Face-to-face, cyberspace, and everywhere in between, bullying is a real issue in today’s youth culture. October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and we need to bring that awareness into our classrooms so that our students are UPstanders and not BYstanders, bullies, or targets. My school has participated in and provided some awesome activities and resources for bullying awareness, and I’ve combed through tons of online resources to try and curate a collection of tools for you to use in your classroom for Bully Prevention Awareness.
It’s great to see our school taking such a proactive stand on bullying prevention and awareness. We have banded together with our other district schools and the community as a whole to create opportunities for bullying awareness beyond just the month of October. Below are a few of our most successful efforts thus far (teacher-tested, kid-approved).
School-wide Stickers: For the month of October, our school provided stickers for all students to wear to show their support for and remind students to be aware of and prevent bullying.
Wear Blue: To kick off our month of awareness, everyone wore blue to support bullying awareness and prevention (including staff). It makes quite an impact when everyone is banding together in an effort like this, even though wearing the same color and/or stickers are very simple gestures.
Student Pledge: Throughout our school, the anti-bullying pledge is displayed on poster-sized signs, in both English and Spanish. Different grade level students (grades 3-5) take turns leading the school in the bullying awareness pledge daily during announcements. The rest of the students say the pledge from their classes along with the announcers. Again, this shows a unified front towards this effort.
Meaningful Musical: Our Golden Apple award-winning music teacher is amazing, and she makes her musical performances meaningful and relevant beyond just the tunes kids are singing and dance moves being performed. One year, the entire fourth grade worked hard to learn, practice, and perform a musical centering on the topic of rumors, focusing on how rumors start, spread, and HURT. Students were reminded to T.H.I.N.K. before saying things to/about others.
See the poster to the left to discover what T.H.I.N.K. stands for and to access a FREE printable version (courtesy of Pinterest). The performance was amazing, and we still reference the messages taken from the musical today when we speak of these topics.
Metaphors were used to symbolically illustrate the effects of rumors. Feathers represented how rumors spread quickly and can never be fully taken back. Fire and swords represented how words can hurt and cut others. Using visual symbols for the discussions about actions and feelings really helped the students relate to the concepts.
See another GREAT musical message about bullying prevention from young artist, Mike Tompkins. CLICK HERE to see the video and sing along. Your kids will LOVE it!
Stand Up to Bullying Assembly: We had a great anti-bullying assembly for our entire school. While you may not have the opportunity for an assembly on this topic at your school, I wanted to share two acronyms used in the assembly that help students remember important info about bullying.
If YOU are being bullied, remember to S.M.I.L.E: Stay cool, Make eye contact (take a positive posture), Identify the attack (verbal, physical, extorting, cyber, etc), Lead positive conversation, Erase the attack.
If you WITNESS bullying, you can be a H.E.R.O: Help out (get involved), Empathize (identify with the victim), Respond with proper action and report the incident. Open communication (talk about it with the victim).
We have a Structured Teaching Education Program (STEP) at our school. These amazing teachers do great awareness presentations in our classrooms to support inclusion of students from the STEP program within the general education setting. As part of this and other activities led by our awesome STEP teachers, they have students participate in an amazing activity that I wanted to share so that you could recreate it with your own students. You only need a few items, and it’s super simple….but even more impactful.
Body outline document. CLICK HERE to download or have your students lie down on butcher paper and trace their own bodies
Pencil, pen, marker, crayons, or other writing tools (your choice!)
Directions: There are many different ways to complete this activity. The instructions below are basic, so feel free to modify and enhance as you wish!
1) Copy enough of the body papers for each student to have one.
2) As a class, you can brainstorm hurtful words/phrases people use and write them on the board (or not, optional).
3) Students write the hurtful words/phrases all over the blank body of their activity page.
4) Cut out the body.
5) Once the body is evenly filled with hurtful words and cut out, instruct students that they are to TEAR the paper body in each place where a hurtful word/phrase is written (only one tear per phrase, don’t tear every single word in a phrase).
6) Once students are finished, they will have a body that is ripped in several places.
7) Pass out Band-aids to students or tables of students.
8) Tell them to piece their paper body back together, attaching the ripped parts with Band-aids. You can have them say things like “I’m sorry,” or “I won’t do it again,” as they repair the paper body.
9) In the end the body will end up whole again…but never the same. The message is that the “wounds” and “scars” left behind by the cutting, ripping words cannot ever truly be taken back and can leave long-lasting effects…even if the person who has said them apologizes.
Especially in elementary grades, connecting emotional issues and social situations like bullying to picture books is a powerful tool. This takes an abstract, sensitive, and often confusing topic, and makes it tangible and relatable. Below are some books that I have found to be fabulous for teaching the social/emotional topics of self-identity, confidence, acceptance, and bullying. For even MORE books, check out my Pinterest board, "Stand Up to Bullying."
In case you’re new to my blog….I L-O-V-E Pinterest and collect so many teaching ideas on that social media outlet. When searching for ways to spruce up my bully awareness/prevention lessons, I naturally hit up Pinterest for inspiring ideas. I’ve created a “Stand Up to Bullying” board with a plethora of ideas and resources pinned therein. If you’d like to add pins to this board, please do! Just leave a comment with your Pinterest handle or email address and I’ll add you to the board. We can collaborate on bully prevention and awareness together…and that’s powerful. Check out the board for my pins thus far.
Watch an exclusive video with Taylor Swift about books and how reading and writing have influenced her.