for how to make friends at school: Using our printable template, have each student fill out a survey about their interests. Students will draw or write about their favorite activities or what they would want as a gift if they could have anything.
Place all of these sheets in the transparent plastic sleeves and assemble them into a Buddy Binder so they’re easy to flip through.
There are a lot of ways you could use this Buddy Binder to help students make new friends with their classmates. For example, once per week, or on a schedule that works for you, invite one student to join you for a special lunch in your classroom. That student will then choose a classmate from the Buddy Binder to eat with you both.
You could look through the binder with your student and talk through their choices, looking for someone with whom they share a common interest. Students shouldn’t be picking a classmate that they already spend time with at recess or after school. This is an opportunity to get to know someone new.
For example, a student may say, “I didn’t know that Olivia liked koalas, too! That’s my favorite animal!”
Eating in your classroom will give both students a more relaxed space to chat than the busy cafeteria, and you’ll be there to facilitate the conversation if needed. It’s also an opportunity for you to build a more personal relationship with your students.
Want to help your students learn how to make friends in middle school?
This printable is a superhero twist on a getting-to-know-you survey that will help in building relationships. Consider having students complete this at the beginning and again at the end of the year and comparing/contrasting their responses. Or if you’re just finding this activity later in the year, it’s of course never too late to do this kind of check-in with middle school students.
The questions on this survey will be particularly helpful for counselors and teachers to gain insight into their new or returning students’ views of themselves. Categories like “Special Tools,” asking students what they need to be successful, and “Mission,” asking students their goals and who they want to be this year, will give you an idea of how to best help your students succeed.
The “Justice League/Avengers” category will give you a chance to see who students consider their allies and friends. Is there a student who doesn’t list anyone in their family? Is there a student who doesn’t list anyone at school? Do any students not have anyone to list at all?
In the Buddy Binder activity above, we discussed how students can use common interests to make new friends.
But once students discover something in common, what’s a good way for them to have them get to know each other based on that common interest?
Telling a peer “My teacher said you have to play with me,” or “You probably don’t want to play with me, but…” are not the strongest starts for a lasting friendship. But kids who struggle with initiation truly don’t know where to begin. This worksheet is a great jumping off point for that discussion.
See our other social initiation lessons and activities to help students maintain these friendships!
Lesson Extension When Using Centervention Online Programs
Learning how to make friends is a recurring theme across our entire online SEL curriculum.
For example, in Scene Six from Adventures Aboard the SS GRIN is all about knowing what qualities make a good friend, and taking the initial steps toward making friends.
In a remote mountain laboratory, players and S.S. GRIN crew member Emoticon Boy (EB) are zapped by a shrink ray and need to befriend a group of mice who can help them return to normal size. Players need to identify qualities of a good friend and then demonstrate smart ways to make friends with those they don’t already know
If you’re not already using our online SEL curriculum, you can request a free trial here.