Being accepted by peers and fitting in is important for many middle school students. The friendships established in middle school can have an impact on a preteen's values and decisions. There is a wide array of middle school counseling activities that pertain to friendships and obtaining positive relationships with peers.
Plan an activity where the entire class creates a friendship chain. Pass out three strips of paper to each student, and ask each person to write one positive characteristic of friendship on each strip of paper. Examples of characteristics can include trustworthy, supportive, honest and funny. Staple or tape each strip of paper together, creating a chain of words. Hang this chain on the wall or around the bulletin board in the classroom so that students can easily view the positive words. As a group, discuss the characteristics of friendship and allow students to make comments or ask questions.
Facilitate a lesson in which all students create friendship advertisements. Assign each student a partner, or ask each student to choose a partner for this activity. Instruct students to create a poster or skit that will market their partner's friendship. For example, one student may create a poster that depicts all of the good qualities of his partner. The poster may be a drawing of a person laughing to illustrate humor or a magazine clipping of two boys giving each other a high five to illustrate teamwork. The objective is for the class to identify what friendship qualities their classmates possess.
Plan an activity in which the entire classroom creates a graffiti wall. Choose a location, such as a blank wall or bulletin board in the classroom. Explain to the preteens that the wall will portray anything positive regarding relationships and friendships. Students could post quotes regarding friendships, photographs of classmates, drawings or even short stories written by the preteens. This activity could be an ongoing project for the entire school year, and the wall will be a constant reminder of the importance of positive relationships.
Lead a classroom discussion regarding friendships. Group discussion is a way for preteens to not only get to know each other but also to gain a better understanding of other's thoughts and opinions. Ask the group questions such as "How important are friends to you?" "Are friends more important in middle school than they were in elementary school?'" or "How do you tell the difference between false friends and true friends?"
Brooke Williams is a freelance writer living in Alabama. She is a former education and government reporter at a daily newspaper and has been writing since 2003. Williams received her journalism degree from Auburn University. She has written for "Health for Alabama" and "Health for Tennessee" magazines.