Addressing Bullying/Promoting Acceptance

Unit Essential Question:  What types of gender roles are found in our classroom and community?  How do these roles change when you are in different places or with different people?

 Lesson Essential Question:  What types of name calling and bullying come from gender roles?  What can we do in our school/community to promote acceptance of people for who they are instead of what they look like or do?

NCSS Standards:
·         Standard 4: Individual Development and Identity

o   This lesson investigates how others react to human behavior in relation to gender differences and social norms and how we can change in order to accept everyone for their hobbies and interests.

·         Standard 5: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

o   This lesson will investigate how several different groups of people might hurt other groups of people through bullying based around gender role issues.

MMSD Standards
·         Recognize and respect that individual differences are important to self and others.

·         Describe roles and responsibilities people have in neighborhoods and communities.

Elementary Education Standards:
·         Standard 2: Understands the Social Contexts of Schooling

o   Through this lesson, students will understand that social contexts (such as gender roles and bullying) affect their lives within and outside of school.

·         Standard 6: Connects School and Community

o   Through this lesson, students will connect the similarities and differences of bullying based on gender roles within the context of their school and community.

·         Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola

·         One large paper representations of a person

·         Masking tape

·         Supplies for project

·         Students will learn how bullying can emotionally hurt a person on the inside

·         Students will learn how to address bullying in their school and community

·         Students will become aware of phrases or sayings that might hurt the feelings of a specific gender

·         Students will develop different ideas about how to spread the word about bullying

Lesson Context:
·         This lesson will be taught towards the end of this unit (might even be the final lesson) to wrap up our ideas about gender roles and look forward about how our class can change some of these perspectives within the school and their communities.

Lesson Opening:
Day One:
·         Have the students come to the carpet/large discussion area and have them sit in a circle.

·         Tell the students to think for a little bit about phrases or sayings that they have heard in the school or their community that might hurt another person’s feelings because of their gender.  Give the students an example:  The phrase that I hear the most that hurts other’s feelings because of gender roles is when I hear someone calling a boy a girl to make fun of them. 

·         Pass a talking piece around the circle and have each student state the bullying that they have seen in regards to gender roles.

·         Bring the group back together for a class discussion about these situations.  How did this make you feel?  Did you sympathize with the person who was being bullied?  Did you say anything to the person who was doing the bullying?  What could you have said if you had said something to the bully?

·         Tell the students that we are going to read a book called Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola about a boy who was bullied at school because he had interests and hobbies that others thought only girls should have.  The word sissy is not used as much anymore but was more popular when this book was written in 1979.  What do you think the word “sissy” means?  What types of things might a “sissy” do?  What words do we use today in place of this word?  What types of words do we use for girls who do things that others think only boys should do?

·         Read the book and ask questions periodically throughout.

o   Why do you think that someone changed the writing outside of the building?

o   How do you think Oliver felt when everyone teased him and did not want to play with him?

o   Why does Oliver’s father want him to do things that other boys are doing?  How might this make him feel?

o   Do you think it was good that the girls helped Oliver get his tap shoes back?  Why/why not?  Would you have helped him get his tap shoes back?

o   Would you have been Oliver’s friend?  What could you have done to help Oliver?  What could you have told him to make him feel better?

o   How would this story be different if others never thought that Oliver was a star?

o   Has this perspective of what boys should or shouldn’t do stayed the same or changed from a long time ago?

·         Ask the students to recap all of the mean things that were said to Oliver Button and record them on the whiteboard.

·         Bring out the paper representation of a person and tape the person up to the whiteboard.  Ask the students to recap what sayings that others have said to hurt other’s feelings by using gender roles.  Explain to the students that each time a student says a bullying comment, you will tear a small piece of the paper person to show how they were emotionally hurt by this statement.  Write the saying next to the rip on the whiteboard.

·         Once each person has contributed an idea, rip off several pieces of masking tape and put them on the board.  Ask the students to think about how they could change the situation to avoid/help change the bullying.  What could the bully have done differently in this situation?  What could the person who was bullied do to help change the situation?  What could an observer have done to help this situation?  For each suggestion that is specific to the statement next to the rip, document the students’ ideas about how to help this situation on the masking tape and then place the masking tape over the rip.  Repeat this until all of the rips are taped back up.

·         These are great ideas as to how we can help others to stop using gender roles when bullying and how to stop bullying in general.  Tomorrow we will develop more ideas about how we can change the bullying atmosphere within our school and community.

Day Two:
·         Have the students come to the carpet/large discussion area and have them sit in a circle.

·         Talk to the students about the background of the book My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis and why she decided to write this book.  Read this book and ask questions throughout.

o   What is the difference between how the princess boy’s family sees and acts with him and how others treat him?  How does this make the family feel?  How does this make the princess boy feel?

o   How do you think the princess boy’s brother feels when he plays with him?

o   If you saw a princess boy, what would you do?

·         Talk about how Kilodavis felt it was her responsibility to promote acceptance of everyone so that her son would not get bullied at school.  When bullying happens, who has responsibility to help fix it?  Talk about how not only the bully can help change the situation but also what a person who is bullied, a student observer of bullying, or a teacher/staff should do to help change this situation.

·         Kilodavis promoted awareness of acceptance by writing this book.  How can we promote awareness in our own school and community?  Ask the students to think of some ways that we can help stop the bullying that happens in our school and community.  These ideas can be specific to bullying with gender roles or to bullying in general.  Record their ideas on a sheet of chart paper or on the white board (and take a picture of the ideas to save)

·         Have the students vote on one of the ideas that they think is the best way to help the school and community become more aware of gender roles and bullying.

·         Take the idea that receives the most votes and ask what steps the class must take to make this happen.  Record their ideas on the board.  Create different committees/groups that will be in charge of the different responsibilities.  Have the students choose which group that they want to be in based on their interest, not their friends.

·         Tell the students that over the next couple of days, we will be working on this project.  Ask them to get in their groups for a short five minute discussion/recording of what they need to accomplish over the next couple of days.  Go around to each group to discuss with them what they need to do and record their ideas.

·         Over the next couple of days, have the different committees complete each of the responsibilities that they initially set out to accomplish.  Check in regularly to make sure that each group is on task and that each person is participating.

Lesson Closing:
·         Once each group has accomplished their goals, the students will promote awareness of gender roles and bullying!

·         Listen to the students responses during discussion to check for participation, critical thinking, and understanding of how emotionally hurtful bullies can be.

·         Observe and document which students take leadership in the project.

·         Observe and document students’ participation within each group by checking in regularly with each group through discussion.

·         Be on the lookout for students standing up for themselves or each other when someone might purposefully/accidentally use gender role bullying.

dePaola, T. (1979). Oliver button is a sissy. New York, NY: Voyager Books.

Kilodavis, C. (2009). My princess boy. New York, NY: Aladdin.