October is National Bullying Prevention Month. It is a month-long effort to focus on and raise awareness of the short and long-term negative impacts. The statistics on the prevalence and effects of bullying on our students are frightening. Consider these facts published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
- Nearly 20% of high school students report being bullied on school property within the past year.
- 43% of bullying incidents took place in hallways or stairwells.
- About 46% of students who were bullied reported the incident to an adult.
- Low socioeconomic status is a significant factor in bullying within wealthy countries.
- Immigrants are more likely to be bullied than students born locally.
Understanding that schools are a primary place for bullying to occur, HHS provides tools for administrators, educators, and school staff as a resource for building safe environments for all students. These tools include information on defining bullying, looking for warning signs, and understanding at-risk groups. In addition, information is available that encourages parent/school partnerships to help build a positive school climate.
Another resource provided by HHS is a series of Kid Videos that showcase different forms of bullying and suggested responses to bullying. These short animated “webisodes” are approximately two minutes long, and each includes a quick follow-up quiz. First, take advantage of these videos as part of your anti-bullying lessons to help students recognize different forms of bullying and develop tools for dealing with bullies. Then, extend learning after watching the videos by encouraging students to participate in follow-up activities. Some ideas to consider are:
- Use an online whiteboard such as IdeaBoardz (reviewed here) as a collaborative resource for sharing ideas on bullying prevention and responding to bullies. For example, create a 2-column board for students to share ideas on recognizing bullies and steps to address bullying. If you teach middle or high school students, ask them to volunteer to conduct this activity with younger students.
- Have students create interactive images or infographics as a way for them to share information through multimedia tools. Take a look at this example of a Genially interactive image (reviewed here). Share this with students and challenge them to use Genially’s tools to create interactive images based on your anti-bullying discussions in class.
- Ask students to create videos to include in your class website on recognizing and dealing with bullying. Moovly (reviewed here) and MySimpleShow (reviewed here) provide free, easy-to-use tools for creating and sharing videos. This video made with Moovly shares one student’s experience with How to Beat Bullying. The moral of the story shared by this student is an excellent “hook” for your students to consider using in their video stories.
Another excellent resource for educators of all ages is Change Begins at School (reviewed here). This site shared by the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility provides educators with resources to build social and emotional skills and strengthen classroom and school communities. Visit the Classroom Resources section to find many lessons created around Teachable Moments. Use bullying as a keyword search to find many tasks that help students recognize and deal with bullying through various current topics. Recent topics include the impact of phones, examining anti-semitism, and protecting privacy on social media.
In addition to the Teachable Moments, Change Begins at School shares many lessons and activities to support social and emotional learning (SEL) and tips for creating positive classroom communities.
As this article from Learning for Justice states, the most effective tool against bullying is “Prevention. By creating an inclusive learning environment that supports all students, educators maintain a space that is inhospitable to those who would bully.”
What are your favorite resources for anti-bullying activities? Perhaps you would like to share videos or interactive images created by your students. We would love to see them; share them in the comments below.