When teachers or students hear the word October, the first thing that comes to mind is Halloween. Yet this month is more than Halloween! In 2006, October was designated as the National Bullying Prevention Month. What more important topic could there be for a teacher to address at a crucial time of the school year?
- Pinterest site for anti-bullying classroom ideas and worksheets
- Kid Activities site: tips, articles, and advice on bullying
Here is a related book list, ranging from grades K–8:
The Skinny on Bullying (grades 4–8) by Mike Cassidy
The Bully Blockers Club by Teresa Bateman
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Jake Drake Bully Buster by Andrew Clements
Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric
Don’t Be a Bully, Billy: A Cautionary Tale by Phil Roxbee Cox
How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson
King of the Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Stop Picking on Me by Pat Thomas
We Can Work It Out: Conflict Resolution for Children by Barbara Polland
Here are some classroom activities to teach students about the harmful effects of bullying:
- Make a chart. Draw a line at the top. Then have the students brainstorm behaviors/words that “cross the line” into bullying.
- Put a strip of masking or blue tape across the length of a table or desk. Choose a student to squeeze toothpaste across the top of the tape. Then tell the student to put the toothpaste back in the tube. (It can’t be done and that is what happens with the words or actions of a bully! The damage can’t be taken back.)
- Trace the body of a student. Have students brainstorm the words of a bully. Afterwards, crinkle up the paper and post it on the wall to illustrate the damage. Then, trace the body of a student again and have students brainstorm the words of a kind, supportive student. Hang that one up next to the other. (You could draw happy/unhappy faces on the bodies.)
- Role play scenes of times students feel they have been bullied. Discuss ways to respond and what to do after the occurrence.
- Have your students make posters to distribute around the school.
- Create a certificate/pledge for each student to sign. Or, make a classroom chart for students to sign and post in your classroom.
Alice Evans is a forty-year veteran National Board Certified elementary classroom teacher and a published author. She recently retired from the San Diego Unified School District and has published a children’s chapter book entitled Torrey Pines Summer.