Family Resources on Friendship Values
Project and Purpose
Students determine what they value most in a friend and create an artistic expression of those values.
What are the values to look for in a good friend?
If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students thought critically about the values they place on friends and friendship. Students then discussed with a partner to help prioritize those values. To demonstrate, students created an art project that exhibited their friendship values.
Getting Ready for the Conversation
Middle school aged students likely have experience in developing friendships. However, they may not have thought much about what they value within their friendships. As adolescents become older, they often have to assess whether or not some friendships are healthy and worthwhile. Understanding what they value within their friendships will help students assess the health of their ongoing friendships.
Conversation Starters and Practice at Home
The first item is for follow-up after participating in class activities.
What were some of the friendship values you prioritized in class? Why did you choose these?
Choose a good friend and describe the friendship values that this friendship demonstrates. Describe why. [It could be helpful to use adult mentors as examples as well.]
If a friend were to describe the friendship values that you demonstrate, what would those be? Why?
Describe how to strengthen the values for your important friendships and why you think it is important to continue to develop those values
School to Home Resources on Friendship Values
- Friendship Values Chart (See PDF Lesson)
- Large construction paper
- Other art materials as needed for project (e.g., markers, crayons, colored pencils, old photos, magazines to cut out images, computer access to images to print out, etc.)
Note: This project will take 2 sessions.
1. Tell students that today’s session will concentrate on friendship values. This will require a discussion of the concept of values. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the values this session will focus on as: something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable. The English Oxford Dictionary’s definition is: The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
2. Ask students to spend a minute to write a personal list of the things they value most in a friend. This may be done in their journals or on a separate piece of paper.
3. At the one-minute mark, ask students to stop writing and find a partner they trust to share and discuss their lists. Distribute one Friendship Values Chart and a pair of scissors to each set of partners. Give students time to review the charts and ask questions. The blank spaces are for them to add values they believe are missing on the chart.
4. Their tasks:
- On the grid lines, cut apart the values on the chart.
- Work with partner to put all of the values in order of importance to them. They may disagree, so there may be a few values that are side by side or they may create two orders, or they may work it out using accountable talk.
- When they have set values in order, they will come up to the teacher for tape and a large piece of construction paper to tape their order down to create an original chart.
- They will use art supplies as provided to add details, examples, or illustrations to their original charts. These should not be merely decorative; these should add meaning or clarify their thoughts on the values and the order of importance.
5. Allow students to work the rest of the session on their charts. Depending on their progress, plan for time in the next session for completing and presenting their charts.
6. When charts are completed, mount their charts in a makeshift exhibition. This can be done by posting charts on the walls or spreading charts on desks or tables.
7. Have students silently walk around the exhibit and instruct them to review the different orders partners set up as well as note the embellishments added. This is not to critique the quality of the art, but an exercise to find the reasons behind their values order.
After viewing the exhibit, ask students to discuss or write their answers to the following questions:
- What did they create?
- What challenged them in this experience?
- How does this experience connect to their own lives?
- How will they think about friendship moving forward?