Google+ Elementary School Counselor blog, by Scott Ertl, Elementary School Counselor: Help students discover similarities with others!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Help students discover similarities with others!

http://progresscards.com/Discover-Similarities.pdf

Fun way to find
common interests!

  • Friendship Groups
  • Following Peer Mediations
  • New student orientations
  • Teachers use at Open House
  • PTA meeting "Ice breaker"

Everyone likes to have fun! However, most people don't like feeling rejected by asking someone to play or do something and being told, "No. I don't like doing that!"

This quick activity helps partners find shared interests and then encourages them to decide what they would like to do together for fun. Students feel safe and excited when playing this game.

Within minutes, partners are excited to do specific activities together. It is perfect for introducing new students to classmates and for friendship groups to create actions plans for students to get more involved with others.

Counselors (and teachers) can complete a card and make copies for students to see how many things they have in common. (It can be fun to ask students to make a prediction of how many things they think they have in common with you before they complete the card.) Afterwards, count up the total number of common interests. This can be a quick way to overcome apparent differences to see shared interests instead.  After all, we are much more alike than different.
When students complain about being bored at home on weekends (especially when visiting a non-custodial parent where they might not have as many friends in the neighborhood), this activity can be a fun way to initiate new activities and places to go together. 
Another extension to this activity is to ask students to underline their 3 favorites. When students have different favorites, ask them to explain why they like it so much. Sometimes this can inspire the other student to try something new. 

After helping students resolve a problem, ask if they would like to play a quick game before going back to class. (You can guess their answer.) First, ask them to predict how many things they have in common. Even though they "resolved" the problem, most students typically don't see a lot of themselves in the other person. Following the activity, ask them to give you the total number of similarities. Ask if they were surprised. (They usually are.) Ask if there's anything that they would actually like to do together some time. Propose if they have a great week practicing the positive behaviors from your conference with them, you could follow-up with them next week to actually do one of the activities together. Of course they can do things together before then, but you are offering a way to stay accountable and provide an opportunity for them to have fun together in the near future.

Download the Discover Similarities Progress Card (printed 4 per page to save paper)

Please add a comment to suggest additional activities that students enjoy.

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