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Teacher Lesson Return to "What’s a Real Friend?"
What’s a Real Friend?
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning
When to End It with a Friend

Story Summary: The writer’s new friend, Margot, starts a false rumor that she wasn’t there for a mutual friend in need. The writer stands up to Margot, puts a stop to the rumors, and learns that some friendships aren’t worth keeping.

Lesson Objectives and Common Core Connections
• Students make personal connections to a text and successfully participate in story-based activities and discussions.
• Students will read and comprehend literary nonfiction proficiently (CCLS R.10).
• Students will write routinely over extended and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences (CCLS W.10).

Before Reading the Story (10 min)
This opening activity will activate background knowledge to boost reading comprehension and set the emotional tone for the story.

1. Welcome students to the group. Introduce the lesson by telling them you will be reading a true story by a teen who learns when to end a friendship.

2. Introduce the freewrite activity by explaining that students will have about four minutes to respond to a prompt in writing. The goal is to express their thoughts freely without worrying about writing conventions. The expectation is that everyone writes, without stopping, for the full time. (Note: writing lists and/or drawing with labels are modifications that support diverse learners.)

3. Share the following quote, lifted from L.I.’s story: “A true friend is someone who helps you out when you need it, accepts you the way you are, and loves you for you.”

4. Then share the freewrite prompt: “Consider the writer’s definition of a ‘friend’ and think about what you would include in your own definition. Write or draw your response to the following statement: A friend is also someone who…”

5. After students have completed the freewrite, transition to a pair share. Students should select a partner or turn to the person next to them.

6. Facing each other and practicing active listening, partners each take a turn sharing parts of their responses that they feel comfortable sharing. The listener should not respond, but should actively listen to the speaker. You can use a timer or wait until the hum of conversation dies down before closing the activity.

7. Thank students for sharing their connections.

During Reading (20 min)
By practicing active reading strategies while reading aloud and discussing as a group, students build comprehension and support fluency.

1. Introduce the story (see the summary above).

2. Share the expectations for a group read-aloud: volunteers take turns reading aloud as much or as little as they would like. As the group leader, you may stop periodically to discuss or check in on active reading by asking students to share their responses to the story.

3. Tell students they will practice an active reading strategy called reading for a purpose. This will help them read for a purpose and be prepared to use the text in later activities.

4. Reading for a purpose directions: Ask students to read for moments in the text when someone in the story talks or behaves in a way that shows they’re a “real” friend. When this occurs in the text, students should place a check mark (✔) in the margins of the story. Then ask them to read for moments in the text when someone in the story talks or behaves in a way that shows they aren’t a “real” friend. When this occurs, students should place an X in the margins of the story.

5. While sitting in a circle, read the story aloud together. Stop to discuss periodically, supporting peer-to-peer talk and non-judgmental listening. To do this, ask for volunteers to share what they wrote a check mark (✔) next to and what they put an X next to and why. Alternately, you can pose an open question such as “What stands out to you in this section and why?”

6. Next, ask the group to further consider these questions:
• In what ways do you think the writer showed she was a good friend?
• Why do you think friends sometimes spread rumors, or gossip, like Margot did in the story?
• Do you personally connect with the writer’s story? How?

After Reading the Story (15 min)
During this post-reading activity students will make connections, build understanding, and rehearse positive behaviors.

1. Introduce the internet meme/viral post activity by explaining to the group that they will be doing an activity where they share messages about what it means to be a real friend and when to end a friendship.

2. Read the following quote, lifted from I.L.’s story, to the group: “Being around someone who just wants to gossip and make up lies to hurt people is a big no with me.”

3. After reading this quote, explain to the group that they’re going to think more about their “big nos” and “big yeses” when it comes to friendship. Have them think back to their freewrites and what they included in their definition of a friend.

4. Then explain that they are going to write/draw an internet meme, or an inspirational quote post that goes viral on the internet. The point of the post is to let others know how to tell when someone is being a real friend and when it might be time to end a friendship.

5. Have students write and/or draw using these guidelines:
• On a piece of blank paper, draw a line down the middle.
• On one half of your paper, draw or write about the ways that someone shows they’re a real friend. Write or show what a real friend does, says, thinks or feels using words, pictures, or symbols.
• On the other half, draw or write about the ways that someone shows they’re not a real friend. Write or show examples of when one should end a friendship using words, pictures, or symbols.
• Create a catchy title for your internet meme/inspirational quote post.

6. Give students about 10 minutes to write and/or draw.

7. Invite students to share their internet memes/viral posts, as time allows.

8. Thank students for being thoughtful members of the group and working to make connections to I.L.’s story, reflect on their own lives, and share with one another.

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