Friends at school
Are big and small.
Friends at school
Are best of all!

A Circle of Friends

    We've joined together as classmates
    as the new year begins,
    A year full of learning
    while we become friends.
    We'll share and be kind
    as we work and we play.
    And our friendship will grow
    with each passing day.


Friends is one of several themes that I begin on the first day of school.  Over the first two weeks, I integrate our Friends unit with several other units, including All About Me, Back to School, I Love My ABC's, A Rainbow of Colors, and our study of author P.K. Hallinan.

You'll find lots of wonderful poems, songs, stories, and activities on this page.  You'll also see some things that may look familiar from some of my other thematic unit pages, because my units are tightly interwoven at the beginning of school.  I use some of these ideas early in the year, and others later on, carrying the Friends theme throughout the entire year.


My Teacher's My Friend

I begin every school year the same way, whether I'm teaching first grade, kindergarten, or a K-1 multiage group.  I always begin our first story time with P.K. Hallinan's wonderful story, My Teacher's My Friend.

 It's short, friendly, and fun, and talks about the things the kids have on their minds the first day of school.  As a bonus, it leads into a natural discussion about school and this new person and friend in the childrens' lives, Mrs. Smith.

My Teacher's My Friend

After we read the story, I tell the children about me and my family, and let them ask questions.  And then we take some time to let each of the children introduce themselves and share something they'd like us to know.  To finish, I read the story again, encouraging the children to help me with the rhyming words.  We'll revisit this book many times the first week of school, as we talk about school and friends.

Our P.K. Hallinan study concentrates on his books about school and friends, and about feeling good about oneself, a recurring theme in most of P.K.'s books.  On the first day of school, I share the following poem with my students, setting the stage for the many P.K. books on friends we'll be reading:

By Jill Eggleston

Friends care.
Friends share.
We need friends

I have this poem in a pocket chart in our reading area, with an extra set of words for matching.  The same poem is on a large bulletin board, which is actually the paint easel area of my classroom.  This will be the first poem in their Poetry Journals.  I use three-ring binders to hold their poetry collection, and send the binders home at the end of the year.



At night when sunshine goes away,
And it's too dark for me to play,
I like to come inside, and look
For new friends in a story book.

P. K.'s Books About Friends


We're Very Good Friends,
My Brother and I

We're Very Good Friends,
My Sister and I

That's What a Friend Is

We're Very Good Friends,
My Father and I


A Rainbow of Friends

This is a very special book, written in response to the Los Angeles riots a few years ago.  We read this one often, and sing our Rainbow of Friends  song (below) that another teacher
taught us.

We're Very Good Friends,
My Mother and I

We're Very Good Friends,
My Grandma and I

Rainbow of Friends

We're a rainbow
Made of children
We're an army
Singing our song.
There's no weapons
That can stop us,
Rainbow Love is
Much too strong!

We're Very Good Friends,
My Grandpa and I

My Dentist, My Friend


I'm Thankful Each Day!

A great story about all the things we have to be thankful for

My Doctor, My Friend

For more P.K. Hallinan titles, visit my
P.K. Hallinan Author Study Page



Follow Up Activities

Language Experience Charts

After reading each book, discuss the ways that the "star" of the book could be a friend, and make a chart of those traits.

For example, do you have a brother?  Is your brother your friend?  What things does your brother do that makes him your friend?  This gets especially interesting when discussing grandparents and all the neat things kids and grandparents do together.

As you talk about all the different people who can be our friends, compare the charts and add to a separate chart that lists things that make kids friends with other kids.  Your students will come up with lots of great ideas!

I keep a basket of yellow paper stars (cut with the Ellison machine) near our Shining Stars bulletin board.  When someone feels that another student has done something special -- something that makes that student a good friend -- they take a star, write their friend's name on it, and staple it to the board.  Younger children may need help doing this.  Older children (first grade and up) can add a few words about why that person is a good friend.

It's also very interesting to listen to the reasons the children give why their doctor or dentist is also their friend ("She helps me feel better when I'm sick," or "He makes sure my teeth are strong").  This discussion extends naturally into a discussion of why other adults are our friends -- police, firefighters, the principal, the man who drives the ice cream truck, etc.

