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Week 4 – Chapter 2

By September 22, 2015February 4th, 2016No Comments

Week 4-16


Welcome to Week 4 of The Best of Friends program!  We focus on completing Chapter Two this week with a big focus on empathy, body language and looking at things with fresh perspectives.

Chapter two plot:

As Coco ignores her best friend, Salma feels more and more left out and unable to express herself. The consequences of that encounter continue to impact the friendship the next day at school. Harriet is not the most inclusive person and Coco and Salma need to manage the up’s and down’s and find a way to reconnect.

How to use the stories with your child at home:

  • Revise this story together with your child;
  • Discuss your own experiences in relation to similar events;
  • Ask questions about how your child would resolve some of the events described in the story;
  • Explore the emotions each participant experiences with a focus on empathy and what each emotion ‘looks’ and ‘feels’ like.

The Activities

The activities in this chapter include pen & paper, art and craft, role play, and puzzle-based activities, concluding with a Fieldwork activity to be done at home in the participant’s own time.

Activity 4: Empathy – Quiz & Find a Word

The activity begins by introducing participants to the definition of empathy and our ability as humans to understand how others are feeling. For children, empathy is a complex skill to master as it requires them to gain an awareness and understanding of others’ feelings. This activity is designed to allow multiple opportunities for participants to conceptualise, practise and appreciate the importance of empathy in our friendships.

The purpose of this activity is to ensure all participants share a common definition of empathy before practising this skill together. The quiz ‘Showing Empathy’ aims to consolidate participants’ understanding by testing their responses to four different scenarios, all of which require participants to think about how empathy is put into practice. The quiz can be used as an informal assessment tool for facilitators to gauge participants’ ability to respond with or without empathy based on their multiple choice  responses.  

The purpose of the sentence completion and find-a-word exercise is to give participants more ways to show empathy to their friends using non-verbal actions, such as a smile, a hug, or by sharing their belongings or experience with someone in need. This activity aims to extend participants’ repertoire of responses to situations which require the use of empathy to preserve friendships.

Goals for Participants

The goals for participants during this activity are:

  • to understand empathy
  • to test their capacity to recognise empathy
  • to extend their repertoire of ways to be empathetic
  • to exchange ideas with their peers
  • to develop confidence or seek assistance with writing tasks

Body Language

The body language section starts with simple and informative content as part of the knowledge base. Key facts about body language in relation to humans and other animals is provided to help participants compare their body language to others. The quiz component of this activity is an opportunity for facilitators to ascertain the level of understanding within the group, before participants embark on a craft activity and game played in pairs and based on body language to express feelings, such as distracted, lazy, fuming and rushed.

The main purpose of this exercise is for participants to develop self-awareness in regard to their own use of body language and to increase their ability to interpret the body language of others. This activity provides a structure for participants to learn about body language and age-appropriate resources to focus participants’ attention away from themselves and each other.

Goals for Participants

The goals for participants during this activity are:

  • to learn what body language is and why it is useful
  • to practise expressing themselves with body language
  • to increase self awareness and their own use of body language
  • to increase social awareness by accurately interpreting body language in pairs
  • to interpret body language when communicating with others outside the group.

Replay the Scene – Perspective taking

The replay-the-scene activity allows participants to recreate a scene using cardboard cut-outs of characters and to consider their own response to three different social scenarios. The scenarios are designed to trigger a number of different responses within the group as the characters are required to assert themselves with friends under somewhat stressful circumstances. Participants may choose to be assertive or avoid conflict in the process of replaying the scenes. Facilitators are encouraged to walk around the room to determine how participants have responded to each challenge.

The aim of this activity is to invite participants to practise being assertive with friends in situations when this is required. By replaying the scene, participants are using a play technique to practise dialogue commonly required to express an opinion in the face of potential conflict. The cardboard cut-outs and playground provide a safe context for participants to practise being assertive and communicate effectively.

The goals for participants during this activity are:

  • to learn how to express themselves effectively in challenging scenarios
  • to improve assertiveness skills and increase strategies for resolving conflict
  • to explore how others may resolve the same conflict with a friend
  • to practise the dialogue required to be assertive.

Field Work – Group Observation

During this activity participants will develop their skills in observing other people in  groups to practise interpreting body language, communication styles, and the roles of different group members. This activity is designed to take place outside the school setting but can also occur within the school environment.

The aim of this activity is provide participants with the opportunity to identify different group dynamics as a basis for learning how and when to approach a group. The purpose of this activity is to encourage social awareness by enhancing participants’ ability to interpret the body language, facial expressions and voice tone of others.

Participants will be encouraged to observe two different groups in order to compare behaviour across contexts. Another purpose of this activity is to increase the focus of participants by highlighting the importance of observing the movements of others and their more subtle body language, as well as their voice tone to assess the dynamics between group members.

Goals for Participants

The goals for participants during this activity are:

  • to observe two different groups for 3-5 minutes (or longer) each
  • to record the behaviour exhibited by each group member
  • to consider body language within the group and what it may mean
  • to decide if they think they would like to join either group. Why or why not?
  • to consider what they look for in a group and why.

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