Friday, May 4, 2012

My Class's Antibullying Campaign

I love Twitter - shocking, I know. But I do love it because I get so inspired by reading comments and blogs by other teachers I follow.

One of my favorite posts lately is by Eric Johnson (@yourkidsteacher), from his website, called "Erasing Meanness." Read his blog post here. You need to read his before you read mine. His post inspired everything I'm about to say here.

I'm working with another 5th grade teacher from Canada (@FlyontheCWall) on a shared blog for all of our fifth graders (see it here) for the months of April and May. Our topic for May has been bullying. So naturally, I started looking for things mid-April for our classes.

I LOVED Mr. Johnson's "Erasing Meanness" idea. I felt like it was a message my students really needed to hear, plus it fit our blogging theme for the month. Mr. Johnson was nice enough to send me a link to the videos he used in his classroom.

I'm going to post pictures and videos below for you to use if you would like. At the end of this week, my students made our own music video. Here's what's cool about this - I found the song "Perfect" by AHMIR (it's a cover of Pink's original) on YouTube. These guys have such beautiful voices, and I love that the video for their song is about bullying. If you buy their version on iTunes, part of the proceeds benefit the Trevor Project.

My students loved the video and song, so I tweeted the guys (@AHMIR) on Twitter. I told them the kiddos loved their song and asked if I could use it. They told us that we could use the song, so we proceeded to make the video. (There aren't many that are very appropriate for elementary, I don't think, so we tried to make our own to add to the options out there.)

After I tweeted out a link to the video, they responded back! How cool! They wrote:  so awesome! We're honored and proud to support anti-bullying with you and your students!

They even left us a comment on our YouTube video! What cool guys! (This is my not-so-subliminal message for you to check them out.)

Here's my students' video:

Here's my Erasing Meanness Timeline

Day 1 I cleaned the board really well, removed everything else from the board, and wrote "mean" in the middle in big letters. (No picture, sorry!) I showed "Anti-Bullying PSA: The Price of Silence" (then discussed for a minute or two).

Day 2 Before the kids came in, I had written several synonyms for mean, hate, bullying, etc. Yes, I know abhorrence is misspelled. I wrote it about half a billion times before I noticed it. My apologies. And yes, lots of the words repeat. Then I showed the "Stand Up, Stand Out: No Checking, No Capping, No Bullying" video. My kiddos really responded to this, especially when students said they didn't feel like teasing sometimes, and it really hurt their feelings.

Day 3 Before the kids came in, I had written "How do you want to be remembered?" on the board. It took forever and it looks kinda bad. Whoops. Then I showed 3 videos: "Being a Friend," "Stop Bullying PSA," and Mark Wills' "Don't Laugh at Me" music video. The kids and I talked a lot about how, perhaps more important than standing up to a bully, it is very critical to make others feel wanted and important. We talked about how easy it is to walk up to someone after they've been bullied or if they are lonely and talk to them. Just having a friend can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Day 4 The kids noticed the board hadn't changed. They wondered what was different. I told them that they were going to change the board; they had the opportunity to erase some of the meanness and spread love instead. Before they erased the words, we watched Ahmir's "Perfect" video. The kids lined up to wait on their turn to "change the world."

the line to change the world


Again, be sure to read Mr. Johnson's "Erasing Meanness" post. It's a great way to start an anti-bullying campaign. And you never know - it might help save a life one day.


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  2. I'm really humbled to hear the kind words that you said about my kid's experience and how it influenced your classroom. I came up with this lesson while out riding my bike one weekend and I have just been overwhelmed by how it has been received. There always seems to be one event or one moment that defines a school year. Erasing Meanness is surely this year's for my class. It was pretty powerful stuff.

    Thanks for sharing this with your classroom and your readers. I'm glad our experience helped 'YourKids'. Keep up the great things you are doing with your class. @yourkidsteacher

  3. I agree, it is definitely one of those big moments, and it's one I think will stay with my students for quite a long time. Thank you for posting such meaningful things for others of us to learn from. I'm always looking for ways to improve and new things to try in my classroom!

  4. Hi! My name is Latisha Moening. I am representing Lakeville for the year of 2013 and will be running for Mrs.Minnesota International March 2013. My platform is Anti-Bullying. I am working on trying to connect with the schools and groups in my area to try to spread the message that bullying needs to be stopped. I was/am looking for shorter activity ideas to do with some of these groups that I want to work with and your page was on Pinterest. I ABSOLUTELY loved your blog and the Erasing Meanness blog post. I am wondering if there is any way I can be able to use your classes video ever if I go to any schools and group meetings and if there are any other activity ideas you can offer to help me out while getting involved in my area. I would appreciate any advice or information you offer! Thank you for your time!
    Latisha Moening, Mrs. Lakeville 2013

  5. I must say you did an outstanding job and its so nice to see teachers actually caring about bullying, i'm about to move my girls across state line just to attend a school there's hasn't helped or done anything about the bullies and my kids are in 3rd and Kindergarten, makes me happy to see somewhere they care. I recently watched the movie ''bully'',and joined''stand for the silent'' started by one of the parents out of the documentary who lost his 11 yr old to bullying, the parent goes school to school to speak you should check into that his name is Kirk Smalley .

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  11. Thank you so much for your post! I wanted to do something different this year with our kiddos on this topic and this has inspired me so! Thank you!!

  12. This is great! Would you have any suggestions on how to make this into one lesson? I am a counselor and don't have the opportunity to have them each day a week to do it like this.

  13. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

  14. Great post. I am going to use the link for teaching students about bullying.

  15. I am a counselor as well and am looking for ways to make this a one day lesson? I love these ideas though!


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