Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Making New Friends in the New Year

Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Making New Friends in the New Year
A Quick and Easy Game To Make New Friends When Your Students Are Getting On Each Others' Nerves

How is your week going? Is everyone getting along in centers? Does everyone get to lunch without touching each other? Are you spending time asking them to stop tattling? How about your paperwork? Are you getting all your documentation done because your students are as good as gold and staying on task?

Probably not! 

The biggest complaint right now on Facebook, ProTeacher and other teacher support forums, is that during this time of year, boys and girls are tired, grumpy, mean and disrespectful to each other. It is crunch time, teachers are trying to cram and review for unfair early testing. {Don't get me started on being tested for a "year's worth of growth" in February! You haven't even had them for one half of a year!} Students have been together since August, like a family stuck indoors on the third snow day, they are rubbing each other the wrong way.
Here is a quick and easy tip to help them make new friends and find some common interests. It will take no time away from your instructional time, I promise!

When going to recess, have everyone line up in two lines, boys and girls, in random order. In third grade I would have to use my old standby line, "I'm not asking you to get married, just to stand next to each other." If you have more of one or the other, match up two boys at the end or two girls, etc.

Walk out to the playground but before they play, they must take turns telling each other three interesting facts about themselves.

Fern: I have five dogs.
Michelle: I have two dogs and two cats.
Fern: I'm allergic to cats.
Michelle: I'm allergic to milk.
Fern: I can't wait to see the Paddington movie.
Michelle: I saw it last night, it was so good.....  

It should take no longer than one or two minutes and no one is allowed to go on the playground until the teacher dismisses them. This causes them to not rush and then run off before their partner is done, helping with manners too.
Instead of saying three things and the other student says three things, going turn by turn helps the children to make connections with each other. Some students may have a hard time thinking of three things, but something the other student says will help them with their next thought. Some days, they will go to the playground and continue to play with their group of friends, but lots of times this helps children, especially the shy ones, make new friends and include other students into their games.

Do this every day until you feel that it is helping. When your class wises up and they try to line up facing a friend, let the line get settled and move one person from the middle to the front, mixing up all the partners. Tell the class, this is a chance to meet somebody new, if they get a person they have already shared their facts with, tell them to pick three new facts.

If things are going smoothly in your classroom right now, put this in your bag of tricks for when Spring Fever hits, the End of the Year Excitement or the Beginning of the Year Stampede!
 Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Making New Friends in the New Year
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