Description: Brainstorm your best ideas to counteract common bullying problems. Groups discuss their ideas with the class. Write a journal entry about bullying problems and solutions.
Teaches: Character education (self-reliance in dealing with problems); problem solving; writing (journaling) to generate solutions to problems; speaking in front of groups; and logical progression of ideas.
Helpful Hints: Before you begin the activity, discuss types of bullying situations the children have experienced or witnessed in school, on the playground, cafeteria, on the bus, or in their neighborhoods. School and playground bullying may include a child ridiculing a classmate who gets good grades; a classmate in an inclusion class blocking a special needs child from going down a sliding board; or a group of students excluding a child from a game.
Bullying in the cafeteria includes throwing food at another student or telling another child he or she cannot sit at a certain table. Neighborhood bullying may include ignoring other children or not inviting them to participate in group activities. Ask what types of responses to the episodes have worked best to diffuse the situations and to prevent them from happening in the future.
1. Have the class brainstorm a bullying situation they’ve experienced or have seen others experience. Write (or have a student write) each situation on the board. Leave enough space to write possible solutions to each bullying problem. Here are two examples: a classmate demands to look at your test answers or someone calls you a name or hits you.
2. Ask the class to brainstorm a list of things they would be willing to try in order to cope with each bullying episode. As the class dictates, write the corresponding ideas on the board next to each situation.
1. Students meet in small groups to brainstorm bullying problems they’ve experienced or witnessed at school, at home, or in the neighborhood.
School : teasing someone because of appearance
home : bullying a sibling or another relative
neighborhood : ignoring or making fun of other children
Groups discuss possible solutions to each problem.
2. Each group chooses its two best situations and solutions and explains
them to the class. Allow ten to fifteen minutes for each group to report their ideas for solving the problem listed. Leave time for discussion.
Class members will relate a bullying situation they or a friend have experienced, or one they’ve heard about, and will write a journal entry describing the problem’s solution. Volunteers will tell the entire class their ideas for dealing with the problem they’ve listed. Class members will then give their own ideas for solutions to the problem.
Sample Journal Entry
Last week a group of girls at the next table told another girl who was overweight that they didn’t want her sitting with them. They told her that she had greasy hair and smelled bad and that they didn’t want her around. The girl looked like she was going to cry and got up to leave. A friend at my table said, “You can sit with us.” When she got to our table, my friend said, “You don’t want to be around those girls if they treat you that way.” My friend taught me that it’s important for people who see someone being bullied to get involved and to help in any way they can. Who knows when a bully will bother them and they’ll need help?