Description: Consider how to respond when a bully bothers you for the first time. List verbal put-downs and what you’d say in response.
Teaches: Responding assertively to bullying; deciding when bullying is serious enough to warrant adult intervention; and using effective responses to combat bullying.
Helpful Hints: These activities address the first time one child tries to intimidate another with bullying behavior or makes nasty remarks on a onetime basis. They do not include physical bullying or serious or persistent verbal bullying, which would necessitate immediately informing a responsible adult.
1. Have the class think of things to say and do when a bully makes uncomplimentary remarks for the first time or on a one-time basis. Ask students to think of a bullying situation and have them think of words that would provide a suitable response to a bully.
One student calls another an uncomplimentary name based on height or weight—the student says: “I don’t like you saying that” and walks away. A student makes fun of another child’s clothes—the student says: “I think they’re fine” and moves on. A student calls a special needs student retarded—the student says: “Stop saying that” and leaves the scene.
2. Write students’ ideas on the board. Have the students vote on the most effective wording; put a star next to the top four ideas.
1. Ask students to think of a time they’ve seen a bully say something insulting to them or to another child that caught the child by surprise. What words did the bully use, and how did the child respond?
2. Ask them to list what the bully said and what the child said or did in return. Then ask them to think of their own short responses to the insulting behavior.
3. Also, ask the group to decide at what point they should tell an adult instead of handling the problem on their own.
When they feel they need more support When the bullying continues or gets worse When the bullying gets physical or the verbal bullying becomes severe
1. Ask students to list five verbal put-downs that a bully might use initially to insult another child. Have the students write at least five sentences that tell how they might react to each put-down.
“You can’t throw a ball.” “I’m getting better with practice.”
“You’re really dumb; you know that? “I think I’m pretty smart, and that’s what counts.”
“You talk funny.” “That’s my accent, and it’s part of me.”
2. Have students share their ideas with the class. Ask the class to state more responses to counter the verbal put-downs.