The Friendship Saver

Shaping Students Templates for Managing Conflict across Their Lifespan

Session samples below but first, a message from the author: 

Two sessions from The Friendship Saver Program have been included below to offer insight into the style, pitch, pace and content of the program. These are 'Session 4: Working in Groups' and 'Session 7: Friendship Styles'.  


What will you notice as you read on?

- Experiential learning

- Student-centered, teacher guided discussions

- Engagement to maximise learning potential


Also, you'll hear my voice in the scripts.  Research suggests that program fidelity (that is, delivering a program as designed in order to acheive intended outcomes) is very much dependent upon two key factors (1) delivering a program while adapting and responding to your students individual needs and (2) delivering the program as designed.  These two goals seem in conflict, but there is a way to find balance.


In order to help with the first goal (adaptability) the program includes guidelines to help educators tweak and shape the program depending on the students age/grade/needs and a schools potential logistical constraints.  In relation to the second goal (delivery as designed), the program manual is intentionally written with scripts, using the same language that we use when we deliver the program to students.  This is designed to provide a clear template that can be matched if desired.  Below you will read scripts that are intended to engage, motivate and relate.  An approachable, high energy delivery style is intended.  

Session 4 - Working in Groups

Purpose: 

- Provide an explicit focused opportunity for the cohort to discuss and begin to practice the skills referred to within the ‘Group Work Skills Tip Sheet’.

- Communicate a shared language, understanding and shared expectations of how to work with others in groups. 

- Build upon students cooperative skills for working with others.


Please Note: This session will require at least 50 minutes to effectively deliver.  


Also, while all 8 group work skills will be mentioned today, you will not have the time to thoroughly discuss each one in detail.  For this session, focus on the skills that seem most relevant to the groups and their experiences today.  There will be many opportunities to discuss the reaming concepts in detail, across the program in the coming weeks.  


Materials Needed: 

- White board and markers

- Poster paper and markers for each group

- Group Work Skills Tip Sheets for each group

- YouTube Footage from Lego or EA Games (OPTIONAL)

- Ribbon and Flips Construction Sheet 1 (OPTIONAL)

- Group Work Skills Tip Sheet Poster (displayed at the completion of the session)


Procedure:

“The Friendship Saver Program is about building your friendship skills, helping you to solve friendship problems, and learning to work well with other people.  Group work is an activity lots of people find particularly difficult. Today, we’re going to work through a series of group work challenges to build your group work skills. This is really important.  Many of the most interesting jobs in the world require people that can work really well in teams and groups.  For example, the company Lego only employ people who know how to work well in teams because every single Lego product that they release has been brainstormed, designed, tested and created by a team.  The high rise buildings in the city, the computer games you love, the bridges you drive over, the cartoons you watch…just about everything has been created by a team.  So, lets learn how to work in groups and teams.”


Please Note: Students might enjoy viewing footage released by LEGO employee’s (see YouTube Title: ‘LIFE at the LEGO Group’.  This footage demonstrates the collaborative team approach that is essential at LEGO.  Older students might appreciate footage regularly uploaded by EA Games on YouTube that demonstrates a team working environment (see YouTube Title: ‘EA’s Quality Engineering Team: Pushing The Boundaries of Our Tools & Technologies!’.  After viewing this footage, ask students what they noticed about the way people worked at Lego/EA Games.  “People weren’t just sitting at desks and working alone.  Employees were mostly discussing ideas, problem solving, brainstorming and making decisions in groups just like us.”


“Shortly you will be given a set of challenges in groups.  For each group challenge that your team achieves, you will receive a set of points. Teams that earn 40 or more points will win a prize for each team member.” 


“When you hear the word ‘ACTION’ you will be required to form a group of 5 and decide on a team name.  Once your group have chosen a name, write it at the top of the poster paper. That’s your first challenge.  You will have only 5 minutes.  We have poster paper and markers for each group at the front.  This first challenge is worth 10 point.  ACTION”.


Please Note: For this particular task, entice groups with a worthy prize to work towards.  This element creates an atmosphere of competition that can raise the stakes and can bring out both the best and worst social skills in your students.  Hence from the beginning, students can gain genuinely wonderful or woful experiences to reflect and build upon. Suggestion: MilkyWay Snack Size Bars are always a hit. 


For this first group challenge, do not provide the students with any hints to help them to work together.  In this first instance, leave them to their own devices.  After 5 minutes, PAUSE the groups.


“Put your hand up if your group agreed on a name?” Notice the number of groups that achieved the first challenge and allocate 10 points to the successful groups for round one.  Write the points on the board, along with each groups name.  Ask the groups to describe how they came to a group decision.  Discuss. Ask groups to describe what strategies that worked well, what was frustrating, any issues and any ideas for working together more effectively.  This first discussion should be lead by the students own experiences and reflections.  Consider weaving ‘Whole Body Listening’ and ‘Active Listening’ into the conversation too.  Indeed, this is an already established skill that would help them in their groups.


