Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To learn appropriate social skills for maintaining a friendship.

Materials needed: Accessible board game


“Last time we met we learned about group recreational activities. Today we are going to look at proper social skills involved in group recreational activities and in friendship in general. Having one, two, or three very good friends greatly increases your quality of life, lowering stress levels and improving emotional health.”

Discussion: Establishing Friendship Rules


  • What is the purpose of friendship? (Talking and listening, helping each other, having fun together)
  • How can you be a good friend to others? (Being a good listening and talker, helping others, asking for help, trying to understand how the friend is feeling, planning activities, and participating in activities the friend plans.)
  • If you have a very good friend, what does he or she do that you really appreciate?

“It sounds like we have found unspoken rules of friendship: it’s good to take turns in conversation, in planning activities, and in helping each other.”

Discussion: Empathy

“The motivation for taking turns in conversation and in planning activities, as well as the motivation for helping others, is having empathy. Empathy means trying to understand someone else’s feelings, or ‘putting yourself in their shoes.’ If you don’t have the skills to show empathy, you may never think about meeting the other person’s needs.”

Exercise: Practicing Empathy

Provide the following scenarios and ask the student to describe how he would feel if he was the subject:

  • Liam’s grandmother died last night.
  • A rumor is being spread about Harper at school.
  • Macy’s mom and dad fight every night.
  • Somebody made fun of Alice’s shoes.
  • Isaac didn’t make the basketball team.
  • Latoya lost the necklace her boyfriend bought her as a gift.
  • Cale didn’t do well on his math test.
  • Victoria has a friend who is constantly talking highly of herself.

“If you can think about a situation from someone else’s point of view, you can understand what he or she may want or need. Empathy also gives you the ability to think through how you are coming across to others. Let’s consider the following examples:”

  • How would Amanda feel if you normally talked about your thoughts, but never asked about hers?
  • How would Sierra feel if she planned an activity for the two of you every weekend for two months, but you have yet to initiate any plans?
  • How would Roberto feel if he invited you to several sporting events and a family cook-out, but you always declined?
  • How would Darius feel if you consistently talked about your high intellect, superior gadgets, accomplishments, or the important people you know?
  • How would Chantrelle feel if you called her for a ride to school weekly and never helped pay for gas or offered to return a favor for her?

Discussion: Taking Turns

“How fun is it to play a group game by yourself? You pitch a baseball and nobody is at home plate ready to swing. Just as social games require people to take turns, a friendship requires a balance of give and take.

Here are a few examples of poor balance:

  • One person dominates the conversation. This person always talks and doesn’t listen well.
  • One person always asks for and accepts help without demonstrating thankfulness or helping the other person.
  • One person initiates contact and plans activities. The other person accepts the invitation to hang out, but never makes the plans.

It does take intentional thought to ensure a balanced friendship, though it will likely become more natural with practice.

Exercise: Turn-Taking Game

Play a game with a group of students, explaining the purpose is to demonstrate turn-taking. The game can be throwing a ball back-and-forth or an accessible board game.


“Today we talked about empathy as the foundation for maintaining a balanced friendship. We discussed taking turns in conversation, in planning activities, and in helping each other.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: