Meet My New Friend!
- Discuss the concept of ‘identity’ and the importance of learning about others to help form a more inclusive, welcoming classroom environment
- Practice respectful communication skills to interview a classmate and learn about their unique identity, then introduce their partner to the rest of the class
Research shows that active and compassionate listening facilitates positive social interactions and fosters deeper understanding between participants, leading to a desire for future interactions and forming the foundation for friendship. During this activity, educators should encourage students to practice kindness and collaboration during their interviews (e.g., by using eye-contact and body language to show interest in their partner), and inclusivity as they gain an understanding and appreciation for diverse identities in their classroom.
To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Introduce the activity to students by explaining: “Today, we’re going to explore the different identities in our classroom. Our identity is what makes us “us”, like our hobbies, experiences, and dreams. Each person has their own unique identity, and these differences are what make the world so exciting! When we learn about each other, this helps us form new friendships and create a classroom where everyone feels appreciated for who they are.”
- Ask students the following questions:
• Do you know anyone who is a good listener? What makes them a good listener? How do you feel when you talk to them?
• What are some actions of a good listener? For example, listening carefully to the other person, asking questions about what they share, making appropriate eye contact, and having a friendly expression on their face.
- Distribute a copy of the “Meet My New Friend” interview template to each student, and explain that they should find a classmate who they don’t know very well, and take turns interviewing each other by asking the questions on their handout.
Set a five-minute timer for each interview. Remind students to practice being a good listener to their partner, and to say “thank you” for their partner’s honesty and openness in sharing about themselves.
- After the interviews are completed, bring students back together. Ask each student to introduce their partner to the rest of the class, and share a few interesting things that they learned about them. Encourage students to highlight the unique aspects of their partner’s identity, as well as any similarities that they share in common with each other.
- Finally, to strengthen these new friendships, prompt students to find ways to spend more time with their partner. For example, they might sit together during lunch, or play a game together after-school.
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.