Learners define bullying and describe what bullying behavior looks and feels like. In contrast, they experience the feelings of being helpful and nice to peers when they need it.
Two 20-Minute Sessions
The learner will:
bullying: repeated teasing, hurting, or scaring of someone who seems different from oneself
bully: a person who likes to tease, hurt, or scare people. A bully often picks on smaller or weaker people.
a read-aloud copy of one of the books listed in the Bibliography
Hand out to all students a piece of paper and ask them to crumple it up (but without ripping it). Then have them unfold it, smooth it out, and look at how scarred it is now. Ask them whether they are able to bring the paper back to its original look and feel. Relate this to an incident where a child bullies another child. It is very hard to take back unkind looks, words, actions or behaviors. Ask the children what they might do to repair the paper. They may suggest ironing, turning it into a piece of art, or pressing it between heavy books. Tell them that in just a few seconds they could cause harm, but it takes more effort to restore the hurt. Apologies, acts of kindness, and other positive efforts can help the bullied person feel better--and possibly even become a friend. Discuss what kind of "emotional scars" bullying leaves on someone. Tell the students that in the next few days they will be learning strategies for avoiding bullying behavior.
Ask students to describe situations that can make people feel hurt and bad. Ask students to express how a person might feel in these situations.
Explain that all hurtful situations are not bullying. Explain that bullying is making people feel bad repeatedly and on purpose. Then share the following examples of hurtful behavior and discuss whether they qualify as bullying or not:
Note: Some of the following actions are deliberate, but not all of them show repeated behavior.
-- A student says aloud in your class that your idea is silly.
-- You shared your opinion with your classmates during a discussion and another student disagrees with what you said.
-- The same student cuts in front of you in the lunch line almost every day. (B)
-- A student makes fun of you often because of the clothes you are wearing. (B)
-- A student accidentally trips you on the playground and apologizes to you.
-- You ask your friend to sit next to you, but he chooses to sit next to someone else.
-- Students push other students in line for the swings at the playground.
After reading each example above, discuss with the students the following: How would that make you feel? Is it bullying? What can someone do in that situation?
Ask students to describe or draw how bullying makes them feel and how helping others makes them feel.
In this lesson, students discuss things they have observed and felt. They start brainstorming ways to share more positive messages.
Language Arts: Read and discuss picture books that have a theme of bullying or of students standing up for themselves. Suggestions include Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon by Patty Lovell and The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill.
Alexander, Clair. Lucy and the Bully. Albert Whitman & Company, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0807547861
Lovell, Patty. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon. Putnam Juvenile, 2001. ISBN-13: 978-0399234163
O'Neill, Alexis. The Recess Queen. Scholastic Press, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0439206372
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