Beyond Bullying Prevention Month: Integrating bullying prevention throughout the classroom, all year long!
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, which means that bullying is a topic T.V shows, magazines, and organizations will be talking about regularly. Schools will have units on bullying prevention and people will participate in runs and walks to raise awareness about the issue. All October, bullying will be on everyone’s minds. This is wonderful! But what happens when October comes to an end?
When the organized festivities stop, does bullying also stop? Sadly, this is not the case. Yet, too often, we hold our bullying prevention assemblies and then move on to math classes, vocabulary tests, and science experiments while the topic of bullying is pushed to the back burner. Many teachers recognize this problem, but are unsure of a solution when there is so much other material that must be covered throughout the school year. But what makes us think we have to choose one or the other? The truth is there are myriad ways to integrate lessons on bullying and bullying prevention directly into other academic lessons already being taught. With a bit of creativity, in fact, this integration can even improve those lessons!
Integrating bullying prevention into other subject matter helps students to see the real-world application of the lessons they are learning.
Math may seem intangible, but the idea of 1 in 3 students being bullied daily is a reality that children can see.
This integration also helps children to see that bullying prevention isn’t just a slogan or something trite they are forced to listen to in school. Bullying is about human relations and this does not end in school, nor do the effects of bullying. By integrating these lessons throughout the classroom, we show that this is a vital topic that can affect every part of life.
To give you some inspiration, here are some ideas for integrating bullying prevention education throughout the classroom. These ideas can be scaled up or down to work with children of all ages:
Art is probably one of the first subjects that comes to mind when trying to integrate bullying prevention. Art can be expressive, therapeutic, or socially active, and from painting to acting to drawing, there is something for everyone. Here are a few ideas for integrating bullying prevention into your art class:
Words have such incredible power for expression, making Language Arts another perfect subject for integration. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Math may seem far removed from bullying, however it is a very helpful tool to help us understand the true effects of bullying. Here are some ways to integrate math and bullying prevention:
Science helps us make sense of the world around us, making it a perfect subject to integrate with bullying prevention education.
Music is a powerful tool for expression and change:
Community and Leadership
Civil engagement is important and should be taught at an early age. Here are some ways to build leadership skills and teach about community involvement while also teaching bullying prevention:
This is another subject with nearly endless possibilities. Below are just a few ideas of many:
Investigate and report on different types of bullying, causes, effects, etc, and report it to the class. This can be used in any subject. Take this opportunity to highlight the importance of seeking out information for one’s self rather than simply believing what one hears or is told. Encourage students to seek out the truth rather than spreading rumors.
Lunch and Recess
Extend the lessons beyond the regular classroom and encourage students to sit with someone new at lunch or learn someone else’s game at recess. Learn games from other cultures and show students how different can be fun and make life more interesting.
I hope these ideas inspired you to integrate bullying prevention education throughout your classroom all year long! Bullying isn’t just something that happens in school and it isn’t something that just happens to children. Bullying can happen anywhere at any time and at any age. By boxing bullying prevention into a single day or a single lesson, we are being unrealistic and doing our children a disservice. Instead, let’s continue this vital lesson throughout the year and connect it to real people and experiences. Rather than just teaching our children about the world, let’s also teach them to change it.
Which of these ideas do you like the most? Do you have any special ways of integrating bullying prevention into your classroom this year? Let us know in the comments!
Looking for a good book to integrate bullying prevention into your classroom? Check out This is A. BlobThis is A. Blob, by L.A. Kefalos!
This is A. Blob is a masterfully illustrated picture book suitable for children ages 4-8. Written by L.A. Kefalos, author of several animated shorts, including “Who’s that Knocking,” “Chug,” and “Croc, Pots and Wildebeests,” which was nominated for Best Independent Short Short, Ages 5-8, at the 2009 Kid’s First Film Festival and for best short at The Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival, This is A. Blob is the first of a series following this bully. This first installment follows the antics of A. Blob, a slimy, purple, blob-like creature who wreaks havoc on the elementary school playground with its bullying ways. As the story progresses, however, readers learn that A. Blob may have more to it than meets the eye. Along with its powerful illustrations and rhymed verse for early readers, this story invites children to put themselves in the shoes of another. The book encourages readers to consider why bullies behave the way they do – and start to consider what can be done to help
When most people think of October, Halloween and scary masks are some of the first things that come to mind. However, October is also a month to recognize a far more frightening reality: Bullying. October 1st marks the beginning of National Bully Prevention Month, a campaign started in 2006 by the PACER’s National Bully Prevention Center to bring awareness to the issue of bullying and bully prevention. Throughout the month of October, communities all over the country unite to educate those around them about what bullying looks like, the long term effects of bullying, and what can be done to prevent this epidemic from spreading.
National Bully Prevention Month is only a piece of PACER’s National Bully Prevention Center, which is a branch of the PACER Center, an advocacy and resource center for parents of children with disabilities. In 2000, the PACER Center began receiving more and more calls from parents whose children were being bullied as a result of their disabilities. These parents felt at a loss and were desperate for resources to guide them through this difficult situation. In response, the PACER center began creating curriculum and guides to help parents and children with disabilities respond to bullying situations. By 2005, the center could see the positive impact their work was having and decided that these resources needed to be available to all children, not just those with disabilities. In 2006, PACER’s National Bully Prevention Center was born. Today, the center is a hub of resources and a leader in bully prevention, partnering with individuals and organizations such as Bethany Mota, Disney, Green Giant, and Frito-Lay to bring an end to bullying.
One question you may be asking: “is it really necessary to have an entire center dedicated to bully prevention? Is bullying really that big of a problem?” Sadly, yes. Recent studies report that 1 in 4 children experience bullying in the U.S. and 30% of young people admit to having acted as a bully. Perhaps more frightening is the fact that this behavior has been reported among children as young as 3. From poor grades, depression, dysfunctional future relationships, anxiety, heart issues, weight difficulties, and even a higher tendency toward criminal activity, the effects of bullying, on both victims and bullies, can be far reaching and can last a lifetime.
The numbers aren’t all bad, though. It has also been shown that in 57% of cases, bullying stops when a peer intervenes and school based prevention programs have decreased bullying incidents by 25%.
Change is happening.
The best part of all: you can be a part of that change! PACER’s National Bully Prevention Center provides a wide variety of ways you can get involved in National Bully Prevention Month and join with thousands of other throughout the country to end bullying and bring help to those who have been bullies or who are bullies themselves. Here are a few ways you can get involved:
These are just a few of nearly limitless options for raising awareness about bullying. Find a way to use your gifts and talents like these kids did! The important thing is to spread the word. What ideas do you have for ways to celebrate National Bully Prevention Month this year? Let us know in the comments!
In celebration of National Bully Prevention Month, we will be highlighting a different bully prevention organization, author, or individual working towards bringing bullying to an end each week this month on Laughing Leopard Blog! Our first feature will be an interview with L.A. Kefalos, author of This is A. Blob, a picture book featuring a sticky, purple bully named A. Blob, who may have more to him than first meets the eye. Check back here next week for exclusive insights into what inspired L.A. to write This is A. Blob and what message she would like to convey to her readers!
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!
This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. $14.95
$1.00 is donated to charity for each book sold on this site--half to St. Jude's and the other half to PetFix Northeast Ohio.