A lesson that encourages students to examine what it means to relate to others
Research illustrates that young people who have difficulty developing relationships are more likely to participate in aggression, abuse drugs or suffer from depression.
Here's a lesson that encourages students to examine what it means to relate to others, giving them the opportunity to define, assess and build the central skills they need to maintain productive relationships. You can present this lesson in a group setting, or students can do it independently. Each step includes a journal prompt, activity directions and process questions.
STEP 1: DEFINING RELATABILITY
Journal prompt: Is it easier to get along or to fight with others?
Activity directions: Students complete a chart to explore relationships observed through the media and through personal experiences. The chart should show situations students have observed, list examples of people getting along and people not getting along, and show the effects of getting along, as well as the effects of not getting along.
Process questions: Is it easier to work on getting along when you examine the potential negative effects of fighting? Can any positive effects come from not getting along?
STEP 2: ASSESSING RELATABILITY
Journal prompt: How can you measure the quality of relationships?
Activity directions: Students should complete the survey below. Students must provide a personal example for each survey question. Students should refer to the scale to learn their level of relatability.
ASSESSING RELATABILITY SURVEY
1. Do you initiate conversations with others (text, email, call)?
2. Do you respond when other people initiate conversations with you (text, email, call)?
3. Are you a member of a group or organization?
4. Do you cry or laugh at things (movies, books, songs, jokes)?
5. Do you apologize when needed?
6. Do you accept apologies?
7. Do you share secrets with others?
8. Do other people share secrets with you?
9. Do you seek advice or the opinions of others?
10. Do others come to you for advice or for your opinion?
Total # of YES answers ____________
Total # of NO answers ____________
8-10 YES Answers You are very relatable person
5-7 YES Answers You are a social person
3-4 YES Answers You need a relatability mentor
0-2 YES Answers You are in need of a relatability makeover
Process questions: What is your reaction to your score? Do you think the survey measures relatability accurately? Explain why or why not.
STEP 3: RESHAPING YOUR RELATABILITY
Journal prompt: How can you improve your interactions with others?
Activity directions: Students should brainstorm a list of factors that they use to help build relationships in their lives. They should also make a list of factors that they feel are harmful to the development of relationships in their lives.
Process questions: Review your list and explain what behavior/factor is hurting your interactions with others the most. Now that you are aware that this is hurting your relationships with others, what will you do with this information?
Jennifer Davis Bowman
For more great lesson plans on helping middle-school students build better relationships, order Making & Keeping Friends: Ready-To-Use Lessons, Stories, and Activities for Building Relationships,
by John Schmidt. ISBN 978-0-8762-8553-4.