I always start the beginning of the school year in a positive way with lots of friendship, anti-bullying, and social emotional activities. These types of activities not only set the tone for a great year by helping to build a family like atmosphere these lessons also include team building elements and they are perfect for reinforcing classroom expectations in terms of how we treat one another inside and outside the classroom.
The last friendship lesson I did with my group went awesome! I set up the lesson by giving each student an envelope with their name on it that contained 5 flower petals. We then went outside and all of the students sat in a circle on the field. Each student passed their envelope to the student to the left, that student then opened the envelope, took out one petal, and wrote one compliment to the original owner of the envelope. After everyone had written one compliment students then passed the envelope to the left again and everyone then removed one petal from the new envelope and write a positive comment to that student too. Students need to continue passing the envelopes to the left until all 5 petals in each envelope has a compliment. (The envelopes need to be passed to the left around the circle 5 times).
Afterwards, we went back to the classroom and students got to ensemble their flowers. Students used construction paper to make clouds, grass, leaves and a flower stem to decorate around their flower.
This is the third group that I have done this activity with and it is always exciting to see the student's faces light up when they read all of the anonymous compliments. I would recommend this activity for any class even high school kids would benefit from this activity! Check out my Friendship Unit and my Social Emotional Unit for more creative lessons on the topic of kindness, friendship, and self esteem.