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Using Literature As Part of a Bullying Prevention Program—with FREE download!

Posted by Lesley Boatright on May 7, 2015 3:30:00 PM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts, click here to see her other posts, and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.

As part of our curriculum in the school where I teach, we have monthly meetings to discuss bullying and bullying prevention. We start out the year by discussing our school rules and how children should handle the situation if they or someone else is being bullied, including ways to help if they see someone being bullied.

I try to integrate literature as much as possible into these monthly meetings.
A good story, such as Chrysanthemum, really helps the children understand what bullying is and maybe even recognize if they, sophia_and_the_bully_402themselves, are engaging in bullying behavior. So I was very happy to find these two stories from Hameray Publishing that addressed the topic of bullying. I used these stories in two different sessions as an introduction to our monthly meeting.

The first story, Sophia and the Bully, talks about a new girl in school. It addresses the uncomfortableness of being a new child in a school. It also highlights how friends can intervene when they see bullying behaviors happening, which led to our class discussion about what children can do if they see another child being bullied. I had the children write and illustrate to the complete the sentence "If I saw someone being bullied, I would. . ." Their responses led to interesting discussions about why some approaches would be better than others. I did have to point out that beating up a bully was not the best, nor the safest, solution to the problem!

The next month, I read the story Are You a Bully? Now, of course, all the children immediately said NO! This book was particularly effective in showing behaviors that could be considered bullying behaviors. In our school, we are very careful with the tag "bully." There is a clear cut definition of bullying that includes a PATTERN of REPEATED behavior and an imbalance of power. ARE-YOU-A-BULLYSo much of what goes on in the course of a day is not true bullying. But I make it a point to tell a child if they are engaging in bullying behavior because they truly don't see some of their actions in that way.

This story talked about how giggling at someone who doesn't read well, calling someone names, making fun of what someone wears, excluding children, and teasing all can be considered bullying. By the end of the story, most of my children were somewhat shocked to recognize some of their own behaviors in the book. As a follow up, I listed the situations from the book on the board, and asked pairs of children to work together to come up with an alternative, following the format, "Instead of laughing at someone who can't read well, I could . . ." We gathered those papers together and made a class book "Bullying Behavior Is Not Cool."

These are just a few of my ideas of ways to incorporate this bullying literature into my classroom lessons. I'm sure you will come up with many creative ideas as well!


For more information about the series shown in this post, Kaleidscope Collection, click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the lesson packet, click the image to the right.

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Topics: Narrative Text, Kaleidoscope Collection, Bullying, Lesley Boatright

Using Literature to Teach Anti-Bullying Lessons

Posted by Susanna Westby on Mar 14, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here!

Hello again! I’m Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching, and today I’m sharing with you some examples of how I use books from the Kaleidoscope Collection to teach anti-bullying messages. The books we used were Stop_Bullying-100Sophia and the Bully, Are You A Bully?, and Big Blue Heron. My key concepts for these lessons were how to recognize the characteristics of bullying and how to handle it.

In Canada we celebrate Pink Day, which is a national event in participating schools where students and teachers wear something pink to celebrate diversity and raise awareness about bullying in schools. The books mentioned were a perfect compliment to our study on this day. We read through each of the books together, and then students were asked to pair-share to discuss their thoughts about it.

big_blue_heron-100We began with Big Blue Heron; some student ideas were as follows:

“The heron didn’t care about other people.”

“The heron should try to be nicer because one day he might need help and nobody will want to.”

“The dog was brave to stand up for the little kitten and tell the heron to go away.”

are_you_a_bully-125-1Next, we read Are You a Bully?. Here are some of the student responses to that book:

“Someone made fun of my glasses once too, just like Liz.”

“I don’t like to see kids laughing at other kids like that. It makes me sad!”

“Why do big kids always try to boss little kids around?”

sophia_and_the_bully-125Finally, we read Sophia and the Bully. This book had the strongest response. We stopped part way through reading to talk about what was happening and how each character acted. When we finished the story, students were surprised to see that the “bully” was actually trying to be friendly, but was going about it in the wrong way. This was an interesting twist and opened a whole new discussion about misunderstandings. It was also relevant to my students because we had recently gotten two new students in our class. We wrote about each book in our journals in addition to writing about Pink Day.


We also had each student think of one thing they learned about bullying, either from the books or our discussion. Students visited a kindergarten class, stood in a line at the front of the class, and took turns giving “advice” to the younger students.


These books were a valuable addition to our anti-bullying resources and addressed some very important topics in our class.


I have been teaching primary grades for 20 years. My classroom is a place of hands-on, creative learning where students feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them! I live near Vancouver, BC Canada with my music-teacher husband and two teenage boys. More literacy ideas and graphics can be found on my blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.



For more information on the Kaleidoscope Collection, click the image below to download a series information sheets with highlights and key features, or click here to visit our website!

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Topics: Susanna Westby, Kaleidoscope Collection, Bullying

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