Friends Books

Kids enjoy writing stories about their friends.  Our first story might be an illustration with a single sentence, telling who is in the picture and what the friends in the picture are doing.  I make paper available for the kids to make as many single pages as they like about their friends, and we staple them into construction paper folders.  Some of the stories are displayed on the walls.

We also use a writing frame that says
"________ is my friend because ________."  We do the first page as a group activity, with each child making their own page about anyone they like.  Then paper is set out in our writing area for them to make additional pages during writing time and/or Literacy Centers.  The kinderkids and some first graders will need help filling in the blanks.  More accomplished writers can copy the sentence onto their papers and do their own writing.

We also use this writing frame to make class books based on each of the friends books we read.  That way, we have our own books called My Teacher is My Friend, My Father is My Friend, etc.  The kids enjoy reading these, and reading their friends' names.


Songs About Friends

If You're Friendly and You Know It

If you're friendly and you know it,
clap your hands.
If you're friendly and you know it,
clap your hands.

If you're friendly and you know it,
and you really want to show it,
If you're friendly and you know it,
clap your hands!


  Friend of Mine
(tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)

Will you be a friend of mine,
a friend of mine, a friend of mine?
Will you be a friend of mine
and (insert an action) around with me?

_______ is a friend of mine,
friend of mine, friend of mine,
_______ is a friend of mine,
who (insert same action) around with me.

Some Very Special Friends Stories

Ira Sleeps Over
A great story for emphasizing that friends
can be different and still be friends,
and a read aloud favorite all year long.
Also available as a book & cassette set.

Follow Up Discussion Questions For
Ira Sleeps Over

How were the friends alike?

How were the friends different?

Did any of their differences change during the story?  How?

If a friend is doing something that is different, but wrong
(like lying, stealing, cheating), should we try to help them
or just let them be different?

If you are reading the story to first grade or above,
use a graphic organizer -- like a Story Web --
to map out the story elements (first, next, last)
or to highlight character traits.

I like to read Pat Hutchins' story My Best Friend after we read
Ira Sleeps Over, and compare the two stories
(Ira is about boys and My Best Friend is about girls).

We always have an interesting discussion about the ways that boys and girls are the same and different, and how there's a difference between having a friend who's a girl or boy and having a boyfriend or girlfriend.


Different Friends Song
(tune:  Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Love, love, love your friends,
Different as they seem.
Playing, laughing, joking, helping,
True friends are like a dream!


Make a *Friends Can Be Different* Book

_______ likes to _______ but I don't,
and we are still friends.
_______ likes to _______ but I don't,
and we are still friends.
_______ likes to _______ but I don't,
and we are still friends.
I like to _______ but _______ doesn't,
and we are still friends.


Every Buddy Counts
A Math Start Series Book
To shake off her sad mood,
a young girl counts all her friends.
Under $4

Follow Up Activity

Make an Every Buddy Counts Bulletin Board

Take photos of children playing, counting, working, etc.
On one photo have one child, on the next two children and so forth.
Take photos of children holding a different number of objects.

This is a great reinforcement of the counting concept.
Children love to see themselves in pictures.
When you take the bulletin board down, make a Big Book
with the pictures and add it to your classroom library.


Best Friends Stories


Annie Bananie
An Old Favorite about best friends,
with great rhymes!  My class asks for this book all year long!
Under $5

Annie Bananie
Best Friends To The End
A perfect Read Aloud for grades 1 & 2
Under $4



Make a Best Friends Book

_______ is my best friend because
she/he likes to _______.
She/he also likes to _______.
We both like to ________.
Sometimes we _______.
Our favorite thing to do together is _______.


Great Stories About Friends

Best Friends
A story about missing your best friend
Under $5

My Best Friend
A terrific sleepover story about best friends who are different ~ goes great with
Ira Sleeps Over

You can be best friends with your bear!
Under $5

One of our class favorites!
Under $5

The Doorbell Rang
Sharing cookies - a fun math lesson on fractions!
Under $4

The Hating Book
When best friends have a fight ... lots of insight into young feelings
Under $5

We Are Best Friends
What happens when your best friend moves away?
Under $4

Ira Says Goodbye
The sequel to Ira Sleeps Over
Ira's best friend Reggie is moving away.
Under $5

Let's Be Enemies
John gets tired of his friend's bossy ways
Under $5

Rosie and Michael
Boys and girls can be best friends

Under $4

Yo!  Yes?
A Caldecott Award Winner
Lots of body language and only 34 words
in this wonderful book about making a
new friend.  I read this one with
Earl's Too Cool For Me

Under $6

Earl's Too Cool for Me
Earl's so cool that
"He went to China

in an eggroll car!"
The beginning of an
unexpected friendship.

