Description: List specific things you can do to prevent others from bullying you before it starts. Refer to the list when your group writes short magazine articles. Write a letter of encouragement to a person facing bullying.
Teaches: Proactive bully prevention; character education (empathy for those facing bullying and becoming part of the solution for bullying problems); writing magazine articles about bully prevention; and deciding how to best disseminate bully prevention ideas to others.
Helpful Hints: Explain what it means to be proactive, to stop something before it has a chance to start. With bullies, it often means avoiding or ignoring them. Discuss examples in which students have been successful in preventing bullying or have seen others stop it by thinking ahead. Ask the class to list feeling words they might experience if they prevented a bully from striking.
Ask the class to think about situations in which it was impossible to avoid a bully. Suppose they did everything to avoid a bully and the person still harassed them. How should they react? What would they do next?
1. Discuss the importance of being prepared before a bully strikes. Ask the class to think creatively about how they can prevent bullies from bothering them. Start them off with some ideas: for example, avoid places where you know bullies might show up; build a strong support system of friends; don’t be alone when the bully’s around; stay near friends if you think someone’s around who might bother you; keep a low profile with someone who has bullied you in the past; stand and walk with strength and confidence; keep your voice steady and calm, and walk away from the bully if you can. If none of these things work and the bullying persists or gets worse, ask an adult you trust for help.
2. Write all the ideas on the board, and have the students debate why each one would work or not work. Ask them to explain why some suggestions would work in certain circumstances and not in others.
3. Discuss why writing a short magazine article might be a positive way to help stop bullying before it starts.
It’s brief and makes its point quickly.
It’s easy to understand and use.
Other students can easily learn from it.
1. Small groups will write short, age-appropriate children’s magazine articles. They will illustrate the articles with their own drawings or pictures cut from magazines. They will write an original title:
Clip a Bully’s Wings
Who’s Afraid of a Big, Bad Bully?
Stop Bullying Before it Starts
Break the Bullying Chain.
2. Groups will design and illustrate a magazine cover for the article, giving their magazine a title and featuring their article with a one-sentence blurb on the cover.
3. Students will incorporate at least five suggestions for preventing bullying in the article (two ideas they learned from the class discussion and three original ideas) and explain how they’ll implement these suggestions.
4. They will end their articles with words of encouragement to students who want to learn how to stop bullying before it begins.
5. Ask students how they think they can make the most effective use of their articles.
Distribute them to other classes.
Ask the local newspaper to print segments of articles, possibly with a feature article about bullying.
Sponsor a newspaper or schoolwide contest to choose the best article.
6. Work with another teacher to have your classes compose articles that stress proactive bully prevention techniques. Display articles outside your classrooms and on parents’ night.
Using one idea from the group’s articles, students will write a letter of encouragement to a real or imaginary student who has started experiencing mistreatment from a bully. Mention things the student can do to prevent the bullying from getting worse. Collect revised letters and place them in a folder to give the counselor, who will share the letters with students facing bullying.
Today we wrote articles about keeping bullies away. I thought you might want to know one of the tips our group wrote about. We’ve been friends for a long time. You can tell me it’s none of my business, but I saw kids in gym making fun of you because you had trouble shooting a basket.
Why not think of some things you can do before those kids do something worse? You might want to try acting like they’re not getting to you. Another thing you can do is try to build up your confidence on the court so you don’t get nervous when you play. We can shoot some baskets together at my house for practice.
If I can help, let me know.