RelationSHIP Graphic Organizer

Students need to have an idea of what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy. In order to accomplish this, students spend time brainstorming on their own before joining forces as a class to complete the “RelationSHIP Graphic Organizer.” This is a very engaging class sharing activity before asking students to apply it as they analyze relationships to determine their healthfulness.


  • Pass out white boards and markers or blank scratch paper and ask students to divide it in half and label each section with the headings: healthy and unhealthy.
  • Ask students to brainstorm as many characteristics they can that would be found in each type of relationship and write them in the appropriate column. I give them several minutes to do this.


  • White boards & Dry Erase Markers (optional)
  • Chalkboard or White Board
  • Play-doh & Pipecleaners (optional)


  • When students finish, I create my own artistic rendition of the relationSHIP on the board. I get alot of snickers when I draw this visual as my artistic abilities can be somewhat lacking! However, I do provide my students with a graphic organizer of this visual so they don’t have to draw their own–they just have to draw in the water line.
  • At this point students begin sharing their healthy characteristics “whip” style as we go around the room. As I write them around the ship, I explain that it’s the healthy characteristics that help keep the relationSHIP afloat!
  • I then draw in the “sharks” in the ocean, below the relationSHIP. Again, I get more snickers to my artistic renditions! As students begin sharing their unhealthy characteristics “whip” style, I write them below the water, around the sharks. I explain that like sharks, the unhealthy characteristics can be lurking within a relationship, visible or unseen, and can attack at anytime, even if all seems fine.
  • If you want to reinforce the characteristics, you could do so via a Kahoot or Quizizz review game, but most of the time students can easily tell the difference.
  • To apply this concept to students, I have used the following activities:
    • Is It A Healthy Relationship? This is a very interactive lesson/ activity from the Dibble Institute where students create relationship structures from play-doh & other embellishments to illustrate healthy and unhealthy relationships.
    • Appointment with Love Case Study: I read this story aloud to my students and stop after reading the fourth paragraph from the end (sentence ends with “kindly twinkle”). I give my students some questions (see below) to answer individually and then we come together as a group to discuss. I try to incorporate everything we’ve discussed so far about realationships as we try to determine the healthfulness of this relationship. After the discussion, I go back and read the end of the story! Students are always amazed at how it ends and thus we continue to discuss whether this was a healthy approach and ultimately a healthy relationship.
    • To illustrate unhealthy relationships, I begin my unit on dating violence using some of the following lessons/activities: Teen Dating Violence and A Twisted Love Poem Activities & Updated “No One Would Tell” Resources.


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