Spring 2007

Friendship Enhancement Group

1

Group Counseling: Teaching Social Skills to Enhance Friendships in Middle School Students Emily Worsnopp The purpose of this group is to help middle school sixth and seventh grade students with poor friendship skills learn specific social skills to improve peer relationships. Group topics include identifying positive friendship qualities, learning skills to enhance conversation abilities, recognizing the importance of body language in communication, and learning how to effectively solve friendship problems. Students are referred by teachers via a form provided by the School Counselor or through discussion at a student’s CSE meeting, and the group is appropriate for those who have few friends, are shy or withdrawn or who display inappropriate social skills that hinder friendship development. The group is formatted to be held in five 30-minute sessions, and each group is designed for approximately six students. Offering a small group to enhance the friendship skills of middle school students is important for a variety of reasons. At this stage, friendships may be especially significant to a healthy social development because adolescents frequently look to their friends to fulfill their emotional needs as well as to practice their socialization skills (Lefrancois, 1999, p. 348). Students lacking this social network thus may not have the necessary opportunities to learn how to best interact with their peers. Furthermore, adolescents who are unable to develop quality friendships experience heightened anxiety about school (Sunwolf & Leets, 2004, p. 196). There also is evidence that inclusion in a healthy peer group predicts academic success for sixth and eighth grade students (Wentzel & Caldwell, 1997, p. 1206). School counselors are in a position

.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 2 to help improve the academic and social success of students who have difficulties making and maintaining positive peer relationships by designing a group to teach them specific social skills that they can use to improve peer interactions and enhance friendships.

Materials: 1 skein of yarn.) Discussion: Have students continue to talk about friendship qualities. and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others. Have the student pass the ball of yarn to another student to continue the “web” until everyone has identified one quality that is important to her or him. Objective: Students will be able to identify friendship qualities and discuss basic friendship concepts. Procedure: Ice Breaker Activity: The Spider Web • Begin by explaining that the group will be doing an activity to get them thinking about what friendship means to them. etc. reliant upon many parts. Some questions to ask include: • Is your view of friendship the same as everyone else in the group? What is different? • Why is a certain quality more important to you than others? • Are there different ways to act with different friends? (ex: acquaintances. • Give the ball of yarn to one student and ask him or her to name one quality that they consider as important in a friendship.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group Teaching Social Skills to Enhance Friendship Session 2: What Does it Mean to Be a Friend? 3 Author: Emily Worsnopp Grade Level: 6/7 Group Size: 5 students Time: 30 minutes Setting: Small office (counseling office or conference room) with chairs set up in a circle Goal: ASCA Personal/Social Standard A: Students will acquire the knowledge. Before “cleaning up” web connect the image of a web to friendship (interconnected. Have students pay attention to interactions . attitudes. close friends) • What are some easy/difficult things about maintaining friendships? • Do they have friends that have some of these qualities? • What do they think makes them a good friend? Homework: Introduce the idea of homework and explain its purpose in helping to transfer the things discussed in the group to their everyday life.

C. M.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 4 that they have with their peers until the next session. . New York: New York State School Counselor Association. (2004). What friendship qualities do they already exhibit? Are they happy with their friendships? What is missing (from what they do and from what others do) Have students write self observations down and keep observations in friendship folder to discuss at next meeting. Ice Breaker Activity adapted from: Hulse. New York State school counselor association comprehensive school counseling program: Middle level activity book (pp. 8889). Evaluation: Students evaluated based upon their ability to identify and discuss friendship skills. Lesson 38: The spider web.

Examples might include meeting a new person. attitudes. • Ask student to discuss what is scary/easy about starting new conversations. Materials: Conversation and Listening Skills worksheet Procedure: Follow-Up on Homework Discussion: • Begin by having students discuss reactions to homework from previous week.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group Teaching Social Skills to Enhance Friendship Session 3: Conversation and Listening Skills 5 Author: Emily Worsnopp Grade Level: 6/7 Group Size: 5 students Time: 30 minutes Setting: Small office (counseling office or conference room) with chairs set up in a circle Goals: ASCA Personal/Social Standard A: Students will acquire the knowledge. Encourage all students to participate. • Pass out “Conversation skills and Listening Skills” worksheet and discuss. and what is challenging for them about having conversations. continue and end conversations for success. and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others. • Have group members role play conversation skills (ask for volunteers). NYS CDOS Standard 3a: Universal Foundation Skills NYS ELA Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction NYS Arts Standard 1: Creating. . Transition to new Lesson: Expanding your social network and communicating effectively with others: • Begin by discussing why being able to effectively start conversations and communicate with others is essential to developing successful relationships. Performing and Participating in the Arts Objective: Students will be able to effectively initiate and maintain a conversation and understand how conversation skills are important to friendship development and maintenance. • What did they discover? How did interactions with peers make them feel? How do they feel about their current friendships? • Have students name one of the qualities identified in Session 2 that they exhibited. Ask members to come up with situations that might be challenging for them. especially with new people. asking for help. It is important to know how to start. pairing up with someone for a class project.