“There are a number of facts that are particularly useful to know if you’re working in groups, and want to work together well.  The first fact is this; People often have different opinions and that’s great, it makes for interesting conversations and creative brainstorming.  Don’t expect that everyone in your group will have the same opinion or idea as you.  That would be plain old boring.  Different opinions can help a group to imagine a completely new, fantastic idea that you would never have thought of alone. So, acknowledge and expect that people often have different opinions”.  


Write on the board ‘1. People Often have Different Opinions’.


“In fact, some people wrongly think that you can only be friends with someone if you share the same interests and opinions.  Different opinions make for interesting conversations and are a normal part of friendship.”


“Lets talk about another group work tip. In groups you might also notice that some of you might be most comfortable as talkers, while others are most comfortable as listeners.  In order to get the most ‘creative juice’ out of your groups combined brains, you need to ensure that everyone’s opinion and ideas are heard.  In fact, if your more comfortable as a talker, take it on as your responsibility to help quieter group members to be heard.  You might say “Hey Jo what do you think?”.  


Write on the board ‘2. Everyone’s Opinion Needs to be Heard’.  


“This brings me to a third point - talking over each other will always lead to disaster so, agree to take turns to talk”.  


Write on the board ‘3. Agree to Take Turns to Talk’


Read out the three ideas that you have written on the board, in sequence.  


“Now that you've had a chance to think about what works in groups, what’s important in groups and what doesn’t work in groups, let’s see how you go with challenge number two.  Imagine that an ice-cream factory has approached our class, and wants each group to come up with the most perfect ice-cream dessert that kids would love.  In your team, discuss your ideas and design the most perfect ice-cream dessert idea for the ice-cream factory.  Good luck.  This time you have 6 minutes.” 


Walk around the room and observe the skills, strategies and challenges as they are happening in groups.  If groups are struggling, consider directing them to the first three points on the board, but hold back from offering new skills at this stage.  After 6 minutes, bring the class back together.  At this stage, you might consider informing the teams to be mindful that they still have an opportunity to earn more points in the next challenge, and not to feel stressed if they haven’t achieve this second group challenge.  There is still time to make up points in the last round. 

Ask the groups to raise their hands if they were able to agree upon one fabulous design.  Time permitting, ask the groups to nominate a speaker to stand in front of the class with their design, and describe the idea.  Ensure students are showing respect to their classmates by Whole Body Listening while the speaker is presenting their teams idea.  Allocate 10 points to each group that achieved the challenge.  Record the points on the board, along side group names. 


Ask the groups, “how did your groups function this time around? Did anyone use the tips on the board?” Discuss. If the students are not very forthcoming, discuss your observations as gained while you were walking around the room.  Be specific with examples and ask students to elaborate and reflect.  Be mindful to reference positive observations and unproductive observations in a non-critical, encouraging and helpful tone. 


Now it’s time to add a few more skills to their repertoire. “I have a few more skills to help you with this last final group work challenge.  Number 4, Compromise.” 


Write on the board ‘4. Compromise’


Ask the students to describe what they think this might mean.  Ask students to illustrate their meaning for the word with examples. Compromise can mean many things including; agreeing on a final decision by altering, combining or sacrificing your ideas, or giving up on your idea to join the majority decision.  Try to illustrate this concept to the students with examples. 


“There are four more skills and strategies to think about when working in groups.  

It can be helpful to have a conversation in your group to discuss and decide how your group will make decisions.  Voting can be a helpful strategy.  Have any of the groups used this strategy today?  Why is voting a common strategy when working in groups?” Discuss.


Write the fifth, sixths, seventh and eighth tip on the board in succession, reading them out as you write. Provide examples along the way and expand where necessary. 


“Now for your final group challenge.  This challenge is worth 30 points.  For your last challenge you need to design a mascot to help sell your ice-cream creation to kids.  Lots of products have a mascot.  MacDonald’s has Ronald MacDonald, Duracell batteries have the Duracell Bunny,  Toys R Us have Geoffrey the Giraffe and Nintendo have used Mario since 1981!”  Consider showing images of each Brand Mascot for visual interest.  The time left for this last group challenge will depend on how much time is left within the session.  Distribute a Group Work Skills Tip Sheet to each group and ask them to use it to help them achieve the final challenge.  


At the conclusions of the challenge, ask each group to display their poster paper at the front of the room so they can all be viewed.  Each group that has produced a mascot of some sort receives 30 points.  


You might offer the class some feedback from your observations.  Hopefully you can draw example and comparisons, highlighting observed improvements across the course of the session.  Remind the students that working in groups is difficult, and can take time to master.  Inform students that they will be able to use the Group Work Skills Tip Sheets in all group work activities from now on, to help them to become ‘super awesome’ in groups.  “At least with these skills, each of you could apply for a job at Lego when you finish high school, if you wanted to!”


