Here’s a new intervention idea aimed at identifying and preventing several types of bullying. It was sent to us by reader Brandon Menikheim, who earned a gift certificate to childtherapytoys.com for the submission. Learn how you can do the same!
- Students will be able to define Self-Esteem in order to better understand the effects of bullying both personally and empathetically.
- Students will be able to define Bullying in order to identify true examples of bullying behavior.
- Students will be able to identify the 4 forms of bullying in order to classify situations into those categories.
Copy of the story, “The Maligned Wolf.” The story can be read aloud to the students or narrated for the students to act out. If acting out, supply students with necessary props such as a red hood, picnic basket, etc. Visual aids should be supplied and posted in a prominent location for the students to refer to. Visual aids that are appropriate for this lesson include: bullying definition (including definitions for the various forms of bullying) and self esteem definition. A Styrofoam cup filled with water, pencil, small tub to capture water, and band-aids will also be needed.
Prepare the students for the lesson by encouraging them to listen for two things in the story you are about to read. Inform the students that the story will be similar to one they are probably familiar with, and challenge them to figure out what story that is. Warn the students that the story they are about to hear is going to be a little different from the story they are used to, and ask them to listen carefully and identify the parts of the story that make it different from the original.
Read aloud to the students the story of “The Maligned Wolf, ” and allow students to act the story out as you narrate in order to increase engagement. Upon completion of the story, revisit the challenge questions posed to the students. Determine if the students are able to make the connection between “The Maligned Wolf” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” Question what makes this story so much different. Draw attention to who the actual narrator in the story is and begin a discussion about the importance of point of view in all situations. Most importantly, focus on how the actions of Little Red might be seen from the wolf’s point of view. Students naturally migrate to explaining Little Red’s actions as mean, and that she appears to be a bully.
Ask students to explain what it means to be a bully. Have them define what bullying means to them, then present them with the following definition of bullying: “Bullying is when a person hurts someone’s body, feelings or things, or frightens someone on purpose again and again.” Lead a discussion with the students about how Little Red’s actions fit this definition of bullying. Draw attention to the latter part of the definition which states that bullying is on intentional and happens repeatedly. Highlight the fact that Little Red’s actions are classified as bullying because they happened in multiple situations, and were not simply a onetime occurrence.
Students typically recognize that saying mean things to each other can become a form of bullying. Explain to the students that the things we say are a specific form of bullying called Verbal Bullying. Provide a visual definition of verbal bullying to the students. Allow the students to work in their cooperative learning groups to discuss other forms of bullying. After several minutes of brainstorming, ask students to share what their group discussed. As students share examples of bullying, use chart paper to group the examples together into categories. Connect them to the other forms of bullying: Physical Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Social/Emotional Bullying. Provide visual definitions for each form of bullying.
Pose the question to the students, what happens to someone who is bullied? Expand on the common answers of “It makes them feel sad.” Explain the concept of self-esteem and provide a visual definition of the term. Encourage the students to connect the concept of self-esteem with the story of “The Maligned Wolf.” Guide the students into understanding that sadness is a result of low self-esteem, and that confidence and happiness are associated with high self-esteem. Explain to them that low self-esteem can be a result of bullying in the sense that each remark or action lowers a person’s self-esteem a little bit more, until eventually they may not have a good opinion of themselves.
Introduce the Styrofoam cup filled with water. Connect the term self-esteem to the cup of water by illustrating to the students that the cup is like a person, and the water is their self-esteem. Before mean actions are taken towards that person, their “cup” is full, meaning they are happy and confident. Intrigue the students by telling them we are going to try to keep our cup full of water, even after being bullied. Call students up in pairs to accept the challenge. One student from the pair will be the bully and present an example of bullying and then classify it in one of the four forms of bullying discussed. After the student successfully gives an example of bullying, he or she will poke a hole in the cup with the pencil. The second student will be the problem solver, and he or she will need to quickly cover the hole up with a band aid. In addition, the problem solver will need to present the class with a solution to bullying. What is something someone can do to help stop bullying?
Upon completion of the activity, show the students the end result. Ask a volunteer to explain to the class how much water is left in the cup. Then, hold the cup up and allow the students to note that even with the band-aids, the punctures are still slowly leaking through them. Ask the students what they think will eventually happen with water in the cup. Apply the same concept to bullying and self-esteem. Explain to students that similar to the way the water continues to the leak out of the cup, our self esteem still gets lower even after the bullying incident is over. Many times people forgive others for their actions, but forgetting is impossible. The only true solution to bullying is prevention; we must stop it before it starts. Be the person who doesn’t say or do mean things to anyone else, because once you do, you can’t fix the scars that those actions have left on that person.
Provide students with a take-home message describing today’s activities to parents to encourage carry-over conversations. Supply guardians with various questioning topics to allow for genuine conversation at home about the topic discussed.