Making an impact. It’s something we all strive towards, especially when talking about bullying. Research states that 1 in 5 children experience bullying and making an impact on this statistic is something towards which teachers, parents, and leaders have been working for many years. Along with equipping students with tools to deal with conflict and emotion from a young age so that they do not become bullies, educators have striven to also provide tools to those adjacent to the bullying--the bystanders.
While studies show that 20% of children are bullied, it also reveals that nearly 71% of children witness bullying. The encouraging news is that 57% of the time, that bullying ends within 10 seconds of peer intervention. This means that a large population exists which can be leveraged as a force for good.
But what happens when standing up to bullying (often referred to as being an upstander) goes wrong? Like fighting fire with fire, things can quickly go from bad to worse. While standing up to bullies is vital, doing so through the use of violence, mocking, or returning the bullying will only cause more trouble. So, as we teach children to be upstanders, it is just as important to teach them how to be upstanders.
In the picture book A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos, we once again meet A. Blob, the purple bully introduced in the 3-book series inaugural book, This is A. Blob. In this new tale, A. Blob is back to its bullying ways and, for a while, it seems like the children will never be able to ride the school bus in peace. That is, until one brave girl decides to take a stand. A. Blob on a Bus introduces the idea of being an upstander to young readers and opens the door for conversations on what to do when they see bullying occur. The companion craft below is designed to help leaders begin discussions about why it is important to stand up to bullying along with how to do this in a positive way.
The kids will love making their own "A. Blobs" and you will love the learning happening along the way!
MAKING AN IMPACT
A companion craft for A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos
Step 1: Read A. Blob on Bus out loud
Step 2: Open a discussion about the story. How did A. Blob’s presence change the environment of the bus? If no one liked the way A. Blob was behaving, why did it take so long for anyone to stand up to it? What are some helpful ways to stand up to others? What are some not-so-helpful ways?
Step 3: Craft time! As you make the craft, continue the discussion on being an upstander.
Begin mixing your ingredients. As you mix, talk about some of the “ingredients” that create a bully. Why do some people bully others? Talk about what it means to have empathy and why it’s important to put ourselves in the shoes of others. Even though some people bully others because they have been bullied or hurt themselves, does that make their behavior ok?
The school bus before and after A. Blob's arrival. Which bus would you rather be on?
-Images from A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos, illustrated by Jeffrey Burns
Using examples from the book, remind children that the way we treat one another has an impact on them and the situation. We have the power to change and so it is important to stand up against bullying, even when we aren’t the ones being bullied. We must be upstanders, not bystanders!
However, there are helpful ways to be upstanders, and not-so-helpful ways. When we react to bullying with more bullying, the problem only becomes worse. Show the students how when we hit the mixture, it becomes hard and resistant. However, when we treat it gently, it is soft and pliable. Discuss positive ways to stand up against bullying.
If you use this craft in your classroom or home, we’d love to see! Tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and use the hashtag #ABlobCraft.
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.