By the author of
Annie Bananie

Under $5


Will I Have a Friend?
One of my personal favorites about the worries that come with the first day of school
Under $4

Do You Want to Be My Friend?
An outstanding picture book from Eric Carle
Under $5

Best Friends
Another great story from Miriam Cohen
Under $4

That's What
Friends Are For
A sweet changing picture book from
Mary Engelbreit
Under $5

A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You
By Joan Walsh Anglund
Under $7

Frog and Toad
Are Friends
5 delightful stories about a very unique friendship.
Under $4

Writing Frames

I make these up as blackline books, for my students to illustrate.  We keep them in their individual Book Boxes for independent reading time.  You could also have students copy the words from a pocket chart to make their own books.

Before we do the writing activity below,
I share The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown.

The Important Book
A children's classic story!
Under $5

The children never seem to grow tired of this story and of making innovations on it into books.  In my All About Me unit, we make books where the children tell the important thing about themselves.  For this book, we tell the important things about being a friend.

A Friend

A friend likes to _______.
A friend will _______.
A friend can _______.
A friend never _______.
But the most important thing about a friend is
that he/she likes me!


With a Friend

With a friend I can slide.
With a friend I can hide.
With a friend I can walk.
With a friend I can talk.
I like my friend an awful lot.

I also make a class Big Book of With A Friend,
with illustrations by the children.  We make LOTS of Big Books,
and usually two copies of each book that we make,
so everyone gets a turn to be an illustrator.


Other Fun Things to Do

Pen Pals & Key Pals

Kids can write to someone in their class, an older Reading Buddy, or a penpal from across the country.  If you'd like to find pen pals or key pals (email pen pals), join one of the great Internet Mailing Lists for teachers.  You can subscribe to my KinderKorner mailing list by sending email to
After you join, send a message to the list
that you're looking for pen pals.

My classes have had pen pals and key pals in New York, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.  Since we live in the California central valley, they were very impressed with their New York friends, who had snow at school.  They were also very interested in hearing about the opposite seasons in NZ and Oz, where it's hot and sunny on Christmas, and cold when we have our summer break.


You cannot give a smile away
No matter what you do.
Every time you give me one
I'll give it back to you!


I have a friend
Whose name is _____
And we have fun together.
We laugh and play
And sing all day
In any kind of weather.


I had a box of crayons,
All shiny, straight and new.
I lent a friend the red one,
And -- oops -- it broke in two!

My friend said she was sorry,
But I said "I don't care,
'Cause now we both can color
With one crayon -- we can share!"


Teacher Resources

Friendship: A Complete Thematic Unit
from Teacher Created Materials
Under $8

Teaching Children to Care:
Management in the Responsive Classroom
An excellent resource for classroom management
and teaching children values!


Looking for More Ideas?

My bookstore pages have lots of information on how I use various materials in my classroom, and on activities you can do with your students.  The thematic pages are complete unit resources, with lots of poems, songs, and links on each page.  Make yourself comfortable and take a look around!

Choose from the categories below.
Underlined subjects are links, the other ones are coming soon!

Top 10
Must Have
Phonemic Awareness
Integrated Curriculum
Balanced Literacy
Mini Books
for Emergent
Pat Cunningham Books &
4 Blocks Books
Writer's Workshop
Guided Reading
How to
Trade Books
and others
Pocket Chart Resources
 Songs and
About Me
Back to School
Marvelous Math Books
Read It!
Draw It!
Solve It!
What's In A
Literature for Math
I Love
Monthly Themes
Their Way
Bears Everywhere
Down on the Farm
Rain Forest
Going Buggy!
Spring Has Sprung!
Come Into
A Camping We Will Go!
Under the Sea
A Rainbow of Colors
I Lost
Me & My
 Special Books for Special People
reading for pleasure
Coming Soon!

These pages are updated often,
so please come back soon to see what's new at KinderKorner!


Click below to go directly to to browse for books.


This page went online on July 29, 1999

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