What's a Clique?

In this lesson, students will examine the cliques within their school community. They will also explore ways to integrate the student body and form relationships across, and in spite of, controlling cliques.
Grade Level


Activities will help students:

  • recognize the difference between friendship groups and cliques
  • understand how cliques can be exclusive and hurt students’ feelings
  • learn ways to welcome and include others
Essential Questions
  • What is the difference between a friendship group and a clique? 
  • How can cliques make some kids feel left out? 
  • How can you include other kids in your friendship group?


clique | kleek, klik | (noun) a friendship group that often exerts control over its members



  1. Who are the people in your friendship group? Write a list of your friends’ names. What do you all have in common? How does it feel to have a group of friends?
  2. While friendship groups can be healthy and made up of people who share common interests, a clique can be something entirely different. A clique is a group of friends that can be mean to other kids. Here are some of the things kids in cliques might say:
    • “Oh, he wears clothes from THAT store.”
    • “We don’t hang out with people like THAT.”
    • “If she hangs out with THAT girl, we’re not going to be friends with her.”
  3. (Note: You may wish to record these statements on the board or on chart paper.)
  4. Take a minute to think about these statements. How would you feel if you heard someone say these things? Turn and talk to a partner to answer this question.
  5. Members of cliques can sometimes be mean to other kids. Read the handout Left Out to learn about some of the negative effects of cliques.
  6. How can you make sure that cliques don’t make anyone feel left out in your classroom? As a class, create a list of rules about including others. Here are some rules you may want to think about using: If you see someone standing alone, invite them to join your group. When doing group work in class, try to pick new groups to work with. Say something nice to someone every day. Work with your classmates to write your own class rules. Post the list somewhere in the room where everyone can see it.
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