What’s exactly National Friendship Day? Through a congressional proclamation in 1935, the first Sunday in August celebrates the value that friends have in our lives. Friends share in joys, sorrows, and encourage or check you whenever you need them. They share snacks in the cafeteria, invite you to birthday parties, room with you in college, or take part in special ceremonies like weddings and graduations. Time, distance, and life circumstances don’t change the impact true friends have on your life, and developing a friend-building culture in the classroom is a starting force that makes all of these things possible. Whether you’re back in the swing of things or are prepping for those first few days of school, here’s come friendship-related books to share with your children in the classroom or at home.
Aggie and Ben: Three Stories is a collection of stories written by Lori Ries about Ben and the love he has for his pet, Aggie. The book covers the many adventures they have together, including Ben choosing Aggie, the trouble Aggie gets into, and a scary time in Ben’s room. This one is perfect for beginning readers, and you can have students write or talk about a fun time with their pet or with one they know. Another option is for them to write about a class pet (if you have one) and an adventure they’d like to have with them.
Mari Kesselring’s Fitness Crash approaches the complex issue of barriers to maintaining healthy friendships. Bridget buys a new fitness gadget to help her become better prepared for her soccer team after a disappointing first practice. This quest for fitness becomes an obsession, pushing Emma, a dear friend, away by alienating her. After several concerns from loved ones and an embarrassing event while on a run, Bridget realizes that she has to focus on running her race and not compare herself to other people as well as value the concerns loved ones have about our well being. This book has discussion questions and writing prompts teachers can use at the end. Recommended for upper elementary and middle school students, students can have discussions on healthy ways of resolving conflict within the classroom and among others as a part of establishing a healthy classroom.
The short novel Fouling Out, written by Gregory Walters, has many issues that many high school students can ponder on. Best friends since second grade, Tom and Craig find themselves becoming less alike each day. Tom finds himself getting into more trouble these days while Craig is discovering his knack for excelling academically. It wasn’t until the blinders are removed through a series of events that Craig realizes the meaning of friendship and how it changes over time.
These are only a few that you can check out in Big Universe’s 11,000+ library. How do you cultivate a culture of friendship in your class? Share your experiences below.