Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You are you...

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” -Dr. Seuss

It is true; you are the only you in this world. Nothing should stop you from being you! Bullying, however, has caused many people to stop being themselves. Sadly, bullying has become a problem in many schools. You may think that you can't do anything to help; that you're just one person and can't make a difference. Maybe you think that you've never had to deal with a bully, but actually you've been part of the bullying itself, without even knowing it! 

This blog has three lesson plans (for the 4th grade level) that can be used in October, which is Bullying Prevention Month. The lessons include picture books, novels and some first-hand accounts from famous authors and their experiences with bullying. 


This lesson uses excerpts from Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories. The book is a great compilation of stories from many different authors about their experiences with bullying; whether they were the victim or the bully. Some of the stories contain language and subject matter that is not appropriate for the 4th grade level, so I chose three that were more suitable. I picked the stories from R.L. Stine, Jon Scieszka, and Lisa Yee.

 Eastern Connecticut State University Lesson Plan Format

 Grade Level: 4th        Date of lesson: during October

Length of Lesson: 1 hour

Content Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1 (Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.) CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9 (Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.)

Prior Knowledge/Connections: This will be the closing lesson for the bullying unit. Students already have done activities and read books about bullying leading up to this lesson.

Student Learning Objective(s): Students will create a comic strip depicting an experience of their own or one from the author’s stories (from Dear Bully). They will include feelings and connections made between other texts. Students will also be encouraged to think about their actions and how situations may turn out differently based on their choices. With the readings, students will think and discuss how the author’s experiences could have been different if a small change had been made (i.e. not laughing at another person, standing up to the bully, etc).

Vocabulary: Karma- the effects of a person’s actions that determine his destiny

Assessment-Essential Key Questions: How did you feel after reading the author’s stories about their personal experiences with bullies? Can you use this information to make connections to your own life? How have you used negative feelings and turned them into something positive?

Materials/Resources: Copies of excerpts by R.L Stine (pg 74), Jon Scieszka (pg 37) and Lisa Yee (pg 129) from Dear Bully.

Technological resources: Computers with internet access.

Learning Activities:

            Instructional Strategies: Have a discussion as a whole group. Ask the students who some of their favorite authors are, and see if any of them say Stine, Scieszka or Yee. Ask the students if they think that authors are immune to bullying (either growing up or even now). After the group discussion, they can go to work on their project (on their own or with a partner)
            Grouping Strategies: Either individual or with partners (students may choose)

Initiation: Display a poster/Glogster of each author (Stine, Scieszka and Yee) with pictures of them, some of their books, and a few important facts about them (awards won, recognitions, number of books sold, etc). Introduce each author to the class and then explain that each of them was somehow affected by bullying. Ask those who have read books by R.L. Stine if they would have guessed that he was bullied as a kid. Tell students that negative experiences/situations can be used to spark creativity and inspiration. Encourage them to keep that in mind while reading the stories from the authors.

Lesson Procedures:
·         Hand out copies of excerpts from Dear Bully. Each student needs at least 1, however if they choose to read more that’s great!
·         Read story independently, encouraging to use highlighter or mark important passages/parts they want to remember, as well as connections they can make to their own life or other texts read.
·         Once they’ve read their story, they can either work independently or with a partner to create a comic strip (www.pixton.com) that depicts a personal experience they’ve had in regards to bullying. It may be an experience where they were being a bully and didn’t even realize it at the time. They will use the authors’ stories as a model for storytelling.
·         When finished (and if time permits), students can create another comic strip depicting the same situation as they used before, however, this time, what could they have done differently at the time.

Closure: Students will have the opportunity to share their comic strips and if agreeable, we’ll create a class comic book about bullying. Take ideas from the students for possible titles for the book. Wrap up with a discussion about interesting things learned during the unit and ways they can be more aware of their actions. 

Intervention: These students who may have difficulty creating a comic strip of a personal experience can use one of the authors’ stories and use that for their project.  

Enrichment: These students will read all 3 stories and create a comic strip depicting what would have happened if the author had done something different. How would their life have changed? Would they still be a successful author? Why or why not?


*Common Core State Standards Initiative (English Language Arts Standards Grade 4)



This lesson uses Blubber by Judy Blume and There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar.

Eastern Connecticut State University Lesson Plan Format

 Grade Level:  4th     Date of lesson during October

Length of Lesson 1 hour

Content Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.9 (Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.)

Prior Knowledge/Connections: Students have been discussing bullying and how it affects all parties involved. This will be the second lesson in a series of three during Bullying Prevention Month.

Student Learning Objective(s): Students will evaluate their own lives and experiences in regards to being a bully. Although they may not have realized, at one time or another, they may have bullied another person. Students will pretend to be principals of their own school and come up with a presentation for Bullying Prevention Month that they would like their faculty to see and use with the students.

Vocabulary: none

Assessment-Essential Key Question(s): What were the teachers’ roles in both stories? Could they have done more? If you were a principal of a school (or one from a book), what advice would you give to your staff in regards to potential bullying problems? What would you want your students to know? (Who could they go to for help, are there “safe places” around school, etc)

Materials/Resources: Copies of Blubber and There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom.

Technological resources: Computers with internet access.

Learning Activities:

            Instructional Strategies: First, take reactions students may have had to each book (students must have finished their book before this lesson). Some students read Blubber and others read There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom. Ask students if they could relate to any of the characters (how?). Second, have a student (who read each book) give a brief (1 to 2 sentence) summary of each book (without giving away specific details).

