Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Quick & Easy Way to Help Your Students Make Friends

This is about the time of year when we have our second round of Parent-Teacher Conferences.
During those conferences, I usually hear that parents aren't concerned about their child's academic needs, but their social needs. When I first heard this, I wasn't quite sure how to meet this need. So, I went and collaborated with my colleagues. One colleague told me to try something she had heard about from another teacher called "Mix it Up Monday."

Every Monday, she gave each of her student an assigned friend that they would eat lunch with, play at recess with, and do other activities throughout the day with. This gave the students an opportunity to make a new friend and meet someone new that they may not have chosen to play with on their own. This also eliminated the problem of anyone not having a friend to play with. My friend who told me about this idea, is very organized and has written up a schedule of who is playing with who each Monday. In my class, I am not as organized, so I use Class Dojo's random chooser and assign friends each Monday. Either way, it works!

Now, sometimes we don't have school on Monday, so my kiddos beg to have "Mix it Up Monday," another day. So, we've had "Twist it Up Tuesday," "Whirl it Around Wednesday," you get the idea! My kiddos really enjoy playing with someone different and getting to know someone new.

Now, I will warn you, that at first, my kids would complain about who their friend was. We had to have a discussion that this is hurtful. I tell my kids that we are all friends and we will treat each other as such. Since then, no complaints! At least not any that were verbalized. Try it in your classroom if you've experienced this problem, because since implementing it, I haven't had a single complaint about a student lacking friends.