In this classroom activity, students use sight and touch to learn how powerfully words can affect relationships. Students participate verbally (through discussion) and physically (through volunteering and creation of a Six Secrets of Friendship Bag). In the end, each student will have a concrete and tangible reminder of the activity.
Getting Started: Place piles of the following six items assembly-line style in the classroom. Be sure to provide enough for every student to receive one of each item (e.g., if you have 25 students, you will need 25 of each item).
Once the assembly line is set up, ask for one student volunteer to stand next to each pile of items. Ask the first volunteer, “What do you think your item has to do with friendship?” First give the six volunteers a chance to share their thoughts about the item, and then open the discussion to the whole class.
After several students have had the opportunity to share, move on to the next item on the assembly line, and repeat the procedure. Continue the discussion in the same fashion for each of the six items.
1. Popsicle stick Represents “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Discuss this saying with students to help them realize words can indeed be “invisible weapons” that hurt others.
2. Blank mailing label Represents reputations and how people can be “labeled” based on innate characteristics.
3. Cotton ball Represents softening words to avoid hurting feelings. Students may share examples such as: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that to you. I’m having a bad day and didn’t mean to take it out on you.
4. Inspirational quotes Represent positivity and inspire kids to feel good about themselves. Some examples of kid-friendly quotes to use are: “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.” or “You are always in control of your choices; words are only words unless you react to them.”
5. Chocolate candy Represents how sharing shows friendship and respect and is an act of kindness. Encourage discussion about the impact on friendship if individuals share the treat.
6. Resealable plastic bag Represents the choice of “zipping your lips” when you have nothing nice to say to someone.
Finally, have students create individual Six Secrets of Friendship Bags by placing one of each item into a resealable plastic bag. Encourage students to keep their Six Secrets of Friendship Bags at school as a visual reminder to use kind words and actions with others.
Students will want to eat or share their chocolate candy. Tell them to enjoy it—they earned it!
Myers Elementary School
Help students continue to build healthy relationships by learning assertion and refutation skills at tolerance.org/activity/assertion-jar.