            Grouping Strategies: Individually or in small groups (no more than 3 per group). If working in a group, it can be a mixture of students who read different books.

Initiation: Do a Google search for “bullying prevention in schools” and show the students the vast amount of information and websites that come up. (Have this displayed on the screen so they can see all of the results) Have a discussion about why there are so many, what qualifies as a “good” program and what are some aspects they would not want to have in a program. Show a few examples of the sites that come up with search, just to give students a brief idea of what kind of information is out there.

Lesson Procedures:
·         After introductory discussion, those who choose to work in groups can meet with their group members (no more than 3), while others who decide to work individually can begin on their own.
·         Students will make a graphic organizer of good qualities and bad qualities of the teacher(s) in the book they read. They will use this information to help decide what kind of administrator they will be for their imaginary school. (Have them think of their own school career; was there a teacher they felt comfortable talking to if there was a problem? What qualities did this teacher have? What did they do to makes students feel at ease?)
·         Once they have the qualities to work from, students will use a Glogster, Prezi or Power Point presentation to visualize their ideas. Have them keep in mind that this will be presented to their employees, so design it in a presentation (informational) format. Encourage them to use connections (with their own life or another text) to really make their point.

Closure: The lesson will close with a few students (who choose to) presenting their ideas as if they were the principal and the rest of the class was their staff. Once the presentations are over, the class will have a discussion about specifics from the presentations; what they liked/thought would work and what parts they think would be more troublesome in the school environment.

Intervention: Students who need accommodations can work either individually or with a group (with others who may need some assistance). They can focus on the teachers in the book they read and try to come up with ideas of how the teachers could have been more helpful to the students in the story. Create a Glogster or Prezi with their ideas.

Enrichment: These students can create the ideal school environment for a bully-free learning experience. What would the school look like? What kinds of resources would you have? Use Glogster or Prezi to make a visual tool to go along with the plans.


*Common Core State Standards Initiative (English Language Arts Standards Grade 4)

Picture Books

This lesson uses two picture books; The Two Bullies by Junko Morimoto and A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon.

Eastern Connecticut State University Lesson Plan Format

    Grade Level: 4th        Date of lesson sometime during October

Length of Lesson: 1 hour

Content Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.9 (Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2 (Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.)

Prior Knowledge/Connections: This lesson is to be conducted during Bullying Prevention Month (October), after the students have had discussions regarding bullying and the effects it has on its victims, as well as the bullies themselves. Students will have knowledge of the dictionary definition of bully(ing), as well as their own definitions (personally and decided on as a class).

Student Learning Objective(s): Students will use technology to identify their definition/characteristics of a bully. Students will also use two stories to make connections to their own lives/experiences, in regards to bullying, as well as identify specific feelings associated with bullies/bullying experiences.

Vocabulary: Bully: a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people

Assessment-Essential Key Question: In both stories, the characters embark on a journey. Are they just physical journeys or does it go deeper (to the emotional/internal level)? Use this information to think about your own life. Can you make any connections to any of the characters and to your life experiences? (ex: Were you ever teased for liking something others thought was weird, such as lima beans?) Have you ever changed something about yourself to “fit in?” Was it a good choice?

Materials/Resources: 3 (or more) copies of The Two Bullies (Junko Morimoto) and A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon).

Technological resources: Computers with internet connection.

Learning Activities:

            Instructional Strategies: First, have an introductory discussion about bullying in general, asking questions about what they think a bully is and see if they can give examples of bullying. Second, give a brief (1 to 2 sentence) summary of each book (without giving away specific details).
            Grouping Strategies: Begin lesson as a whole group, then have students break into a few small groups (4 to 5 in each group). Students will be grouped with others they will feel comfortable with (I want them comfortable enough to maybe share some personal experiences).

 and engage in a “conversation” with it, where the character acts like a bully. Have a discussion with the students after about what it feels like to be teased by a bully and what might it feel like to be the person doing the bullying. Introduce the two texts that will be read and give brief summaries (1 to 2 sentences) to prep their discussions.

Lesson Procedures:
·         Read one of the picture books aloud to the class, pausing to draw attention to certain parts of the story that will encourage discussion in their groups.
·         Divide the students into small groups and give each group a copy of both books. In their small groups, they will read the other book (the one not read aloud to the class).
·         In their small groups, they will discuss each story and make connections between the two. Prompting questions will be given if needed. (Was there just one bully? Who was being bullied? What could have been done to change the situation?)
·         Students will then be encouraged to think of their own lives and experiences. Using the texts, they should try to make connections to experiences they’ve had. While discussing these in their groups, they will be keeping track of specific descriptive words that are used frequently to describe bullies/bullying situations.
·         Once they’ve finished their discussions, students will work as a group to create a Tagxedo and/or Glogster using the information they’ve collected. For the Tagxedo, they can use any words/phrases that they think describes a bully or a bullying situation. For the Glogster, they can do the same, as well as add pictures and other words that relate to specific personal situations that were shared in the group.

Closure: Students will have the opportunity to share their creations and briefly talk about why they chose specifics for their Tagxedo/Glogster. Any student who would like to share a personal story will have the chance at this time. The lesson will close with a brief discussion about the feelings that are elicited by bullies and the situations associated with them.

Intervention: Students who require accommodations will be given a list of questions (prompting their thinking) if needed. They may also be put in a group with students who will encourage participation.

Enrichment: These students may create a short story/picture book of their own that retells an experience they had that connects to one of the stories read in class. They may create their book by hand or using technology.


*Common Core State Standards Initiative (English Language Arts Standards Grade 4)