October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an opportunity for communities and schools to work together to stop bullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages.

Bullying is a serious issue, which is why many teachers don’t reserve anti-bullying lessons just for October. Kindness and respect are behaviors to foster in all year ’round; and some schools have instituted a strict “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to bullying.

Take a look at some of the resources our talented Teacher-Authors have shared. Go ahead and share them with your classes, too, and join the anti-bullying movement.

Bullying Be Gone: Books, Posters, and More

Bullying - Bully Free Zone Flip Flap Book“Anti-bullying is a BIG topic in our school,” says Simply Skilled in Second. “Our principal does a grade-level read-aloud about our Golden Rule which is ‘Treat Others As You Want To Be Treated.’ To continue the theme in my classroom, I have a discussion with my students about the importance of OUR classroom being a Caring Community.

I refer to the words ‘Caring Community’ every day, and we do many activities around this idea. For example, we create an anchor chart with what a Caring Community looks like and sounds like. Then I read books such as The Juice Box Bully and The Recess Queen to my class, and we have a sharing circle. We talk about times that we felt like we were bullied and how we handled the situation. After our discussion and sharing circle, we do a Bullying – Bully Free Zone Flip Flap Book. My kiddos love it.”

“A bully-free zone is key to academic success in the classroom,” stresses Angelica’s Resources. “When your students feel safe, they can focus on learning. I’ve found that subtle reminders are key to promoting a safe learning environment. I created this FREE resource to remind my students: Bully Free Zone Poster & Bookmarks.

iMessages Anti-Bullying Activity PlanEveryone deServes to Learn uses a strategy called iMessages in her classroom. “This is when the students explain their feelings starting with the words ‘I feel.’ This strategy has helped the bullies and the victims in my classes to be more vocal about their feelings. I create an anchor chart each year with my group and then display the strategy all year. We practice with happy feelings, sad feelings, angry feelings, etc.  My students are English Language Learners, so it helps to have a sentence frame to lessen the speaking anxiety in an already potentially uncomfortable situation. Here’s the complete resource: iMessages Anti-Bullying Activity Plan.

From Elizabeth Hah: “In early childhood teaching, we spend a lot of time encouraging friendships and teaching about how to deal constructively with conflict. We give children the vocabulary they need to express how they feel; we also teach strategies to encourage listening skills and self-control. Developing empathy is important, and this is done through sharing feelings, reading relevant books together, and discussing scenarios to brainstorm how to deal with situations effectively. Just this week I wrote a research-based blog post on combatting bullying in the early yearswhich includes a free ‘what to do’ poster.”

Poetry & Info Text Close Reading Lesson: "Brave" Theme Across TextsHigh school teacher Julie Faulkner explains, “Bullying is such a hot topic, and with teens it’s often more difficult to cover because they’re so concerned with, and affected by, peer pressure. No one wants to stand out or stand up. One way that I bring up the topic of bullying and concepts associated with prejudice and intolerance is through literacy. I let strong characters and texts carry the message and open doors for discussion. I recently used a set of texts from modern culture and current events in a literacy lesson to explore this concept. Students enjoyed delving into the texts because they were relatable and real-world, and we discussed how important it is to be brave and speak out for yourself and others. We closed with a creative project that used the theme of the lesson; the results were impressive and beautiful.” Take a look at Julie’s Poetry & Info Text Close Reading Lesson: “Brave” Theme Across Texts and Anti-Bullying Poster & Writing Prompts {FREEBIE}.

The Teaching Bank is also a strong believer in using literature to open the doors for discussion. She says, “Literature can help students develop empathy towards others, potentially stopping bullying before it starts. One of the best books I use (and created a unit for) is Wonder by R.J Palacio. It’s a modern story that today’s kids can relate to; it does a phenomenal job of relaying the message that a person is so much more than his or her exterior and that all people, no matter how blessed they appear, are carrying a burden of some sort. The age level of this book hits at that perfect late elementary-middle school age where the cliques and popularity issues can be overwhelming for students. The book really does a fantastic job of helping students see beyond ‘the cover’ and put themselves in another’s shoes. Here’s the complete unit: Wonder By R.J. Palacio Novel Unit Study~ Common Core Standards Aligned!

