Friday, March 8, 2013

Stomp Out Unkindness!


Our school is kicking off the Olweus anti-bullying program this spring and named it  "Stomp Out Bullying."  The program focuses on changing the reaction of bystanders and engaging bystanders to stand up for their peers in bullying situations.

 For our kinders, I wanted them to think about how to be an active bystander and how to use kind words as well.  There were a few suggestions out there (including Hooway for Wodney Wat), but I choose Martha Walks the Dog by Susan Meddaugh.  I love the Martha Speaks series and many of my students are familiar with the show on PBS Kids.

After reading the story, we discussed how Martha felt when she saw the big dog Bob corner her friend and brainstormed how it feels to be cornered like the poodle in the story.  After listening to Martha stand up for her friend, we examined how she used strong but also negative words to get his attention.  At the end of the story, the big dog Bob calms down when Martha indirectly compliments him.  We listed and wrote kind, strong words to use when we might be in a situation like Martha.  If you go to the link here and scroll to page 7, there is a writing page corresponding to the story (the whole Reading Buddies journal is great for vocabulary though!).  The Committee for Children has a nice springboard of questions linked to the story available here.

We are on spring break now, but upon our return we are also going to watch the Martha episode on pbskids.org (see here).  We are also going to apply some of these ideas and role-play situations in which a child might be the bystander or the victim.  It will also help the students differentiate between everyday conflict resolution and bullying.

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