If you look up “the steps of problem solving” on Google, nearly every expert will tell you that the first step is to ‘define the problem’. While this may seem almost insultingly obvious, it's a step that is easily and often skipped.
As an example, let’s say your coworker arrives late every single day. What is the problem? The most basic answer? She’s late, of course! Lateness is the problem. Or is it?
What if, instead, lateness is actually a symptom of the true problem?
When rephrased this way, the issue--and the resulting solution--becomes far more complex. If the true problem is traffic, solutions could include going to bed earlier to make it easier to wake up earlier and beat traffic, or finding an alternate route to work. If, however, the true problem is that your coworker is dealing with a negative family situation that keeps her up late, disrupts the sleep, and delays her each morning, finding a backroads route to work will do little to solve her problem.
Defining the problem--the true problem--is the first step to good problem solving. This is just one of several reasons that schools, parents, students, and educators struggle with defeating bullying. Like the situation with your coworker, the question 'what is bullying?' is deceptively complex. Conflicts and teasing get mislabeled as bullying and true bullying is too often mislabeled as teasing or a conflict. Until the problem of bullying is well defined, students will continue to struggle to enact solutions.
To help you and your students tackle step 1 of solving the problem of bullying, we’ve put together this fun cut-and-sort printable activity. Keep scrolling to grab your free, downloadable copy.
Below is the definition of what bullying is, along with the definitions of 3 situations that are often mislabeled as bullying.
After discussing these 4 situations with your students, work together to decide if the scenarios described on the 'Is it Bullying?' worksheet are bullying, mean, teasing, or conflict, or use the worksheet as independent practice to assess student understanding. This worksheet can also easily be pasted into a notebook for easy reference.
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If you’re looking for picture books to help introduce the concept of bullying, check out the titles below:
Be an Upstander...It’s a phrase we give to students and encourage regularly--and for good reason. Studies show that 57% of the time, bullying stops within 10 seconds of peer intervention. Students standing up for other students has proven more effective than any other kind of intervention.
However, for a young child, standing up to a bully is anything but easy. In the heat of the moment, things like fear, uncertainty, shyness, and self-consciousness can quickly take over and render the bystander motionless.
Every child is different, which means some upstander strategies may work for one student and not the other. Children are not one-size-fits-all, so why should the strategies we teach them be any different?
In today’s post, we will be sharing instructions for how to put together a personalized Upstander Strategy Handbook with your students so that when they are faced with bullying, they know exactly what to do!
Scroll to the to download the FREE TEMPLATE!
Section 1: Definitions
The first section of the upstander handbook is a quick reference guide for students to help them remember the differences between bullying, joking, mean, and rude behavior so that they know when it is necessary to step in or find help.
This section also highlights the 4 roles in a bullying scenario-- the target, the person who bullies, the bystander, and the upstander--and lists some of the effects each of the behaviors can have on an individual.
Section 2: Upstander Strategies
This is the section of the book where students can really personalize the resource to meet their needs. The first page includes a basic list of upstander strategies that students can flip to for a quick reference. In the following pages, students have the opportunity to list their own personal reasons for being reluctant to intervene in a bullying scenario. As a class, choose a few of the most common reasons for being a bystander and talk through some ways to overcome students' fears.
In the third part of this section, students identify places where they have seen bullying occur. There is space to draw the scenario along with space to write a description of what is happening. Students should choose an upstander strategy that they think would be appropriate for the scenario described above. If they have any concerns about what might happen if they intervene, they should list those in the space provided.
The next page leaves space for students to draw a new scenario--one where they are an upstander! What do they predict will happen if they try the upstander strategy? How will things change for the better? If they are concerned something might go wrong, how can they prepare?
Space for 3 scenarios is included in the template provided, but students can create as many pages as they desire.
Now, each of your students has a book filled with upstander strategies made just for him or her! The books are small so that they can easily fit into a folder or backpack and be readily accessible if needed.
Would you try this in your classroom? Let us know in the comments!
Like this craft? Check out some of our other bullying prevention activities!
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
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