Mindful Academic Relationships - Intermediate High

Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes: Students will identify benefits of group work, practice communication skills, and develop genuine connections through sharing experiences. Language Learning Outcomes: Students will listen for major details, effectively deal with unanticipated complications in group work, use statements as questions, and narrate/describe in past tense about a personal experience.

Lesson Information

Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. identify benefits of group work
  2. practice communication skills
  3. develop genuine connections through sharing experiences

Language Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. listen for major details
  2. effectively deals with unanticipated complications in group work
  3. use statements as questions
  4. narrate/describe in past tense about a personal experience.

Materials Needed

Additional Listening Materials:


We spend a lot of time with others at school, so it is important to be mindful of our relationships. This includes the relationship with ourselves as well as others.

Activate Background Knowledge

Ask students these questions:

  • You interact with many people at school.  Who are some people that you spend a lot of time with?
  • How are school relationships different from other relationships?  How are they similar?
  • Why is it helpful to become friends with your classmates?

Activity 1: Listening

Collaboration & Cooperation:

Share these quotes with your students: 

  • “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller
  • “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” - African Proverb

Before watching the video, brainstorm with your partner, “Why do you think collaboration at school is important?”

Watch this video about the power of collaboration: The power of collaboration: Dr. Shelle VanEtten de Sánchez at TEDxABQWomen


After watching the video, ask students to compare their list of reasons to the reasons listed in the video.

In the video, Dr. VanEtten de Sanchez said: “Teamwork does not equal collaboration.”  How can you know that you are working together effectively? 

    -What positive experiences have you had with collaborative work in the past?  

    -What makes collaborative work difficult?

    -What can we do in our class to make collaborative work more enjoyable?

Activity 2: Speaking

Human Knot Game:

(note to teacher: you may need to walk them through the game or show them an example.  You may want to show this video: Human Knot)


  • Divide your classroom into groups of 5-6 people.  
  • Have everyone stand in a circle, and ask each person to hold hands with two people who aren’t directly next to them.
  • When everyone is tangled together, ask them to untangle the knot and form a perfect circle — without letting go of anyone's hand.
  • After the game ask the students the following questions:
    • How did you work together to create a circle?
    • What were some challenges your group encountered?
    • How can working in a group help us solve problems?

Activity 3: Speaking

Use this worksheet for the following activity.  Students will use the statements to ask questions.

Distribute the bingo page to each student.  They will need to find another classmate that matches each bingo box.  They can write the students' names in the box.  Encourage students to get out of their seats and move around, talking to each student at least once.  

After the activity ask some of the following questions:

  • What did you learn about your classmates?
  • Who did you find that did___?
  • What went well during this activity?
  • How does learning about your classmates make you feel more comfortable in class?
  • What else can you do to better get to know your classmates?

Activity 4: Listening

Ask students to think of friends that they have made at school (here or in the past).

  • How did you become friends?  
  • Was it easy or difficult?  
  • What are some activities you did with them?
  • How did you help each other at school?

Then play this video from the Disney movie Lemonade Mouth.  These students do not know each other and were assigned to clean up an empty classroom.  Notice how they work together to create a song.

Lemonade Mouth | 'Turn Up the Music' Music Video 🎶 | Disney Channel UK


Ask your students to discuss the following questions with a partner:

  • What did the main singer do to connect with each of the other students?
  • What were the roles of each student?  How did they work together?
  • How do you think they felt about making music together?
  • Is this group similar to you and your friends at school?

Activity 5: Speaking

*Recommended to share an experience yourself to encourage vulnerability

Introduce the idea that sharing personal experiences with others can create genuine, lasting relationships.  Ask the students to think about 2 or 3 experiences that have shaped their lives that they would be willing to share.  Give them a few minutes to sit and think about their ideas.  Possible questions to think about include:

  • What was it like leaving your country and moving to the US?
  • Who is the most important person in your life and what do they mean to you?
  • What is one of your happiest childhood memories?
  • What is a difficult challenge that you have overcome?

After reflecting for a minute or two, ask the students to share 1-2 experiences with a partner.  You may ask the students to share another experience with a different partner. 


Distribute a simple evaluation form for the students to fill out.  Ask them to answer the following questions:

  • What should we keep doing? (as a class, individually, as the teacher, etc.)
  • What should we stop doing?
  • What should we start doing?



What is feedback? We often need to receive positive and constructive feedback in our lives. 

  • Why is it useful or important to receive feedback from someone you trust?

Have students commit to asking for feedback on personal/professional goals they are currently working on from someone they trust and love. 


After reviewing students' responses, set goals as a class for how we can improve our relationships with each other.  Make one goal based on each question (keep, stop, start).  


Review narrating in the past tense

In a job interview, you may be asked a question about your experience working with others.  For example, Describe a situation where you used teamwork to overcome a challenge.  Have students practice role-playing an interviewer and an interviewee when answering this question with a partner.  

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Access it online or download it at https://edtechbooks.org/PositivePsychologyintheClassroom/mindful_academic_relations_intermediate_high.