By Cindy Price, First-Grade Teacher, Guest Blogger
As educators, we have so much to do throughout the day when it comes to our lessons and the material we need to teach to our students. But we must remember the some of the most important material we teach are the lessons that focus on their social-emotional development.
In our society today, one of the biggest actions that affect our students the most is bullying. It is so important for us to teach our students about bullying in order for them to be informed and aware of what they must do to protect themselves and to ensure that they develop socially and emotionally.
Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, this is a great time to teach our students about bullying and anti-bullying strategies. Today's blog post is the first of two parts in which I'll explain five ways that you can use to engage kids about bullying prevention while they practice reading and writing.
Remember Your Keys to Effective Teaching
I remember when I first became a teacher and realized I was going to have to teach my students about bullying. While times have changed with bullying going from simple name-calling to cyber-bullying, I thought, "How am I supposed to fit this into my schedule and how am I supposed to teach this?" Does this sound familiar?
Over the years, your toolbox will fill as you accumulate materials, differentiate strategies, and find more lesson ideas. However, one of the best ways I have ever taught my kids is through role-playing. When they actually hear words out loud and see the reactions of the students or myself, it really drives the message home. I also choose meaningful literature that my students will relate to.
Establish a Positive Classroom Culture
The culture in your classroom makes such a difference! It is so important to create an environment for your students that is safe, enjoyable, loving, and accepting. By expressing and sharing the thought that we are all special, respected and we all matter, the environment in which they spend the majority of their day will help facilitate social-emotional learning.
Respect is so vital! Without an atmosphere of competition and status in the classroom, there is no reason for them to bully each other. They all must feel they are respected and that they deserve to be respected, so the following reminders are a few suggestions: You are all amazing. You all matter. You all are talented! We all make mistakes. We all can do anything we put our minds to. We are all important. We all have our own talents.
Another important message to teach kids is that the bully is only as powerful as they allow them to be. Remind kids of the power of standing up to a bully so that the bully doesn't bother them.
Use Books That Address Bullying During Guided Reading
Guided reading is one of the many ways that you can incorporate this important lesson in your classroom. There are many wonderful books that you can share with your students. In a guided reading lesson, you can teach important vocabulary words, focus on characters, problems and solutions. You can role-play for kids to make real-world connections.
Are You a Bully? is a level H narrative text that focuses on the characters who are being bullied. It shows and explains why the characters are being bullied and how it made them feel. After each page is read, have the kids make inferences about how the other kids are being bullies.
Another activity you can do with this book is to have them take a picture walk. Have them make predictions about who the bully is and what the problem may be before reading. Ask them if they identify with the characters and encourage them to explain why.
The Goose and the Golden Egg is another great story to have kids use during this month. You can compare the goose at the beginning of the story to how it ends up being at the end of the story. This level I guided reading book teaches the students an important lesson about standing up for oneself.
If you like what you read today, you'll want to visit our blog soon for the second part of this two-part blog post series. I'll describe a few more ways you can use different books about bullying and share details of classroom activities you can plan for your classroom.
Cindy Price is a first-grade teacher from Delaware. If you like what you read here, take a look at her blog at Mrs. Price's Kindergators, and be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts!