Enemy Pie – Activity #1: “Talking to a New Friend”
Activity #1: “Talking to a New Friend”
This activity teaches the social skill of beginning a conversation. When students want to make friends with someone they have met for the first time, they may feel nervous or shy, and may not have the skills to initiate a conversation. The purpose of teaching the steps is to provide students with the skills to discover similarities. Students are more likely to move toward friendship when they share things in common. In this activity, students review the 6 steps to starting a conversation with a peer and role-play the skill of beginning conversations within various contexts.
Beginning a Conversation steps (provided)
Create a large visual poster of “Beginning a Conversation”.
Step by Step
Step One: Have a discussion with the students about how it is not easy to start a conversation with someone we do not know. Ask the students what has to be done if they want to get to know someone new. Write brainstormed ideas on chart paper. (The ideas should lead students to understand that they must talk to this new person.)
Step Two: Ask the students if they can remember a time when they started a conversation with someone they did not know. Ask them how it felt and whether or not they felt comfortable starting the conversation.
Step Three: Introduce the Six Steps to Starting a Conversation. Refer to the Starting a Conversation poster.
1. Relax and say encouraging things to yourself
You need to relax, take a deep breath and say something positive in your head.
Brainstorm examples of phrases/words you could say to yourself to stay relaxed. Record these ideas on chart paper.
“I’m sure this new person would be glad to have someone to talk to.”
“I’m a great friend.”
“I’m sure this new person is lonely and would like a new friend.”
“I’m quiet and shy, but I can do this,”
“If this person does not want to be my friend, that’s okay, but I will try.”
2. Say “HI” and tell the person your name
The next important thing is to jump right in and DO IT! Walk right up to the new person and say, “Hi. My name is _____!”
Have a brief discussion about non-verbal communication (body language). How do you think the new person would feel if you said, “Hi” with a smile on your face vs no smile?
Emphasize that if we want someone new to know that we are friendly, we have to have a friendly voice and a friendly face.
3. Ask an open-ended question
They are now ready to ask a question. This is the key to talking to someone new – asking questions. Explain that the best way to begin is to ask the person something about himself or herself.
E.g. – “What is your name?”
Once you know the person’s name, what are some questions you could ask the person? Emphasize the difference between open-ended and closed questions:
Open-ended questions usually start with words that begin with a “W”. (What is your favourite sport? What do you like best about school? What kind of television shows do you like to watch?) Emphasize that these are questions that get people talking. They sound friendlier as well.
Closed questions usually start with words like “do” or “are”. (Do you like playing tag? Are you 8 years old?). Ask the students to identify what happens when we ask only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. These kinds of questions are not helping two people talk together very well. Point out that in addition, yes or no questions feel like a quiz rather than a friendly conversation.
On chart paper, split the page in half and brainstorm examples of open-ended and closed questions.
4. Tell something about yourself
Once you start using open-ended questions, it is easier to start talking about yourself.
Provide an open-ended question to the students and ask them what they could choose to say about themselves. Record student responses on chart paper. Continue this exercise with other open-ended questions related to movie preferences, sports preferences, hobbies, etc.
5. Continue asking questions and talking about yourself
Within the initial conversation, continue this question and answer period for awhile.
Explain it by comparing this part of the conversation to a game of catch: you throw a question and they toss you an answer back. Then you toss over some information about yourself. They might ‘throw the ball back’ by asking you some questions or telling you some more about themselves.
6. Suggest you do something together
It is a good idea to now suggest an activity to do together. (E.g. – playing outside at recess time, sitting together at lunch time, playing after school, etc). Ask the students for suggestions about what activity they could do with a new friend. Record these ideas on chart paper.
Step Four: Role-play these six steps with the students until they get a solid grasp of the best dialogue to use to be successful when speaking to a new friend. After practicing with teacher-student roleplay, break the class into pairs and have them continue practicing the six steps.
Step Five: Emphasize that the best way to find out if you can be friends with someone is to spend time together. When you first meet someone, you only get a tiny idea of who they are. Usually you are both very nervous talking to each other so it is important to give the other person a chance and for you to get to know them better before you decide whether or not the two of you can be friends.