2011-2012

Three’s A Crowd?
pinkMaria Dismondy’s new jewel – Pink Tiara Cookies For Three – is quickly becoming one of my favorite friendship books because it tackles the all-too-common triangle friendship in such a graceful and practical way. I’ll admit that I have counseled kids away from a triangle friendship for years by encouraging them to find another friend so that they’re a group of four. In our Pink Tiara story, Sami and Stella are a pair, and friends come in pairs, just like mittens! That is, until Jasmine moves in and things change. What I love about this tale is that things don’t have to change for the worse; the friends work through the change and they find a way to turn the dynamic duo into a terrific trio.

Maria’s whirlwind blog tour in January 2012 to promote her new book included a stop at my blog, The Corner on Character, where she wrote a guest post about kindness. Check out her blog to get your autographed copy and/or to see where else she’s been to give interviews, share wisdom, and collaborate on lesson plan and activity ideas. She even shared the recipe for the infamous Pink Tiara Cookies here.

Click on the book cover graphic to hear Maria read her story, then have students follow it up by writing a story about a time (real or imagined) when they had to overcome a friendship challenge, what the experience was like, how they felt as they were going through it, and how they overcame the hurdle and resolved the conflict.

Westwood-Bales appreciates our partnership with Maria, who donated a copy of this AdOrAbLe friendship treasure to our Round Up fundraiser. I’m planning to bake a batch of those delicious Tiara cut-outs to accompany her donation in our auction. Thanks, Maria, your support means a lot to us.

You’ve Got A Friend

We just love these secret-message Window Cards as a discussion starter or writing prompt. On a tight budget? Let kids make them using die-cut shapes and a sticker to lift the flap and reveal their friendship message. Get inspired today!

The Friendship Pillar

youcanbeafriendI always refer to trustworthiness as the Friendship Pillar because where would a friendship be without trust? Start this lesson by asking your students what it means to be “true blue” followed by these other inquiries: Why is trust important in a friendship? What does a friendship with trust look like? sound like? feel like? How about a friendship without trust? Encourage them to share about a time when a friendship worked really well and a time when things weren’t so good. Finally, ask them what they’d do if they wanted to have a birthday party at a water park but one of their friends was wheel-chair bound.

Enter the book You Can Be A Friend by Tony and Lauren Dungy; I got my copy as a gift from my Godmother, Sue, so it’s extra-special! Visit Books That Heal Kids to learn more about this fantastic friendship find before you read it aloud to your little friends. Then enjoy the discussion that follows!

Finally, teach this little Finger Play by Pat A. Johnson and encourage your students to write a finger play, poem, chant, or little ditty of their own that expresses how they feel about friends.

Finding A Friend

friendIt’s the beginning of another school year and you have a new class, which means many of your students get to make all new friends. What will they look for in a friend? How will they know when they’ve found a new friend? What do they have to offer that makes them a good friend?

Print out this graphic to show to your class. Find out if they agree with what this sign says? Is it important for a friend to accept you as you are? Why or why not? Is it important that a friend believes in you? Understands you? What else is important in a friend? Ask questions with emotive force: Could they be friends with someone who is dishonest? Who steals, cheats, or lies? How about with someone who doesn’t keep his or her promises? Or who isn’t loyal? Someone who’s never on time? Someone who’s in jail?

Get your students (or even your faculty teammates) to ponder the phrase “critical friends.” What do they think that means? Finally, host a poster-making challenge, kind of an advertisement for a friend, using the graphic as an example. Hang your friendship ads around the room as a visible reminder of what your students want and need from one another as your class family works together to become friends.

Worth Repeating

imgresI recently came across some friendship quotes and I read them aloud to my daughter. Granted, she’s college-bound, but the words really opened up a fun discussion about friends and relationships. Use these as a discussion starter for morning meeting, journaling, or even to make a Public Service Announcement. Find out if students agree or disagree and let them explain why in a newsroom-style commentary. Finally, send them digging through your collection of books and see what quotes they can uncover right in your own classroom or school library.

• A friend is someone who sees through you and still enjoys the view. -Wilma Askinas
• The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. -Elizabeth Foley
• A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down. -Arnold H. Glasgow
• A friend hears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. -Pioneer Girls Leaders’ Handbook
• The golden rule for friendship is to listen to others as you would have them listen to you. -David Augsburger
• The best mirror is a friend’s eye. -Gaelic Proverb