Don't panic if you are asked to take an assembly at short notice. This is my favourite in-an-instant assembly. It's about friendships and doesn't need much preparation. All you need are cards with the word "friend" written on in different languages for pupils in the audience to hold. Can they guess what the words mean?
I try to show the cards that bear little resemblance to the English word at first, such as mik (Albanian), ven (Danish), megobari (Georgian), cara (Irish) and tomodachi (Japanese). If pupils still haven't got it then I start to give them words that might help them guess.
I use the interactive whiteboard to talk about the different parts of a recipe that make a friendship and might ask pupils to turn to the person next to them and ask: "What are the qualities of a good friend?" and "Who has been a good friend to you recently and why?"
I write responses on a flip chart and explain that the qualities a good friend should have are the ingredients that go into a friendship. I then read a friendship recipe:
Fold two hands together
And express a dash of sorrow
Marinate it overnight
And work on it tomorrow
Chop one grudge into tiny pieces
Add several cups of love
Dredge with a large sized smile
Mix with the ingredients above
Dissolve the hate within you
By doing a good deed
Cut in and help your friend
If they should be in need
Stir in laughter, love, and kindness
From the heart it has to come
Toss with genuine forgiveness
And give your neighbour some
The amount of people served
Will depend on you
It can serve the whole wide world
If you really want it to.
Another possible reading is Aesop's fable The Hare With Many Friends. Ask the children what they think the moral of the fable is.
I remind pupils that a smile really is a "friendship token" and how we all feel much better when we have one. We then give each other a smile.
We've given out our own Hand of Friendship award during this assembly. These are awards given to children who are spotted being great friends by those on playground duty. Pupils can also nominate other children for this award.
I use one of the stories from Seal (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning), from the getting on and falling out unit about friendship tokens.
You could use the following music: "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor or "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel.
I first used this assembly during Anti-Bullying Week when I was looking for something positive and have also encouraged classes to write friendship recipes for a display in the school entrance hall.
Help, I don't have enough time to prepare
For more friendship assemblies visit the resources area of The TES website, www.tes.co.uk. Karen Garner teaches at Shirley Warren Primary School in Southampton.
Karen Garner teaches at Shirley Warren Primary School in Southampton.