Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Lesson 4
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


How can playing together foster friendships and build community? The student will discover and explore the key elements of friendship and how friends add to a community.


Two Thirty-Minute Class Periods


The learner will:

  • identify characteristics of a friend.
  • display good friendship skills through play.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

None for this lesson. Please refer to Lesson Six: Make-It, Take-It Family Night.


Handout 1
Friendship Song
Handout 2
A Friend Is...

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Begin class by singing Friendship Song (Attachment One). Sing through the song twice to draw student interest and attention. Then invite students to join in as you sing another time or two.

  • Tell the class that the theme for this lesson is something very familiar: "our friends." Draw on prior knowledge by challenging students to name characteristics of friends. Use Attachment Two: Friendship Is . . . for organizing the brainstorming. Use an overhead or transfer the chart to chart paper.

  • Tell the students to close their eyes and picture a good friend. Record their responses to the following prompts on the chart in the appropriate columns.
    1. Ask them to describe what that friend looks like (nice, smiling, kind, pretty, etc.).
    2. Ask them to describe what the friend sounds like (cheerful, funny, loud, etc.).
    3. Ask them to describe what the friend acts like (shares, plays, laughs, etc.).
  • Introduce The Rainbow Fish. Tell students that you are going to read them a story about a lonely little fish that learns how to make friends. Tell them to keep in mind what a friend looks like, sounds like and acts like while they listen to the story.

  • Read the story aloud. After reading, encourage the students to add ideas to the chart. How did Rainbow fish look, sound and act after he made friends?

  • Guide the students to recognize that the rainbow fish was lonely until he acted like a friend and became part of a community. Ask the students to describe what acting like a friend looks like, sounds like and feels like.

  • Explain that friends and family are a part of our community. A community is a group that lives, works or plays together. A community shares a common purpose or works for the common good.

Day Two

  • Discuss the characteristics of friends by reviewing the chart (Attachment Two) from Day One. Ask the students to explain how they can look, sound and act like friends while they play a game of kickball together. Encourage them to be specific about what they might say and do to practice friendship skills while they play.

  • Introduce and explain the teacher chosen cooperative game(s).

  • Play the game together using the learned friendship skills.

  • Ask the students to reflect on evidence of use of friendship skills during the game.


Assess student comprehension of friendship skills in their responses to Attachment Two as well as how they behave toward each other in the game.

Bibliographical References:

  • Brown, Laurie Krasny. How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them. Massachusetts: Little, Brown, 2001. ISBN: 0316111538

  • Carle, Eric. Do You Want to Be My Friend? New York: Harper Trophy, 1987. ISBN: 0064431274

  • Henkes, Kevin. Chrysanthemum. New York: Harper Trophy, 1996. ISBN: 0688147321

  • Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad are Friends. New York: Harper Collins, 1979. ISBN: 0064440206

  • Pfister, Marcus. The Rainbow Fish. New York: North – South Books, 1992. ISBN: 1558580093

  • Physical Games for Cooperative Play http://www.learningforlife.org/exploring-resources/99-720/x08.pdf

Lesson Developed By:

Melissa Nichols-Meyer
Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids
Saints Peter & Paul School
Grand Rapids, MI 49504-3226


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Friendship Song

(Sing to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine")


You are my best friend,

My very best friend,

You make me happy,


You share your great snacks,

You share your best toys,

So please don’t take

My best friend away.

Handout 2Print Handout 2

A Friend Is...


A Friend . . .

(Looks like)


(Sounds like)


(Acts like)


Philanthropy Framework:


Lori, Educator – Owatonna, MN12/29/2012 11:52:39 AM

The kids loved this lesson. We used "Go Fish" as the game. We practiced our manners along with being friends.

Ana, Teacher – Wellington, New Zealand2/10/2013 5:28:49 PM

I am an Early Childhood teacher in Wellington, New Zealand. The Thunderbird group (children 4 and 6 moths old) and I are working on playing as a good friend this term. I had introduced this to my current workplace about 3 years ago using what I learnt at the Kindergarten. The resources that you have provided have given me more ideas to extend what I have already learnt to share with children and parents at our Early Childhood centre. Thank you.

Sumi, Curriculum – Karachi, Pakistan2/13/2013 2:08:03 AM

Very nicely done, informative.

Dorothy, Teacher – AHMEDABAD, India5/24/2013 12:56:34 AM

Very nice lesson, and helpful!

Jacinda, Educator – Nyack, NY4/13/2015 1:57:34 PM

I love this lesson plan

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