Monday, November 9, 2015

Guidance Lesson: Verbal Bullying in Middle School or upper Elementary School

This lesson plan focuses on the awareness and impact words have on people.  All students have trigger words or experiences that can be hurtful to them, and this lesson aims to show students that everyone has been bullied or hurt by something someone else has said to them.  Hurtful words can be intentionally or unintentionally said, and a goal of this lesson is to show kids it is important to think before you speak.  This lesson is meant to teach students to be in tune with their own emotions of when they have been bullied or hurt by someone else.  In being aware of their own emotions, they can use that feeling to be empathetic towards others.  In doing so, they will know not to bully, stand up against bullies, stand up for others they see getting bullied, and promote and spread kindness.  This lesson will highlight that individually we all have differences - good and bad - that make us unique.  Even though we are all different, we are all part of this community (school, class, grade, etc.)

Grade Level: 6th Grade


  • A whiteboard to write on
  • Something to play a video on
  • the song “Shake it off”
  • Scratch paper
  • 2 containers to collect pieces of paper in
  • 1 container to hold the bracelets
  • A poster board and tape
  • Kindness bracelets

Applicable Standard(s) Objective(s) Competency(ies)

  • The effects bullying has on each other.
  • Standing up for others against bullies.
  • Standing up for yourself against bullies.
  • Benefits of spreading kindness.

  • Prepare the lesson space by writing “shake it off” at the top of the white board. Tell the students, “Today, we will be discussing the impact words have on each other.”
  • Begin lesson by asking the students to write down on 2 separate pieces of paper “what is the meanest thing anyone has ever said to you/called you?” and “what is something you love about yourself?” 
    • tell the kids this is completely anonymous so they do not have to worry about their names being linked to what they say.
  • Collect the papers in separate baskets/tubs 
  • Play “Stand Up, Stand Strong: The Consequence of Words” YouTube video
Learning Activities
  • After the video, ask the students to think about how they feel from watching the video. take out the negative comments and write them on the board under the words, “shake it off.”
    • After writing the words on the board, ask the students open-ended questions about the video to promote class discussion “how did that video make you feel?” “what are your thoughts on the video?” etc. 
    • Talk to kids about the words/phrases on the board.  Ask them what they think of the words up there.  Ask the kids to raise their hand if they see anything on there that they might have said to someone where they were not trying to insult them (raise your own hand too to show that we have even said things we did not mean to hurt someone by).
  • Discuss how words can have a positive or a negative connotation.
    • Begin transition into discussing positivity and how good words can be influential with your peers.  How we have all had something said to us that hurt our feelings, but we can also say things that make each other feel better too. 
  • Have the class form a circle.
    • Explain that during this activity, students will go around the circle one at a time and say a compliment to the person to their right.  When a student says a compliment to their classmate, they will receive a kindness bracelet. 
    • Ask for a volunteer to start the kind words contagion, and hand them the basket of bracelets.
    • Process of the kindness cognition: a student compliments their classmate to the right → they take a kindness bracelet → you (the counselor) erases a mean phrase from the board → the student passes the basket of bracelets on, and the next student compliments the classmate to their right, until everyone in the circle has had a compliment, has a bracelet, and all the mean words are erased from the board.
    • Once the kindness has come full circle, explain that the kindness contagion shouldn’t just be contained to the classroom, but spread outside to friends, family, acquaintances, etc. Ask the students how it feels to give a compliment.  How it feels to receive a compliment. Ask the kids if they have noticed how everyone is smiling, happy, laughing - read your audience - since they have given and received compliments.
    • Explain the bracelets: 
      • You are now the owner of a step up, be kind bracelet.  The purpose of this bracelet is to wear it and when you witness someone doing something kind, you acknowledge their kindness by giving them the bracelet and telling them what they did was very kind.  Tell them to keep the bracelet until they see someone doing something kind, and pass it onto them.  This way we can keep promoting kindness in our community and even to strangers who we see displaying random acts of kindness. 
  • Show the kindness poster and discuss how everyone has something they love about themselves.  Everyone is a unique individual with great qualities and together they all form a community (class, school, grade, whatever community you wish to address).  As a community they can work together to keep kindness spreading and advocate against saying mean things.
  • Tell the students to stand up, and play the song “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift to end the guidance lesson with a 30 second dance party.
  • Leave the students with a reminder to “shake off” mean comments, stand up for yourself and others, and spread kindness.
Closing & Follow-Up: 
  • Challenge the students to say something kind to someone they see in each new environment they enter, ex. on the bus, at the grocery store, etc.  Have them pay attention to the smile they put on that individuals face and the good feeling they felt after saying something kind.
  • Challenge students to acknowledge when they witness strangers promoting kindness by passing their bracelets on, and encouraging that stranger to do the same.

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