Description: Write a short, dramatic speak-out message about the effects of bullying and how to take action against it. Deliver your message to an audience. Produce a class bully prevention collage.
Teaches: Writing persuasively about bully prevention; learning the difference between fact and opinion; researching bully-related topics; checking the reliability of research sources; and speaking to groups about bullying problems and solutions.
Helpful Hints: In preparation for the speak-out messages with younger children, you can read short articles or stories about how bullies hurt people and discuss suggestions about bully prevention listed in the articles and stories.
For a homework assignment for younger students, ask parents or homework helpers to find a picture book or chapter book in the library. Ask students to bring their books to school, along with a statement telling how the book taught them something about bullying and how to deal with it.
Choose a few books to read to the class, and ask students to give their statements about the books they brought in.
Ask older students to choose middle grade or young adult novels about bullying; write the titles and authors of the books on the board; and have students read short, interesting excerpts that will motivate the class to read the books. Also, ask older students to read grade-level appropriate articles from magazines or the Internet and to look at nonfiction books for their age range about bullying. Each group will discuss a specific aspect of bullying and will do their research on that topic. To avoid duplication of topics, approve topics ahead of time. Students will choose topics from a list that the class develops.
1. Explain how to test reliability of sources and to determine if the book, article, or Internet source used as a basis for the speak-out message comes from a reliable person or company. With younger children, explain the importance of the author’s knowledge about the subject. Discuss what makes a trustworthy source.
2. Discuss the difference between fact and opinion and why it’s important to back up opinion with facts.
Fact is proven and tested, while opinion is a person’s idea about the way he or she sees things. When you back opinion with facts, it helps a person know that what you’re saying is more believable.
3. As students give suggestions for group topics, list them on the board. Ask them to think of more topics than there are groups to give them a wider choice of topics for their speak-out messages. Help younger students break down the topics into subtopics since each group member will give a message on a different aspect of the main topic. Older students will divide the main topic into subtopics when they meet in groups.
1. Students will use the articles and nonfiction books they’ve read to give a factual basis to their speak-out messages about bullying and how to stop it (Some of the fiction books may also have a factual basis).
2. Every student in the group researches one source and refers to it when delivering an individual three- to five-minute speak-out message on the group topic. The speak-out message is based on fact, and students promote a powerful anti-bully message and solution based on the facts and their own opinions.
Sample Speak-Out Message (3 minutes) for an Upper Elementary or Middle School Class
Everyone needs to get involved in fighting the bullying problem now. This means that parents and everyone in the schools, including teachers, counselors, custodians, bus drivers, and the principal must contribute. The Newark Unified School District in California (Board Study Session, 2007) asks parents to sign an anti-bullying pledge to help stamp out bullying at school.
The school also asks students to sign a pledge to help build a school that honors differences and teaches tolerance. An important part of that pledge states that students will encourage teachers to talk about bullying in class. I believe that everyone must play a part in fighting bullying. If we see someone hurting another person physically or emotionally, it’s important to get involved by saying something to stop it. If we can’t handle it alone, we need to tell an adult.
I liked this quote by Albert Einstein in the anti-bullying tips I read on the web: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Let’s all get together and do something to stop bullying now.
3. Each group hands in a copy of their individual speeches and a list of books, articles, and Internet sources with bibliographical information and a brief summary of each source they consulted to write their speak-out messages. As an alternative, students can list the works they consulted in the body of their speeches.
1. Ask the students to state which speak-out message most grabbed their attention and to tell why. Ask them to think of different ways to tell other students about these messages. Have students write one important fact they learned from each group’s speak-out message.
2. Ask students to listen carefully to another group’s speak-out message that they would like to use to produce a class bully-prevention collage.
3. Ask them to write the messages down when they hear them. Then student volunteers will write the sentences on the collage and illustrate it for a hallway bulletin board.