Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Free "Upstander" Lesson (scroll down)

Teaching kids to be "upstanders" rather than bystanders is one of the most important antidotes to bullying. Here's a lesson you can use right now that's sure to help. 

Lesson: Standing Up for Others

Preparation. On chart paper, write: “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”—Helen Keller

Introduction. Ask students if they’ve ever chosen to be kind to someone other kids were acting mean toward. Ask if they’ve ever been an “upstander” for someone who was picked on. Discuss, acknowledging how hard this can be.

Tell students they don’t have to do it alone. They can team up with a friend to be an upstander for someone. They can ask a classmate to help too. Have a student briefly role play asking a classmate to team up with them to be an upstander for someone in the class who’s being picked on. Help them come up with some helpful things they can say to the person who’s being picked on. Ask them to think of some assertive – not aggressive – statements they can make to the person who’s being mean.

Invite a student to read the Helen Keller quote. Ask: What is “something we can do” when someone’s being called names or made fun of by others? Why does it take courage to choose to be kind when others aren’t, or to stick up for someone when no one else does?

Activity. Ask for volunteers to act out the following scenarios, choosing one or two students to play the role of “upstanders” in each case. After each role play, ask: What did the upstanders do to help? What would you do? Is there anything that would stand in your way of being an upstander in real life? How can we help each other be upstanders?

Brian gives the wrong answer to a question the teacher asks. Other kids start to snicker and make faces.

Mindy comes to school wearing a shirt with a big stain on it. Her hair is all tangled and looks like it hasn’t been washed in awhile. A few kids hold their noses as she walks by.

Jason has trouble reading. He stumbles over some simple words that most of the class can read with ease. Someone makes a joke about this at Jason’s expense. A few kids start to laugh.

Jessie tends to be awkward around other kids. Sometimes she talks too loud. People find her annoying. She always ends up sitting alone at lunch.

Distribute “8 Ways to Be an Upstander”  (below) and discuss more ways we can help people who are picked on or excluded. Have students come up with other upstander actions to add to the list.

Wrap-Up. Encourage students to “do the something they can do” when they see peers being mistreated.
Ask them to write about their experiences. Discuss what they experienced when they come to school tomorrow.

Adapted from No Kidding About Bullying by Naomi Drew, M.A., copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN; 800-735-7323; All rights reserved.

8 Ways to Be an Upstander

Team up with a partner or do it alone . . . 

1. Choose not to join in when people are picking on or laughing at someone.

2. Speak out against unkind words or actions.

3. Say something helpful to the person who’s being picked on or laughed at.

4. Ask people who are teasing how it would feel if they were the ones being teased.

5. Ask the person who’s being left out or picked on to join you in an activity.

6. Let an adult know what’s going on.

7. ______________________________________________________________

8. ______________________________________________________________

Take Action!

Team up with a friend or classmate to be an upstander for someone else. Write about your experience. What was it like? Did it help? How did the person you stood up for feel when you stepped in?

Adapted from No Kidding About Bullying by Naomi Drew, M.A., copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN; 800-735-7323; All rights reserved.

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