Of all the posts on the Laughing Leopard Blog, one of the most popular by far is our series on integrating bullying prevention across the classroom--and with good reason! Between testing, lunch, recess, core subjects, specials such as art, music, and gym, teachers are pushed to- and sometimes, beyond- the limit on time and resources. Adding one more thing to the schedule, no matter how important, just doesn’t seem possible.
As we contemplated what to share this week for National Bullying Prevention Month, more ideas for integrating bullying prevention into the classroom seemed liked a no-brainer!
In today’s post, we will share a few fun bullying-prevention lessons that can easily be integrated into your current curriculum. While they do not cover every age and subject, we hope these lessons will act as a jumping-off point for your own social-emotional tie-ins.
An important part of being a good writer is understanding what makes your characters tick. By understanding their moods, thoughts, opinions, and personalities, you are able to understand how they would realistically react to conflict and other characters, helping you create a believable and relatable experience for your readers.
This fun writing exercise helps children practice character development, challenging them to rewrite a well-known story from the perspective of a different character. In doing so, they gain greater insight into the character while practicing the process of writing and developing a character themselves.
As students write from the perspective of another, they learn that other people sometimes see the world differently than they do. Everyone has unique experiences and hardships that influence what they do and how they do it. When teaching this lesson, introduce the idea of empathy and encourage your students to spend some time after the assignment journaling their thoughts about the ways their classmates’ perspectives and experiences might be different than their own and how this might influence their personal stories.
Play around with the experiment by placing some of the flowers in water with nutritious plant food and others in a beverage such as coffee. Record the differences and hypothesise what may be the cause.
As you work this experiment with your students, compare the water and beverages to the way others treat us. The words and actions of others can affect our health, both mental and physical, just like the water and its nutrients determine the health of the plant. When we are fed negative words, they don’t just bounce off. Like the water, they become a part of us and impact the way we see ourselves and the way others see us. Encourage your students to select their words and actions with care and help one another grow with nutritious words of kindness.
History is jam-packed with upstanders, people who saw injustice occurring around them and decided to stand up and do something. History is also, unfortunately, packed with countless bystanders who turned a blind eye or were too afraid to step in, when they witnessed others being harmed. As you teach through these events, take a moment to discuss why people allowed such atrocities to happen, and how others found the courage to take action to stop them.
Relate the events in your history book to real issues the students are dealing with today and talk through ways they can follow in the footsteps of heroes such as Martin Luther King, Miep Gies, or Harriet Tubman. Have students select a history hero and place them in a modern day scenario. How would he or she react and why?
This next project is designed to help students learn more about their peers and come to a better understanding of the meaning of community.
Pair students off and have them interview one another. What do they like to do and why? What are they good at? What is something not many people know about them? Next, students will draw a portrait of their partner that reflects what they have learned. In the background they should include colors, items, and experiences described by their partner.
For a project with a shorter time window, assign each student a word. Some of the words should be kind, others mean. Students will then paint a visual representation of their assigned word. Once complete, have each student share his or her painting with the class, explaining their artistic choices.
Following the presentations, open a discussion on words. While we cannot see them, we all clearly understand that words carry emotions, influence, and power. As we speak to those around us, we must be careful with how we wield these tools.
On the surface, it may seem that math has little to no connection to bullying prevention; however, the world of numbers and figures can do a lot to teach teamwork and togetherness.
One fun game to play is “Same but Different”. This game gives children practice in going back and forth between fractions and decimals as well as practice in simplifying fractions.
To play, pass out a stack of cards to each student. The cards will have either a fraction or a decimal number on the front. Students must then go around the room and find the people with cards representing the same quantity. This includes students with variations of the same fraction (½ and 2/4 for example).
Here is where the social-emotional learning begins. Once a student finds a number partner, they must find one thing they have in common with that person and write it on the back of their card. By the end of class, your students will have practiced their fractions and decimals and also learned more about their classmates. Talk about how, though we all look different on the outside, there is a lot we have in common, just like the fractions and decimals. We are all people with thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We all have happy memories and sad memories. We all have hopes and fears. More often than not, we can find at least one thing we have in common with those around us. As we interact with one another, remember to treat each other as we would want to be treated.
Let us know if you try any of these activities in your classroom and how they worked for you! If you’re looking for more ways to integrate bullying prevention into your classroom, check out the blogs below.
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
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