- Students will map out key relationships in their classroom
- Students will see relationships they’re neglecting and make efforts to reach out to classmates with whom they do not normally interact
Time and Materials
- One class session
- Sociogram Handout for each student
A sociogram is a visual representation of the relationships in a classroom. This activity uses a sociogram to help students understand how they interact — or don’t interact — with their classmates. The understanding of their interpersonal interactions can create opportunities for students to cross their routine social boundaries and strengthen their relationships with all classmates.
Give each student a copy of the Sociogram Handout. Tell them that the “Me” in the center represents them. Have them write the names of all their classmates on the page (or you could have done this already for them to make the activity go quicker).
Explain to the students that they are going to visually map out their relationships. No one else needs to see their paper and it can remain private. Use the Sociogram Example as a model of what they are going to do and see if they can “read” the relationships. For instance, the person in the model thinks of Raven as a best friend, plays with her at recess and thinks that she is one of the popular kids in class.
After students fill out the Sociogram Handout, and without naming any classmates, ask them the following questions:
- Do you have multiple lines going to the same name(s)? What could this tell you?
- Look at the names you didn’t draw any lines to. Why do you think you don’t interact with them?
- Using a green crayon, draw circles around people you don’t usually play with, but would like to start playing with. Make an effort to spend time with them today. (Do the same thing for people you would like to play with tomorrow or the next day, using different colored crayons for each day.)
After a few days of using the sociogram to help students cross their usual social groups, have them write about or discuss the following prompts:
- What did it feel like to Mix It Up? Was it easy or difficult? Why?
- Did you make new friends? Why or why not?
- Do you find yourself playing with different people more now?
- What did you learn about a new friend that you didn’t know before?
Extension (for Teachers Only)
These sociograms may provide very valuable information to you about the interpersonal dynamics of your classroom. With students’ permission — and since no names are on the handouts so they remain anonymous — collect them and synthesize your classes’ relationships. Look for the following dynamics:
- Who was chosen over and over again? Are these the leaders — for better or for worse — in your classroom?
- Which children consistently had no lines drawn to them? Did you know that these children were socially isolated? What can you do to help them build healthy friendships in your classroom?