Overcoming Obstacles

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Lesson 11: Becoming a Good Friend

Standards Addressed

  • Students will articulate ideas with details and supporting evidence.
  • Students will write for a variety of audiences and purposes.
  • Students will learn how to make and keep friends.


  • Students will identify the attributes of a good friend.


  • Board or chart paper and markers (“Starter”)

  • “Attribute Pie” activity sheet for each student (“You Do”)


10 Minutes

Choose a best friend duo from a TV show, movie, or book with which the students are familiar. Then, create an attribute web on chart paper for each character, using examples from the TV show, movie, or book. (See the “Attribute Pie” activity sheet for the structure of the web.) List all of the attributes that best describe these best friends.

Teacher Presented Knowledge/I Do

20 Minutes

Next, tell students that you are going to read short scenarios in which friends are the main characters. The job of the class is to identify whether the friends are being good/giving friends and are filling one another’s lives with happiness, or are being bad/taking friends and are tearing each other down. After each scenario is read, pause to ask students whether they think the children are acting as good, giving friends, or bad, taking friends. If they think the students are not being good friends, ask how they can change their behavior or words in order to be good, giving friends. You can use the following scenarios or choose to use scenarios that are more relevant to your class.

Scenario 1:
Two students are eating together at lunch and are chatting. A new student is walking around the cafeteria and doesn’t know where to sit because she doesn’t know anyone yet. The two friends invite the new student to sit with them.

Scenario 2:
Two friends are sitting next to each other while taking a test. One of the friends whispers to the other, asking his friend for the answer to a question. The friend with the answers to the test is not sure how to respond because he doesn’t want to hurt his friend’s feelings or ruin their friendship, but he knows it is wrong to cheat.

Scenario 3:
A boy is playing baseball with his friends. He is at bat, and the pitcher strikes him out. One of his friends who is playing on the opposite team starts teasing him, saying he stinks at baseball.

Scenario 4:
A girl is practicing gymnastics with a friend of hers. She is having a lot of trouble mastering a back handspring. Her friend helps her by walking through the move, step by step, and spotting her as she tries it again and again.

Scenario 5:
A group of friends are playing tag at recess. One boy has been “it” for a long time and is having trouble tagging another child. His friend approaches and allows him to tag her so that he can have a break from being “it.”

Scenario 6:
A girl is excited to wear her new dress to school. When she arrives, she realizes another girl in her class is wearing the same dress. She is a little disappointed to not be the only person wearing the dress, but she compliments the other girl on her style and says that they can be twins for the day.

Scenario 7:
Two boys are playing a math game where they need to race to see who can answer multiplication facts first. One boy is clearly doing a better job and is winning the game. He begins to tease his friend by saying that he isn’t as smart and he needs to go home and practice before he can play the game again with him.

Guided Student Practice/We Do

20 Minutes

Tell students that, often, being a good friend may not come as naturally as they would think. Tell them that being intentional with one’s words and actions is very important. Explain that intentional means that a person thinks about what they say or do beforehand, and then acts in a way that is mindful of others and is thoughtful of how one’s behavior may affect others.

Next, tell the students that they are going to brainstorm ways their good friends are good, giving friends. Tell them about a good friend of yours and make a list of ways your friend “gives happiness” to others. (For example, “My friend is a generous person. When we had only three cookies to share, he gave me two and just took one for himself.”) Then, guide each student to think of a good friend of their own. Have students write the name of the friend and make a list of ways their good friend “gives happiness” to other people. They should be sure to cite an example. As a group, the class will share their results.

Student Independent Practice/You Do

20 Minutes

Have students create attribute webs about their best friends by filling in the premade web on the “Attribute Web” activity sheet. Direct students to not only state their best friend’s attributes but also give an example of how their best friend shows that attribute. Then, have students who would like to share describe their webs to the class. While students share their webs, listen for and jot down common attributes. Conclude the lesson with a discussion about the common qualities found with all of the students’ best friends. Ask students, “What qualities did you find common among all of your best friends?” You may want to chart these similar qualities found among all friends. Vote on the top five attributes that the students find to be the most important.

Ask the class, “Can you be friends with someone who doesn’t like all the same things as you?” After the students share some responses, say, “Friends may change and may even grow apart, but the most important thing is that you always remain a good friend and show those character traits that we all look for in our friends.” Lastly, discuss with the class how it is always good to make new friends, even if a person already has friends.


5 Minutes

To close the lesson, tell students, “Sometimes making new friends is difficult, but the rewards are worth it. It is important that we recognize the qualities we find important in our best friends and emulate those same qualities. To have a friend, you must learn how to be a friend. Even if someone isn’t our best friend, we still need to treat people kindly. We always need to be kind to people and mindful of people’s feelings. When we are kind and include others, we learn more about different people. We may even find that we have a lot of things in common with those people and could end up being friends with them. Making new friends is always a good thing.”

Student Assessment

  1. Why is it important to have friends?
  2. What can you do to be the best friend possible?
  3. What qualities make up a best friend?

Extensions for Lesson 11: Becoming a Good Friend

Art Extension

Have students brainstorm a list of tips for developing friendships. (For example, offer to help someone with their homework, offer a seat at your lunch table.) Divide students into small groups. Have the groups create posters showing a few of these tips. Display the posters around the classroom.

Art Extension

Have students create a “Key to Friendship” bulletin board. Provide students with a key template and, on each template, direct students to write a character trait they feel is critical to being a good friend. Have students decorate the keys and make the bulletin board.

Drama Extension

Have pairs of students plan and present a skit/charade portraying a good friend trait. Then, the classmates will try to guess the trait.

ELA Extension

Have students write about what they think makes someone a good friend.

Literature Extension

Read Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson, to the students. Ask students to listen for the event that caused the “perfect” summer to turn into a not-so-perfect summer. Upon completion, have the class create a cause-and-effect chart listing the effects of Jeremy Ross’s move into the neighborhood, the “enemy pie” plan, and the day the main character spends with Jeremy Ross. Focus the discussion on the lesson the main character learns about friendship by turning his “best enemy” into his best friend. Ask how this happened and direct students to think about their best friends. Ask students, “What makes your ‘best friend’ your best friend? What attributes do best friends possess?” Have the students name characteristics and talk about why those are important traits for friends to have.

Literature Extension

Read The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, to the class. Following the story, ask students to identify and explain who was the “very good friend” (the Giving Tree) and who was the “very bad friend” (the boy). Explain that being a good friend takes time and consideration. To be a good friend, a person must be willing to be “giving”—like the Giving Tree—and fill their friend’s life up with happiness, rather than “taking”—like the boy—and breaking their friend down to pieces.

Activity Sheets

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

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