Display the Group Work Skills Tip Sheet Poster in the classroom. 


Highly Recommended: Consider using the Group Work Skills Tip Sheet across the whole curriculum, during all group work activities. 


Session 7 - Friendship Styles

Purpose

- Develop a language for talking about friendships and conflicts.

- Develop an understanding of friendship group dynamics.


Materials Needed: 

- Play dough (3 different colours; 1 green and 2 other colours)

- Green cardboard for the leaf template, and 1 additional piece of coloured cardboard for the Tribal Group Template. (See Digital Resource CD, ‘Friendship Styles Template’)(Cr**)

- White board and white board markers

-  Ribbon and Flips Construction Sheet 1 (OPTIONAL)

Create group work packs for today’s group work activity.  Each pack should include: 

  • Group Work Skills Tip Sheet
  • Coloured Markers

 -  All three Friendship Styles Advantages and Disadvantages worksheets (See Digital Resource CD, ‘Friendship Styles Activity’ (Cr**)

-    1 ball of coloured play dough (OPTIONAL)


Procedure:

Review and Reflect: “Today, a lot of the friendship problems that you mentioned in our first week will begin to make sense as we unravel the friendship styles!”


Standing at the front of the room, take the green play dough out of its container and mould the play dough as you talk to the students; 

“There are three different friendship styles.  One style is a type of friend that mainly likes to have only one other best friend.  They like to share all of their secrets with that one other person, they like to play with that one other person all the time, and they don’t really like being separated.  This friendship style is called the Pea in a Pod Style”.  


As you say ‘Pea in a Pod’, plonk the two peas onto the green leaf and hold it up to the students to show the two peas in the pod.  “This may be you, or you may know other people who like this style”. 


Take a different coloured clump of play dough and form several small balls, placing them together on a piece of coloured card and say “‘the second style is the Tribal Friendship Style.  People who like this style tend to play together in a big group.  They might sit and chat in a big group, play large group games, and hang out all together.”  


Take the last coloured clump of play dough and mould into a ball; 

“The other style is the friend who doesn’t necessarily like to play with anyone in particular.  Sometimes they might play by themselves, sometimes they might play in a big group, and sometimes they might play with two peas in a pod.”  Bounce the ball of play dough from place to place while describing this.  “This is the Bouncy Ball Friendship Style”. 

“Put your hand up if you know people in each of these styles.  Some people like one style in particular, some people have different styles on different days, or will use one style one year, and a different style the next year”.  


“None of these styles are better than the other, they’re all different; and in fact they all have their problems”

Use the play dough to demonstrate the issues that are commonly experienced within each friendship style.  Here are some examples;   
“The tribal friends have big games and big fun, but that can lead to big fights. 

The two peas in a pod like their cosy friendship, but if one of the peas invites someone else to play with them (like a bouncy ball), the other pea might not be as happy, and this can cause fights. In this example, one of the friends is a little more pea in the pod style than the other friend - leading to their problem. 

The bouncy ball may have fewer fights because they move around and spend time with lots of different friends at different times, but sometimes, groups might not let them join in, and that can be a problem. These are just some of the issues that can occur in each of these friendship styles.” 


Please Note: The following notions are important to consistently reinforce;  

  1. None of the styles are better or worse than the other
  2. Friendship styles are not fixed in the way that star signs are fixed.  People have a choice and they can change styles if they want to try something different.  


So you see, there are three different friendship styles and they each have different types of friendships problems.”  
“I’d like people to get into groups and collect a group pack.  The pack includes a group skills tip sheet, play dough to experiment with, markers and three worksheets.  You need to work together to talk about the friendship styles and record the advantages and disadvantages of each friendship style, on each sheet. 


Please Note: Groups work independently; Facilitators assist minimally and direct students to the group work skills tip sheet if they encounter issues. 


At the conclusion of the session all students come together on the floor to discuss the ideas that they generated in their groups. 

Work through one friendship style at a time, asking students to describe the advantages and disadvantages that they discussed.  Encourage students to provide examples only if they can be sensitive and respectful of others.  That means, don’t talk about a friendship situation or students from the class.   Use stories from outside of school, with unidentifiable false names only. 


“Over the next week, think about the friendship styles you’ve tried.  The best thing to know is that friendship styles are not like star signs, your not locked into a style.  You might have a different preference at different times of your life, different times of the year, or different days of the week.  The great thing is, now that you know about the different styles, you might like to try them.  

Also, by looking at the friendship styles, we’ve learnt a bit about why some conflicts happen. Next week we’ll look at the drama triangle and that will explain why friendship dramas happen to you!  This can be life changing! See you then.”