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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Friendship Bugs

I tend to do a "bug" unit every year with my younger students; especially the boys ~ they love it! For this lesson I first read the book How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson with the students. We discuss all the different things that the children did such as not sharing, throwing tantrums, etc and how that would effect your friendships.

I then begin a lesson called "Friendship Bugs" that I adapted from a lesson in Creative Small Groups For Grades K-5 by Marco (by they way they have the BEST customer service! Love them!) I scatter some plastic bugs  and pencils with bugs on them from the Dollar Tree Store on the table to sort of set the mood. :) I found a bunch of different bug cutouts online that I photocopied on to construction paper that I also lay out on the table. I then instruct the students to select 2 different bugs that they would like to work with and have them begin cutting them out.
My "What's Bugging You" Jar that I keep the plastic bugs in.
Assorted plastic bugs from the Dollar Tree Store.
As the students are cutting out their bugs I begin to explain the rest of the lesson. We talk about different things that others do that "bug" or bother us. For example: tattling, being bossy, teasing, laughing at others mistakes, name calling, being a copycat, breaking promises, whining, and so on. I write all of the ideas that the students come up with on the white board so they can easily refer back to them later. Now I have the students write at least 5 things that "bug" them on the bug they recently cut out. The students then paste their bugs on a piece of construction paper and I print on the top "Things that BUG me."

The next time I meet with the students we work on the next half of the lesson. I print ahead of time on the backside of their construction paper "Things I do that might BUG someone". I review what we did last week when we brainstormed all the different things that "bug" them and begin to talk about how we also do things that may "bug" or bother others. I start the conversation by expressing how even I do things that would bothers others and then give a suggestion. This generally starts the conversation going and I begin writing their ideas on the whiteboard. For some students I definitely need to lead the conversation a bit while they are brainstorming because they are unable to self-reflective. I have students write at least 3 things that they may do that "bug" others (as this is a more difficult skill to self reflect I only require 3 ideas instead of the previous 5). The students then paste their bug on the construction paper labeled "Things I do that might BUG someone else".

We then have a nice conversation about how we can apply what we just worked on in their everyday lives at school. Such as trying to be a little more aware of how their actions can impact others. I usually do this lesson with students in grades 1-3 however I have also done this with some upper elementary school students that are on the spectrum.

This is my lesson plan for the Friendship Bugs lesson.

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  1. Thanks so much!
    I hope you can utilize this lesson with your students!

  2. I can see using this activity with some of my 4th/5th graders too! I love that book and so do my students. :)

    1. yeah I just did it with a 5th grade boy a couple weeks ago.

  3. Fabulous concept!! Definitly going to use in 2nd!!

    1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I am so glad you found an idea you can use with your students! :)

  4. I really love this idea. What a great way to enforce community building that first week of school. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I'm thinking this might be better for 2nd grade and up, have you used it successfully with 1st grade?

    Thanks for a great idea I will surely steal :-)

  6. Hi Shaina - I have used this activity with 1st graders before. I think it works best with 2nd and 3rd graders though, it really just depends on your students though.
    Thanks for visiting my blog! I am so glad you were able to get some ideas to incorporate in working with students at your school.
    - Cheryl