Hip Hip Hooray: Kindnesses, Respect and Friendship

Miss Martin explains, “Our staff decided this year that instead of focusing on the negative (bullying), we’re focusing on the positive! All through October, we’ve been promoting Random Acts of Kindness in our building. We created a large tree in the hallway, and every time a student performs an act of kindness toward someone else, he or she gets to write it on a colorful leaf and add it to our tree. It also provides other students with ideas about acts of kindness they can do! By the end of the month, we hope to have a beautiful fall tree that represents our school’s kindness!”

The Friendship Fairy Character and Kindness Unit {With Craftivity!}Take a look at The Friendship Fairy Character and Kindness Unit {With Craftivity!} from Miss DeCarbo. She says, “I love using this unit to promote the positive, loving actions of my students. It’s such a fun way for little ones to strive to be caring, kind friends in our classroom.”

“I always try to keeps things positive in my classroom,” says Happy Helper. “For example, I have a Kindness Mailbox so students can write a kind note to someone in class. We check our Kindness Mailbox at the end of each day. I also use many different picture books throughout the year to remind students of how to be kind and show respect. One of my favorite books is Chester the Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully — here’s an activity I created to go along with it.

Mrs. Beattie’s Classroom decided she’d take a new approach this year. “Rather than bucket filling, my students are growing a Heart Garden. They’re all so keen to share a heart with a classmate for a kind or helpful gesture, and our Heart Garden tree is really growing as a result! You can read more about my Heart Garden here.”

Bid Bullying Goodbye: Shirts and Songs

UtahRoots‘ school had t-shirts made that expressed an anti-bullying message. She explains, “We used them as a fundraiser, but we also asked community members to wear them on a specific day. They’re bright yellow, so they’re pretty hard to miss. Now admittedly, we’re in a small town, which made the impact very noticeable. But on anti-bullying day last year, the whole town was quite honestly a sea of yellow, from the small businesses to the police to the grocery store clerks and the bank tellers. The message couldn’t have been clearer that NO ONE in the town was going to stand by and watch bullying happen. The proceeds from the fundraiser go to a high school anti-bullying program.”

I am Bullyproof Music says, “As one can tell by my store name, I am all about teaching kids to be caring and thoughtful citizens! All of my lyrics and lessons are based on social emotional dilemmas that students I counsel share with me daily. Not just this month, but every month, students are by my side pitching in with ideas on how to think more deeply and critically on social challenges that affect us all. Their thoughts and ideas are included in all of our songs — all our studio recordings feature student voices. I include my students in the process because I’ve discovered that’s how they learn best: by helping me teach!

I believe we need to remind kids daily that we are all more the same than different. And also, if kids can truly catch on that most bullies are just downer negative people, well then… who would want to be that? And who would want to hang with someone as unimaginative as that? By teaching young people more about human nature itself, I believe we have a chance of really making a difference in the way kids treat each other. We have to help them understand the other person better, and themselves, to help them truly make a real change towards kindness.” Take a look at Songs – anti bullying, friendship, courage, make a difference!

Coming Together in the Name of Kindness

Social Skills - Common Core - Making Better Choices - Powerful Resource PackageAnd here’s a truly inspiring story from Rainbow City Learning: “My students and I would listen to and sing I am Bullyproof Music‘s songs throughout our day, and before long, we noticed that we weren’t just singing cool songs with great melodies; we were also setting the bar for behavior higher and higher as we internalized the powerful messages inside the music. I noticed day after day how my more withdrawn students were getting stronger and more confident from the inside out, and how the kids who often weren’t kind to others were dialing down on those bullying behaviors. We sang the songs when we started each day, when we transitioned from subject to subject, and as we got ready to go home. Once, one of my students found an I Am Bullyproof Music song on her own, explaining that it helped her remember that there was goodness in every last person she knew. What a moment. And the stories go on and on.

I was so amazed at the transformations I was seeing that I started emailing I Am Bullyproof Music with some of the stories from my classroom. Our emails continued, and when she asked if I’d like to collaborate, Bullyproof Rainbow was born! Not only are we creating literature-based social skills units together now, but we’re also making lesson videos! My students have been so inspired that they’ve inspired other kids, too. There’s even an after-school performance club at the upper elementary school that my students from last year are now attending. The mission of the club is to deliver the I Am Bullyproof Music messages to the student population through monthly performance assemblies. In our town, being a caring, friendly, and bullyproof kid is now super cool. Here’s an example of what two teachers can do when they discover each other on TpT: Social Skills – Common Core – Making Better Choices – Powerful Resource Package.

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Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu, philosopher

 

(Feature image: Thanks to Illumismart for the student/teacher clip art and Wizard of Boz for the CooperTubby font.)

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