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Teacher Lesson Return to "Being a Good Teammate Means Being a Good Friend"
Being a Good Teammate Means Being a Good Friend
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning
Being Teammates On and Off the Field

Story Summary: While casually shooting hoops on the court one afternoon, the writer’s friend is bullied by an older boy. Instead of standing up for his friend and risk getting beaten up, the writer does nothing. This event causes the writer to reflect on what it means to be a good friend and teammate.

See the story: "Being a Good Teammate Means Being a Good Friend"

Lesson Objectives and Common Core Connections
• Students make personal connections to a text and successfully participate in story-based activities and discussions.
• Students will respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives (CCLS SL.1).
• 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. Tell them that before reading a story, you are going to do an activity that gets you up and moving, and introduces you to some of your peers’ opinions on topics that will be brought up in the story.

2. Introduce the Concentric Circles activity procedure. Tell the class:
• "We will form two standing circles, one inside the other.”
• "Each person will face a partner.”
• "I will read questions aloud and everyone will have a chance to respond while their partner listens.”

3. Divide the class into two. One way to do this is to have students count off 1-2. (If you don’t have two equal groups, you can join one.)

4. Clear a space in the middle of the room and have the 1s stand and form a circle facing outward.

5. Have the 2s stand and form a second circle around the first one, facing inward.

6. Explain to the class that the person they’re facing will be their first partner.

7. Tell them:
• "Partners will take turns responding to a question that I ask.”
• "When one person speaks, the other listens.”
• "Each person should speak for about one minute. Make sure both of you get a chance to talk.”
• "When time is up, I will ask one circle to rotate and everyone will have a new partner.”

8. Pose this question to the class:
• "What does it mean to be a ‘good friend?’ ”

9. After two minutes are up (you might want to use a timer to keep track), ask the inside circle to move two people to the right while the outside circle stands still. There should be new pairs formed.

10. Repeat the process using these other questions:
• "Is there a difference between being a good friend and being a good teammate? Why or why not?”
• "Why can it be hard to stand up for someone who’s getting bullied?”
• "If you see someone being bullied, when (if ever) do you have a responsibility to step in and do something?”

11. Have everyone return to their seats.

12. Time permitting, lead a discussion by asking students to describe some of the good points that were made during their conversations. They can also share times they agreed or disagreed with their partner, new ideas that their partner gave them, or questions they still have about the topic.

13. Thank students for sharing.

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 identify when they have a connection to something in the story, or when they have a question. When they have a connection, students should write a “C” in the margin. When they have a question, students should write a “?” in the margin.

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 an “C” or “?” next to and why. Alternately, you can pose an open question such as “What stands out to you in this section and why?”

6. When you finish the story, ask the group to discuss their reactions to the story. They can turn and talk to a neighbor before you discuss as a whole group.

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

1. Introduce this activity by saying to the group:
• "Now that we’ve read the story, we’re going to do a Role Playing activity connected to the situation that Toyloy wrote about.”
• "First, we’ll brainstorm some of the options that were available to Toyloy, and then you will act them out in small groups.”

2. Read the prompt aloud, or write it on a piece of chart paper (or on the white board):
• What are some of the things that Toyloy could have done or said while Tommy was getting bullied (or after the incident) that would have showed he was a good friend?

3. Ask for students to brainstorm ideas as a group. Record what’s shared on the chart paper or on a white board. [Some potential ideas: Tell an adult what’s going on, Tell the bully to “Knock it Off” or “Stop,” Distract the bully, Reach out to Tommy afterwards to check in on how he’s doing and show him that you care, etc.]

4. After you have a list of 4-5 ideas, break students up into groups of 3. (Join a group if there’s an even number of students.)

5. Explain that each person will have a specific role:
• Tommy: the victim
• Toyloy: the witness (and potential ally)
• The Bully

6. Give groups 5 minutes to select one of the ideas brainstormed by the whole group (or one that they’ve thought of on their own) and plan how they’d role play it in front of the group.

7. Ask small groups to perform their role play for the whole group. Remind the audience to support actors by listening. If the actors get stuck, ask audience members for suggestions the actors can try.

8. After all groups have performed, debrief by asking the whole group the following questions:
• "What are some of the things that we saw Toyloy do that showed he was being a good friend?”
• "How do you show others that you’re a good friend?”

9. Thank group members for performing, supporting, and sharing.

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