Teaching students to have quality conversations with their peers can help them build strong, healthy relationships and increase their sense of belonging. For the fast-friend activity, students will be assigned a partner to befriend over the course of a month (Echols & Ivanich, 2021). During your fast-friend activity, provide students with a list of questions to guide them in their conversations with their peers. Here are a few sample questions used in the “fast-friend” activity that you may consider using with your students. Additional questions can be found by visiting the articles under the reference section below.
|List of questions to promote conversation and relationship building. See recommended list above.
|30 minutes per month, or as needed.
Developing friendships with peers is a key part of improving student wellbeing, as it helps them have a greater sense of belonging. One study tested an intervention called “fast-friends” where students were given conversation skills training and assigned to become friends with an assigned partner in the class(Echols & Ivanich, 2021). The study observed 301 seventh and eighth grade students in a Midwestern middle school. Students were randomly assigned a same-gender partner, who they reported to have not known well. Students were also assigned a control partner. For 30 min., once a month, over the course of 3 months, students participated in relationship building activities with their fast-friends partners. The first two sessions, students took turns asking each other questions that became increasingly personal. In the last session, they participated in a team block tower activity, competing against other "fast-friend" partnerships. At the end of the sessions students reported that they knew their "fast-friends" better and considered them friends(Echols & Ivanich, 2021).
Echols, L. & Ivanich, J. (2021). From "Fast Friends" to true friends: Can a contact intervention promote friendships in middle school. Journal of Research on Adolescence/Early Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12622
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