True Friends vs Toxic Friends was a big hit with my students! It provides discussion as well as interactive, engaging and creative activities! I taught true friends vs toxic friends to a mixed class of high school students, but this lesson could easily be done with middle schoolers as well!
- Optional: Play the theme song from the television show “Friends” as students enter the room!
- Begin with an agree or disagree continuum. I showed my students the ASL hand signs for the letters “A” and “B”. They were to respond with the “A” hand sign if they agreed and the “B” hand sign if they disagreed. After each prompt, we discussed the agrees and disagrees as students justified their positions. This activity provoked some really thoughtful discussion! See prompts in attachments below.
- At this point I asked students to brainstorm a list of qualities they believe make up a good/true friend. They were to write as many as they could before time was called.
- To make it more fun, we played the elimination game with their lists. As students shared qualities, they received points for unique answers that no one else in the class had! So, as students shared, if others had the same answer, they had to cross it off. If it was unique, they circled it and got a point. Who ever had the most points was deemed the winner!
- iPads or Laptops
- Projector & Screen
- Think Color Markers
- Cardstock for Silhouettes
- Ask students “How can you tell if a person is a true friend?” and have them share ideas.
- View the YouTube video “Are Your Friends Real? Ten Signs of a True Friend” and complete the note form.
- At this point, I asked students to choose a “silhouette”. Students select one of the silhouette templates to fill in the characteristics/qualities of a TRUE friend word splash style, with bright colored markers based on class discussions and resources. The silhouette selected is labeled “TRUE”. Collect and hold for later use.
- Next, ask students “What a toxic friend is and how you might know if you have one?” and have them share ideas.
- Together, we read the article from Scholastic Choices titled, “The 7 Types of Toxic Friendships”. Afterward, I give them the follow-up assignment “What Type of Friend Might I Be…If?” Students use the article to help them identify the type described.
- To recap, students watch the YouTube video “Toxic vs Healthy: What’s the Difference” clip.
- Pass back the silhouette visuals to students and have them fill in the other silhouette with qualities of a toxic friend based on class discussions and articles. Again, completed in word splash style, using dark marker colors and labeled “TOXIC”. Once completed, we hung these up as a bulletin board display.
- As part of their final assignment, students play the role of an advice columnist (intern) and respond to seven different “Ask Mavis Scenarios”. I had students respond to all of the scenarios because they didn’t know which one would actually be graded.
- After all scenarios were answered, I randomly assigned students to small groups. Each group selected a number from 1-7. Whichever number they received was the number they had to do as a group.
- First, the groups had to share each of their responses to the scenario they received. They then had to revise their response to include suggestions and/or solutions from each person which was color-coded and shared on a single flash slide. Groups then presented their scenario and responses to the class. Since I’m trying to work smarter, not harder, I was then able to grade them as they were presented, thus saving time!
- Agree or Disagree Continuum Prompts (PDF)
- Ten Signs of a True Friend Notes Form (PDF)
- Silhouette Visual Instructions Part I & II (PDF)
- Silhouette Templates (PDF)
- What Type of Friend Might I Be…If (PDF)
- Advice Columnist…Ask Mavis Scenarios (PDF)
- Flash Slide Instructions (PDF)
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