I like to introduce this activity with a “friendship warm up.” We come together at meeting and I start with the question, “What is friendship?” I write their responses down on chart paper (structured like the table above) so that we can refer back to it throughout our discussion, and throughout the year.
I then move on to the next three questions, allowing for 4 or 5 responses to each question. Once we have laid the foundation for our conversation, I can begin to introduce the friendship advertisements.
I usually start with something like, “It can be hard to make new friends at the beginning of the year. Some of you are new to our school. You may be looking around at all new faces and wondering who you will call friend in a few days time. Some of you are in this classroom, but your best friend is in another classroom. You may be wondering how you are going to make it through this year without them. Others may look around the classroom and see many familiar friends, but know that you can never have too many!”
I explain that, ‘We are going to be doing an activity to get to know each other as friends. The goal is that we will all be friends in this classroom, but I know that you may grow closer to some than others. We are going to be writing advertisements to share what we are looking for in a new friend, and what kind of friend we think we can be for someone else.”
At this point my students usually look at each other with a confused face… you gotta love getting that look from your WHOLE class! I assure them it will be okay, because I have an example to share with them.
When they have all finished, and they all feel confident in their ads, I type them out. I do this so that it is TRULY anonymous (you know some handwriting is a dead giveaway!) Then, I cover each name with a colorful piece of cardstock and tape it ONLY at the top. This creates a little flap that allows the name to be unveiled. That way, when I post all of these beautiful advertisements to my bulletin board, students can read the ads, and lift the flaps of any that seem like a potential friend and find out who it is! Exciting right?