Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Have a bully free holiday!

In the spirit of the holiday season some of the fourth graders decided to decorate my door. Their brilliant idea goes perfectly with our bullying unit!

Have a bully free holiday!

Stop Bullying -- It Only Takes One!

The Fourth Graders just began learning about bullying. Such an important topic! For our first lesson we defined bullying.


It is bullying if:
It's on purpose to hurt
It happens over and over
There is an imbalance of power

We also read and discussed the book "One." This book is a great way to demonstrate how sometimes it only takes "one" person to stop bullying! Here are some pictures about what fourth graders could say or do to stop a bullying situation.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You Can't Say "You Can't Play"

One way that kids sometimes bully others is by excluding them from their play. The first graders want to make sure that nobody gets left out, and if it does, they remind each other:

You can't say "You can't play!"

They love this idea, and they love talking about it! When I stop by their classrooms, inevitably someone comes up to me and repeats the saying or tells me about how they have used it recently. Sometimes someone will mistakenly say, "you can't play you can't say," which everyone finds very funny! Yesterday as they were leaving the cafeteria, one first grader saw me across the front lobby and called, "Hey Mrs. Lallier, you can't say 'you can't play!'" and scampered off to recess with a big smile on her face.

But what if the last time a kid played with you, he did something you didn't like? You still need to include him, but first ask him to please not do it again. You might say,

"Yes, you can play with us, but please follow the rules of the game"
"You can play with me, but please don't yell in my ear."

Here's an example:

If that doesn't work, then ask a teacher to help, but most of the time first graders know how to solve these problems themselves. When you and a friend work out your friendship problems all by yourselves, you feel very proud!

Recently one first grader told me that he has gotten better at "playing with different people and making friends with them and caring about other people. When [student] tells people they can’t play, I stand up for them and tell him, 'You can’t say you can’t play.'”

Here are some other pictures first graders drew about including others:

Brave, Bold First Graders

Do you know how to tell the difference between bullying and plain old mean behaviors? First graders do! They know that it's not okay to be mean OR to bully, because both of those behaviors are unfriendly and hurt people's feelings.

Recently, first graders finished a unit on bullying. They learned how to tell the difference between behavior that is mean and behavior that is bullying. It's bullying if one of these things is happening:
  • someone is being mean over and over
  • there is a threat
  • a group of people is being mean
Ask a first grader to tell you what they should do if someone is bullying, and they will answer, "Tell a teacher." In our post-unit assessment all 38 of them got the answer to this question correct! Every student got a chance to practice telling Mrs. Burriss, Mrs. Thorburn, or Mrs. Lallier that they were being bullied. Here's what they said:

Student: Mrs. _______, someone is bullying me.
Teacher: How do you know it's bullying?
Student: It is happening over and over. / The person threatened me. /
A group of people are being mean.
Teacher: Thank you for telling me. We're going to solve this problem!

But what if the teacher you tell doesn't understand or doesn't believe you? First graders know -- you tell another teacher! They all practiced doing this as well:

Student: Mrs. _______, someone is bullying me.
Teacher 1: Oh, just ignore it! / Solve it yourself! / Go play! / Don't tattle!
Student: (goes to another teacher) Mrs. _______, someone is bullying me.
Teacher 2: How do you know it's bullying?
Student: It is happening over and over. / The person threatened me. /
A group of people are being mean.
Teacher 2: Thank you for telling me. We're going to solve this problem!

To help learn about the importance of telling an adult when bullying occurs, we read Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies, and learned the refrain:

Be Brave, Be Bold
A Teacher Must be Told!

To hear the Be Brave, Be Bold song and find Howard B. Wigglebottom activities, click here.

Here are some more of the first graders' pictures of themselves telling a teacher about bullying.