Thursday, October 11, 2012

Don't Bully Me!

Do you have to teach anti-bully lessons this month?

We were given a series of lessons and asked to teach at least one of them. I thought about this a lot because bully is such a politically charged word and I really don't think that a 5 year old can be a "bully".  Now don't get me wrong....a five year old can be naughty, they can be mean.  A five year old can hurt someone, and make someone sad.  They are impulsive and lash out when they don't get what they want.  But they can be taught.

Kinder Kids often don't have the words they need to express themselves, so my lessons focused on using our words, stepping outside ourselves to be kind to others.

The first day we talked about why we like to come to school.  What is it about our classroom that makes you happy (several students told me they like coming to school because they can read my books...warmed my heart).  I then introduced the word welcoming and we talked about how to make others feel welcome (happy) in our classroom.  We made a circle map showing all the ways we could think of to be welcoming.

Day two I focused on the different feelings we have.  I read The Way I Feel by Janin Cain, with lots and lots of discussion.  We made faces to show those feelings.  I have the DVD from signing time Family Feelings and Fun.  So we watched that, then we sang to the tune of Hokey Pokey:

You put your sad face in,
You put your sad face out,
You put your sad face in 
And you shake it all about

You let your feelings show 
And you turn yourself around,
That's what it's all about. 

When we had practiced all kinds of feelings I asked my students to pick one.  They were to think of what made them feel that way and what they looked like.  I then asked them to draw themselves.  Under their picture I had them simply write;  I am ______.

Day three I started teaching these little people how to see what other people might be feeling and then how to be kind and help them to feel better.  We learned a big word...empathy.
I think they can understand what this word means.  They can at least understand what it means to be kind.  I use both words when talking with my kiddos.  We have been working page by page.  First page is:  You are sad.  We talked about what makes people sad.  Then: I can ______.  What can you do when you see someone who is sad?  The kiddos told me: I can hold their hand....I can share my candy (we had just had lunch)...I can give a hug.....I can give them a kiss (we needed to talk a bit about that.).  The drawings were precious and reaffirmed my belief that 5 years are sweet and kind.
The pages are placed so that when you make the book You are ____.  is on the left side of the book and I can _____.  is on the right side.

My goal is to help them find the words to describe how they are feeling, and to express those feeling by standing up for themselves.  Maybe they will help others with hurt feelings, stop others from those actions that a bully might take, and lastly stop themselves from doing any of those mean bullying things.  We are working hard on our little books.  You can grab one here.


  1. Thank you for sharing. Empathy is such an important thing to stress and luckily most little children are filled with it. I will use this book at my writing center with my first graders.

  2. Thanks so much. There is a big push for us to provide more dialogue for kids to learn how to be more empathetic and most things available really are over their heads.

  3. Thanks for sharing Interesting post. Thanks for taking this opportunity to discuss this, I appreciate with this and I like learning about this subject. If possible, as you gain information, please update this blog with more information. I have found it really useful.
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  4. I would love copy of the empathy book but it doesn't let me click on it. It takes me to the schools log in page. Please let me know if there is a way that I can get it. I loveit!

    1. I added a dropbox link to the last picture. If that doesn't work, let me know with your email address and I will email you a copy.


  5. I LOVE this!! Thank you so much! This is just what I was looking for!! :)

  6. A great resource to kick start a discussion on classroom bullying and using positive solutions to tackle problems is the children’s book, FOR NO REASON ( In this animated, heart-warming story, Jamie Higgins comes up with a clever way to deal with a classroom bully, Brad Lugsley, without getting into trouble or being mean. She decides to smile…for no reason and eventually gets her whole class smiling…even Brad! At the back of the book, there are fun, creative and educational activities to get children thinking about their own experiences and how they might solve a bullying situation in a positive way. Children are encouraged to use the book's colourful poster illustrations or come up with their own ideas on creating NO BULLYING posters for their classroom.