December 28, 2016

Bully Bundle Super Pack!

My students throw the word bully around loosely these days. Multiple times a day I have students tell me someone is bullying them, only to find out that someone was just teasing them one time on the playground or in class. Not that this isn’t hurtful, but it is far from bullying.

We have to educate our students and the angry parents whose child told them they were being bullied, what bullying really means and what it entails. We have to teach them the difference between someone being a bully and someone being mean.
 One of my goals this year has been to teach my students the difference between a true case of bullying and a person who isn't very nice. Here's how I've been going about that... 

Individuals:

We have very few true blue bullies at my school. The two students that we do have who are not very nice pretty frequently who some may label as a bully, I chose to work with individually. In my experience, most kids don’t become a bully for fun, there is usually more to the story. Individual sessions seem to work better as they allow them to be more comfortable and occasionally vulnerable. 

We usually only do one to three sessions together.

Session #1:
After some small talk and getting to know each other a bit, we play with the “Seven Types of Bullying Cube” so I can understand the student’s knowledge of what exactly is considered bullying. 


After we take turns back and forth providing examples and taking guesses at what that type of bullying may be, we go over the “Seven Types of Bullying” posters. We read and discuss them and I ask the student if they can think of specific examples of the type of bullying, if they’ve ever seen or experienced it, etc.


Session #2:
We quickly review the seven types using the “Seven Types of Bullying Cootie Catcher”. 

We then read and discuss the “What is Bullying Book” (it is a poster set that I bound together with keyrings to create a book). There are two types of books with the same information that feature different clipart characters. I let the student pick which one they want to use. 


After a thorough discussion, I give them a blank copy of the book and we go page by page trying to figure out the answers. 


Once finished, I let them color the book for a bit while we continue to talk and form a bond. 

Session #3:
We review all that we learned and if they want, they sign the pledge card and I give them a bookmark keepsake.

Depending on the student and their needs, we may spend extended time together and follow the small group plan, just the two of us. 

Small Groups:

I chose a group of students from each grade level that are known to throw around the word bullying frequently and created various small groups so that we could really dive deep into the material. Listening to each other and bouncing around ideas allows them to connect to the ideas differently than if they only participated in a whole class guidance lesson.

Session #1:
After we establish the purpose of the group and our group norms, we get to know each other a bit with some type of icebreaker activity. I like to switch these up every time I meet with a group of students. It keeps it fresh for me; it’s interesting to see how different icebreaker activities create different dynamics and interactions.

After we are all comfortable, we play with the “Seven Types of Bullying Cootie Catcher”. We sit in a circle and each student gets a turn. They turn to their right and ask the person next to them the question. We repeat until everyone has had at least two turns (hopefully time allows). I use this to gauge the group’s knowledge of the different types of bullying. It lets me know what I need to focus on most with each group. 


Session #2:
After we review our norms, and have a quick icebreaker such as telling our highs and lows for the week, we utilize the Seven Types of Bullying Cube.” It really gets the conversation started.


We then use “What is Bullying Book” (poster set made into a book) and discuss each page. At the end, students should have a pretty good understanding of the criteria for bullying and what bullying really means. I try to lead us into a thorough discussion of each of the ideas and topics included.


Session #3:
Once students are reminded of the group norms, and our icebreaker is finished (an example of something new we learned that week-doesn’t have to be related to our group) we dive into the workbook. I make black and white copies ahead of time and give one to each student. We go page by page, filling in as much information as the group remembers. Once finished, we refer back to the book we used in the previous session and fill in missing information. 


Session #4:
This is my favorite session of the group. It is so interactive and fun! I place the “Does this fit the criteria for Bullying” Situation Cards upside down in a pile in the middle of our group circle. Students take turns picking a card, reading it to the person on their right and patiently waiting for an answer. Once the answerer is finished, the questioner has the opportunity to add to their answer. Once both are done, the answerer picks a card turns to their right and continues the cycle until we run out of time. 



Session #5:
Now that we understand the concept of bullying, the criteria for bullying, explored various bullying situations and have discussed our experiences with bullying, we learn about the seven types of bullying. I show them the poster set, which I also bind with keyrings. I find it makes it easier to keep and handle if they are bound together as I have limited wall space in my office to work with and display posters. It is also more relatable if the students can work with the information as they hold and manipulate the posters.


Session #6:
I like to have an open conversation about what the students learned, what they liked and any questions or concerns they still have. I like to have all the materials we utilized during our time together out so that we can review everything we learned and refer back if there are questions.

Once we feel good about the information and I feel they clearly understand the difference between a bully and someone who just plain isn’t nice, we sign our pledge cards (if they so choose) and they pick out their favorite keepsake bookmark. 


Whole Group Guidance Lessons:

I love whole group lessons. You have the opportunity to impact a student and never even know it. What you teach can stick with many of them and has the potential to change their classroom climate way after you leave. That’s a really awesome feeling.

I like to complete a two part lesson (assuming the teacher will allow me to use that much class time). We have really great teachers and I am thankful that they look at what I have to teach as valuable and let me have so much access to their precious little babies.

Lesson #1:
We take about 10 minutes to discuss the concept of bullying vs. being mean and review the “What is Bullying” posters. I put each poster, one by one, under the overhead projector as we discuss the written concepts. It leads to some very thoughtful discussion.

Then we play with the situation cards as a class. I place them upfront, face down in a pile. I call four students at a time who come to the front, pick a card, read the question out loud and then provide an answer. The class discusses the scenario and the provided answer and kindly add on or help guide students who are struggling. This activity makes for great conversation and many learning moments. It provides a safe place to explore different scenarios and ask questions. 

When my time is up, I leave each student with a bookmark, there are alot of different designs to choose from, 


and hang a “Bully Safe Classroom” Tag outside the classroom door (if the teacher approves). I let the teacher choose from the different color options.


Lesson Two:
I try to come back after a few weeks. I have them start by playing with the cootie catchers in groups of 2-4 for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on their level of engagement. This is a mini review that gets them talking and thinking about the criteria for bullying as well as the various bullying types. I make these ahead of time so I can utilize more time with the class. 

Now having an understanding of bullying and its criteria, we learn about the different types of bullying. This is always eye opening for the students because sometimes there are ways to bullying and alienate people in which they had not thought of, realized or been previously exposed to. It makes them aware of ways they may have “bullied” others or made them uncomfortable without even knowing it.

I start the lesson by displaying each of the “Seven Types of Bullying” Posters on the projector and then explaining and discussing each type. Depending on the age and maturity of the group, I may opt out of discussing sexual bullying.

After I feel the students have got it, I have the students work in groups again rolling the Bully Cube and describing the type of bullying they land upon. I circle the room and interact with each group making sure they have taken away something from our time together.
When I’m done, I leave each student with a bookmark and ask if I can hang a “Bully Safe Classroom” Tag outside the classroom door if the original tag is not still there (if something happened to the tag and it wasn’t removed for any reason).


That’s how I combat the bullying vs. being mean epidemic at my school. What do you all do? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions! Share them with me here or on any of my social media sites <3 


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