Monday, January 14, 2013

A Great Resource on Bullying

Sometimes you find a great picture book.  Sometimes you run across a great lesson plan.  Sometimes you find a story with great insight into the character's emotions and thinking.  Sometimes you find a book that is all three.  Thanks to my media specialist, I've got a great series on bullying that not only tells a story, but includes  extended activities as well.  The seriesby Erin Frankel, begins with the book Weird. It tells the story of Luisa, a hispanic girl who is picked on by Sam a girl who announces that everything Luisa does is weird.  True to the nature of a bully, the harassment goes on repeatedly until Luisa begins to believe that she is indeed worthless and weird.  However, in a moment of insight, Luisa realizes that while she keeps changing her behavior to try and conform to Sam's expectations, Sam never changes and so Luisa finally decides to be true to herself.  In an aha moment of self discovery, Luisa rewrites her negative beliefs into positive thoughts and begins acting on them which deflates Sam's attacks.

The book not only has a realistic story and terrific eye-catching illustrations, it has ideas in the back for extending the lesson with activities.  In two of my classes, we made a poster of positive ideas with each child writing their own positive affirmation to believe in.  The kids loved it!

Each class kept their poster as a visual reminder of the lesson.

An additional feature of the book is a section in the back where insights into the main character's feelings are shared.  Not only are the lessons that Luisa learned identified, but the lessons learned by Sam the bully and Jayla, a bystander are also mentioned. 

The book Weird is the first of a three part series which talks about bullying from three different viewpoints. Weird is told from the viewpoint of the victim, Tough is told from the viewpoint of the bully and  Dare from the viewpoint of the bystander. Each book gives suggestions for using the book as part of a lesson.  I recommend these books as part of a total guidance series on bullying!

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