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What Does Friendship Look Like? 6th Graders Answer That Question

Natalie Colón

Natalie Colón is a Program Manager at TASC.

Do you recall the friendships you made in middle school? What defined a friend? Was it sharing your favorite food? Or a favorite hobby, subject or sport? For me, it was creating a girl group of peers (thank you, Spice Girls!) who belted out songs in a high-pitched tune and rocked glittery lip gloss, choker necklaces, pigtails and moon boots.

My friendships have matured and changed, and thankfully so has my fashion sense, but there are some core components that remain the same. What does friendship mean for today’s kids?

This past year at Renaissance School of the Arts & Citizen Schools, 6th graders explored the notion of friendship during an expanded day apprenticeship called Documentary. In this class, students decided on a topic they would like to explore further and were supported by their teaching fellow and teacher volunteer. Throughout the course of the apprenticeship, students formulated questions around friendship, interviewed school staff and their fellow peers, filmed each interview, and even had a student director. (Watch out, Martin Scorsese!)

If you’ve got a few moments (and a tissue) take a peek at this documentary and listen to students describe what it means to be a friend. Warning: it might take you back in time to your own middle school days!


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