Austin. Have them write down the results of the conversation. about the interaction.Spring 2007 • Friendship Enhancement Group 6 Have student reflect on role-play. & Waskman. D. TX:Pro-Ed. 31-35). Session adapted from: Waksman. The waksman social skills curriculum for adolescents: An assertiveness behavior program (4th ed. Conversation Skills. including how they felt. Evaluation: Students are evaluated based upon their contributions to the group and their ability to demonstrate effective communication skills. (1998). D. S. .) (pp. How did it feel to be the one initiating the conversation? Responding? Homework: • Ask students to initiate at least one conversation with a new peer over the next week.

Close conversation appropriately. Get your point across without interrupting. Make eye contact. Ask questions about things that interest the other person. Listen and respond actively.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 7 Name: ______________________________ Conversation and Listening Skills Approach with confidence. Focus on the person talking. (“It’s been nice talking”. “See you later”)        .

82). p. & Evans. Rules for listening. Connecting with others: Lessons for teaching social and emotional competence. 82. Champaign.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 8 Worksheet adapted from: Richardson. T. (1996). IL: Research Press. grades 6-8 (p. . E. R. C.

• Have students get into pairs. and encourage students to have fun with it. One person should talk and the other should demonstrate body language “don’ts”.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group Teaching Social Skills to Enhance Friendship Session 4: Understanding Body Language 9 Author: Emily Worsnopp Grade Level: 6/7 Group Size: 5 students Time: 30 minutes Setting: Small office (counseling office or conference room) with chairs set up in a circle Goals: ASCA Personal/Social Standard A: Students will acquire the knowledge. Have partners switch roles but now have the listener demontrate body language “dos”. Were they able to initate conversations? What was difficult about it? What was easy? Did they learn anything? Transition to new topic: • Explain the importance of body language for communicating. After each group has gone have students go around the room and discuss behaviors that they noticed and how it made them feel (as the listener and talker). especially the “don’ts” category. Materials: Body Language in Communication handout Procedure: Homework Review: • Use the “go around” method and ask students to share conversation experiences. • Did members notice any ways that they (or others) use body language effectively in the . and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others. NYS CDOS Standard 3a: Universal Foundation Skills NYS ELA Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction NYS Arts Standard 1: Creating. Practice body language styles on sheet. Performing and Participating in the Arts Objective: Students will be able to effectively demonstrate and describe positive and negative body language and relate these skills to friendship enhancement. have student briefly talk about any topic. One pair at a time. • Pass out Body Language in Communication worksheet and discuss body language “dos” and “don’ts” and review worksheet. attitudes.

Adapted from: Brigman. (2001). 167-168). & Goodman. Weston Walch. ME: J. G. How can body language impact friendship? Evaluation: Students are evaluated based upon their ability to effectively describe and demonstrate appropriate and negative body language and discuss the importance of body language to friendship enhancement. B. .Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 10 group? Go around and ask people how they think their body language impacts how peers view them. Communicating with body language. E. Group Counseling for School Counselors: A Practical Guide (pp. Portland.

we need to be able to tune into body language and tone of voice.  23% of our communication is through our tone of voice. We need to pay attention to how we say things as well as what we say. too far (more than five feet) . Behavior expresses meaning.Spring 2007 Name: ______________________________ Friendship Enhancement Group 11 Body Language in Communication The communication process is nonverbal as well as verbal. rigid. sarcastic frown. jittery.  7% of what we communicate is through our words. sometimes more clearly than words. yawn. Did you know:  70% of our communication comes through our body language. scowl. gruff tone. Dos Eyes Voice (volume) Voice (tone) Facial expressions Posture Movement Distance good eye contact loud enough to be heard clearly tone communicates understanding matches your own or other’s feeling. relaxed toward arm’s length Don’ts Stare. slouching. glare. sigh. To be effective in our relationships with others. crossing arms away too close (less than 2 feet). blank look leaning away. no eye contact too soft or loud disinterested. smile leaning forward slightly.

