To capture my students’ attention at the beginning of the lesson, I had them pretend that they were doctors (or counselors) and I was a 5th grade girl who was coming to see them because I’ve been so sad lately. I said, “You know when are sick or having problems you go to see a doctor or a counselor? Well, today, I’m going to be the 5th grader and you are going to be my doctor. So pretend that I have just come into your office and sat down and you ask me what’s been bothering me. Once I tell you what’s wrong, your job is to sort through everything you hear and tell me what you think is causing my problems.” They were all very excited to be my doctor! J Here is what I said:
“My name is Abby and I haven’t been feeling good lately. I don’t want to go to school or even play in my basketball game on Saturday. I have to go to my dad’s house tonight but I don’t want to. He doesn’t understand any of my problems. This weekend my friends are having a sleepover, but I probably won’t even get an invitation, because last week at lunch everyone was having fun and all I wanted to talk about was my dog that died. All in all things just aren’t going well at all!”
Then, I asked students what they thought the root of my sadness was. Most students thought Abby was sad because her parents were divorced and her dad didn't understand her, her dog died, her friends weren't going to invite her to their sleepover, etc...They were a little surprised when I said, "Yes, those are all things that usually really upset students Abby's age, but in her case the thing that was bothering her the most was that other kids at school were calling her names everyday and bullying her. This is why she didn't want to come to school anymore." I explained to my students that in this "case study" Abby had serious problems, but none of them were more serious than being a victim of bullying. I think this helped them think of the effects of bullying in a different way than they had before.
Next we did an activity from the "No Name Calling Week" lesson plans, called Response Cards. Each student got a copy of these cards and cut them apart:
Then, we talked about ways to "take a stand" and who to "ask for help." I read them a couple bullying scenarios from the lesson plan and they held up which option they would do in that situation and we discussed each one as a class.
In my next lesson, students chose a typical bullying scenario and drew rough drafts of "Bully Comic Strips." I got the idea from this lesson in the "No Name Calling Week" plans. They had 4-6 blocks for their comic. The first box set up the setting for their bullying scenario and the second box included the bullying. In the third box the students were to illustrate a character either taking a stand or asking for help. And, in the fourth box, they drew the conclusion. We used Lego Comic Builder to create our comics. Here is my example: