How to Eat Fried Worms Social Skills Lesson on Friends

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The Lesson Plan for How to Eat Fried Worms

Ryan Malgarini. Denise Truscello/Getty Images

Many students with developmental disabilities have difficulty with understanding and acting within the context of peer relationships.  They sometimes only interact with adults because their peers may appear to be like aliens.  They often understand friendship in a general way but don't understand the behaviors that are part of being a "good friend." 

At the same time, students with developmental disabilities love all media.  Children with autism may sometimes script (a form of echolalia) the whole script of a favorite movie or television show.  In a self-contained classroom, you can have a "movie day" as a reward for completing work or acquiring points (or marbles:  see the Marble Jar.)  Many districts will permit you to show a commercial movie if it is supported by a lesson plan and aligns to your student's IEP's.  That's what I'm supplying you here.  

In an inclusion setting, you might have students (4-6th grade) read the book How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockford.  Then, following the viewing of the movies, have students create Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast the book and the movie (a common core state standard.


Students will identify the qualities of a friend, naming behaviors that a friend exhibits to his or her friends.


  • A video of the movie How to Eat Fried Worms.
  • Chart paper with the outline of a person
  • Markers
  • Build a Friend worksheet
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Procedure for the Lesson

A worksheet for the activity. Websterlearning


  1. Review How to Eat Fried Worms. Discuss:
    • Why was Billy afraid to go to school on the first day?
    • Who else was worried about making friends?
    • Why did all of the boys join Billy's team, instead of staying on Joe's team?
    • Who was a good friend, Billy or Joe?
  2. Bring classes attention to the chart paper. Say: "We're going to build a friend. What shall we name our friend? (Boys will choose a boys name. If you have a mix of boys and girls, give it a unisex name, like Taylor, and a pigtail on the side, a cowlick on the other.
  3. Ask for things that a friend does with their head (trust, listen, compliment,) with their hands (play, help, share) and with their feet (visit, play.)
  4. Have them copy the qualities on their worksheet.
  5. Have them write a quality they think is important on a post-it, and have them put it near the head, the hand or the feet.


Use the worksheet for "Build a Friend."  It may only be "copying" but choosing and practicing writing the qualities on the worksheet will engage them one more time.  And you have a product that provides feedback on the effectiveness of the lesson.

For a step beyond this lesson, follow up with Cartoon Strip Social Interactions, practicing greetings, requests to participate in an activity and other ways in which we come into the "friendship circle" You might also want to add some scenarios to have your students display the skills they have gained.