. E. G. ME: J. B. Portland.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 12 Adapted from: Brigman. Weston Walch. & Goodman. 167-168). Communicating with body language. Group Counseling for School Counselors: A Practical Guide (pp. (2001).

• After a situation has been established. Procedure: • Explain to students that sometimes. even with good friends. have the participants and group members discuss if the scenario worked. After role plays. Termination: • Use the “go around” method to have each participant talk about what they feel that they . • Pass out Problem Solving Steps worksheet and explain that there are specific steps that people can take to solve a problem with friends. NYS CDOS Standard 3a: Universal Foundation Skills NYS ELA Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction NYS Arts Standard 1: Creating. attitudes. Using these problems can help to alleviate stress and avoid more difficult situations with friends in the future. To help with choosing the best solution. ASCA Personal/Social Standard B: Students will make decisions. Materials: Problem Solving Steps worksheet for each student. work with students to help them see how they can use the problem solving steps to solve problems with their friends. have students discuss them and role play some possible solutions. • Ask students to volunteer a situation (real or imaginary) that demonstrates a problem that friends can experience.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group Teaching Social Skills to Enhance Friendship Session 5: Problem Solving and Termination 13 Author: Emily Worsnopp Grade Level: 6-8 Group Size: 5-7 students Time: 30 minutes Setting: Small office (counseling office or conference room) with chairs set up in a circle Goals: ASCA Personal/Social Standard A: Students will acquire the knowledge. Easel or white/blackboard and markers/chalk for brainstorming activity. we can encounter conflicts with our friends that might be difficult to solve. set goals and take necessary actions to achieve goals. and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others. Performing and Participating in the Arts Objective: Students will be able to identify problem solving steps and apply them effectively to solve interpersonal conflicts. or how a better solution can be reached.

Adapted from: Forth. S. . New York: New York State School Counselor Association. 73-75). Have they made progress with making and keeping friendships? What has been useful to them? How confident are they feeling about being able to use the skills in the group to help improve their friendships in the future? Evaluation: Students are evaluated based upon their ability to apply problem solving techniques to role play exercises. (2004). Lesson 32: What is a healthy choice? New York State school counselor association comprehensive school counseling program: Middle level activity book (pp.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 14 are best taking away from the group.

5: Put the solution into action! If appropriate. practice the solution with someone else before hand. . Ask yourself “What could happen if I did this?” Think about how each solution impacts you and others. 2: Think of ALL possible solutions. 3: Think about the consequences of each possible solution. or talk them out with someone. Write them down if you can.Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 15 Problem Solving Steps 1: Identify the problem. 4: Choose the best solution.

73-75).Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 16 Adapted from: Forth. S. (2004). New York: New York State School Counselor Association. . Lesson 32: What is a healthy choice? New York State school counselor association comprehensive school counseling program: Middle level activity book (pp.

167-168). C. S. New York: New York State School Counselor Association. S. Belmont. Lesson 38: The spider web. (2004). The Lifespan (6th ed. Lesson 32: What is a healthy choice? New York State school counselor association comprehensive school counseling program: Middle level activity book (pp. (1998). Richardson. grades 6-8 (p.Spring 2007 References Friendship Enhancement Group 17 Brigman. & Waskman. D. Lefrancois. Group Counseling for School Counselors: A Practical Guide (pp. Champaign. New York: New York State School Counselor Association. Forth. 82). D. Waksman. 82. 88-89). ME: J. (2001). & Evans. Being left out: Rejecting outsiders and communicating group boundaries in childhood and adolescent peer groups. Portland. M. The waksman social skills . Sunwolf & Leets. T. CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Conversation Skills. Connecting with others: Lessons for teaching social and emotional competence. Journal of Applied Communication Research. & Goodman. R. C. R. G. p. G. (2004).). Weston Walch. L. E. (2004). 73-75). 32(3). B. E. Communicating with body language. 195-223. (1999). Hulse. New York State school counselor association comprehensive school counseling program: Middle level activity book (pp. Rules for listening. IL: Research Press. (1996).

Spring 2007 Friendship Enhancement Group 18 curriculum for adolescents: An assertiveness behavior program (4th ed. Wentzel. and group membership: Relations to academic achievement in middle school. peer acceptance.) (pp. 31-35). K. Child Development. Friendships. R. K. . TX:Pro-Ed. 68(6). (1997). & Caldwell. 11981209. Austin.

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