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Unit 1: My friends - Teacher's notes

Interactive case study (flash)
Online activities (flash)
  1. What makes a good friend
  2. You Need A Friend
Activity sheets (pdf)
  1. All about my friend
  2. What Makes A Good Friend
Certificate (pdf)
  1. Create certificate
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Tommy's parents separated when he was very young and he has difficulties building relationships. Children learn about interacting with their peers and what makes a good friend. Includes a story-writing activity and a survey.

Quick links


  • To help children identify helpful ways of interacting with their peers and making friends
  • To consider what makes a good friend
  • To understand the support children can receive from a good friend when things in their own lives are difficult
  • To understand the impact that problems at home can have on a child when at school
  • To understand the work of The Children's Society

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Curriculum links

Key Stage 2 Citizenship and PSHE

  • Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities - 1a,1b,1d
  • Preparing to play an active role as citizens - 2c,2f
  • Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people - 4a,4c,4d,4g
  • Breadth of opportunities - 5b,5h

Every Child Matters

  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Make a positive contribution


  • Managing feelings
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

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Lesson plan

Using the case study materials

The case study features Tommy, whose parents separated when he was still very young. Tommy went to live with his father. He has serious trouble forming and maintaining relationships, and his view at the beginning of the case study is that he has to be 'hard' to make friends. Dealing with his anger is a big issue. He is persuaded to join a group at school that aims to help children like Tommy make positive friendships. He makes a good friend who doesn't like fighting and his behaviour improves, as does his understanding of the skills needed to form and maintain friendships.

  • Share the story with the whole class. After the first showing ask the children to retell Tommy's story in their own words.
  • At the end of the case study, on-screen questions prompt the children to consider what they think makes a good friend.
  • Use the discussion questions below to help the children focus on the types of behaviour they think are most helpful in friendships. Do they know what makes a good friend?

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Suggested questions for discussion

  1. How did Tommy think he needed to act to make friends?
  2. What do you think Tommy meant and felt when he said that he used to 'walk around with a frown on his face'?
  3. Why do you think Tommy used to get into fights with his school mates?
  4. What was it that helped Tommy to see that acting 'hard' was not helpful in friendships?
  5. How did Tommy's behaviour change after he'd attended the club at school?
  6. At the end of the story Tommy says, 'I walk around with a smile on my face.' Why do you think this is and how do you think he feels?

Suggested follow up activity

  • Write a poem for a friend
  • Make a poster for the class about what makes a good friend
  • Create a friendship charter
  • Make a card thanking your friend and telling them the reasons why they are a good friend to you

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Online activity 1: What makes a good friend?

  • A list of statements is provided for the children to sort into two sets - 'a good friend would...' and 'a good friend wouldn't...'.
  • They drag and drop the statements into the most appropriate set.
  • Encourage the children to discuss their choices and to reach a consensus where possible.  However, there are bound to be differences of opinion and this is an opportunity to explain to the children that an important aspect of managing relationships with their friends is to accept that we are all entitled to an opinion, and that the views of others are valid - even if you don't agree with them.

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Online activity 2: You need a friend

The children are given a set of pictures from which to choose in order to write a story called 'You need a friend.' They drag and drop one of the pictures onto the writing scaffold and create their own story. The story can then be printed out.

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Activity sheet 1: All about my friend

This sheet is designed to support the children in thinking about the unique characteristics of a good friend and to record what they enjoy doing together. The children should work with a friend. Each of them has an activity sheet. They can then compare their answers.

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Activity sheet 2: What makes a good friend?

This sheet can be used to record the results of a class, year group, key stage or even a whole school about what the children believe makes a good friend. They are reminded that not everyone will have the same opinion. There is room on the sheet for children to write other comments of their own.

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Extension ideas

  • Arrange children in groups to role play Tommy's story.
  • Ask children to extend the story they wrote in Online activity 2: You need a friend. Perhaps Tommy could be depicted as the helpful friend, lending support in a time of need.
  • Older or more able children could analyse the results of the survey (Activity sheet 2: What makes a good friend?) and enter the results into a spreadsheet.
  • Ask children to create a storyboard depicting a group of friends working together to solve a problem.
  • Challenge the children to find out more about the work of The Children's Society and ask them to prepare a short talk to present to another class.

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Assembly ideas

  • The activities in this unit could make a valuable and interesting contribution to an assembly about friendship. The children could act out a short scene about Tommy and/or a time in their own lives when they needed a friend. You could share a story book about friendship and take the opportunity to reinforce your school ethos on working co-operatively and considering others.
  • You could create a 'Charter of Friendship' there and then with the year group or key stage. If you are able to use an interactive whiteboard during the assembly, you could share the case study about Tommy and then ask for the children's ideas about what they think makes a good friend. You could engage the help of a confident writer to make a list of the children's suggestions on a flip chart. The list could then be typed up, illustrated and displayed in a prominent position in the school.

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When you have completed this My Life unit with your pupils, you can access a certificate from the Activity sheets box at the top of this page. You can type in the name of each student and print the personalised certificates. No names will be stored by us.

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