I decided to add daily lessons in my classroom during the morning routines to address bullying in the classroom, at lunch and at recess. Students with bullying behaviors were causing chaos, hurt feelings, and loss of instruction time. The classroom climate was negatively impacted as bullying behaviors continued to grow. The NEA says:
"It is important for educators to respond quickly and
consistently to bullying behavior in order to send the message
that it is not acceptable. Research shows that consistent
intervention procedures can stop bullying behavior over
time. Whereas doing nothing at all will make the bullying
infinitely worse. There are simple steps adults can take to
stop bullying on the spot and keep students safe. According
to NEA’s survey, 98% of school staff believed it’s their job to
intervene when they see bullying occur. In contrast, 46%
received training related to the policy and only 39% were
directly involved in prevention efforts at their school. This
indicates that while educators are well intentioned, they
need guidance, training and support to intervene effectively."
I quickly saw an opportunity to integrate social-emotional learning, anti-bullying education, and the common core standards of 5 ELA with this daily activity. Specifically, in the domain of speaking and listening: SL5.1a, SL5.1b, SL5.1c, SL5.1d, SL5.2, and SL5.3. This set of lessons also meets ELA 5th grade writing W5.1b.
Over the course of the 12 day unit students participated in activities to build and strengthen social-emotional learning including:
Students learned to:
"Students, today we will begin a unit on ways to be a friend to yourself and others. You will learn what is bullying and ways stop it. This unit will help you learn ways to become a better listener, be more respectful to others who are different from you, feel and show compassion, and stand up to other students who are acting like a bully. You can also learn what to do if someone is bullying you. We will learn through a series of webisodes with the main characters of KB, Cassandra, Milton, Josh, Brick, and Melanie. There are some sub characters, too. I have the list of questions you will discuss with your table partners and answer in your notebook after watching the episode. It is important that you have your materials and get focused right away so that you complete writing the beginning of each the answer stem so that we can play the video."
Room 14 has weekly jobs. Two of the jobs are the "readers". I used the "readers" systematically during this unit.
The lesson begins with the readers telling all students to get out their RRN (reading response notebook) and turn to the section on "Take a Stand-Stop Bullying Now".
Reader One uses the microphone and says, "Write the title of the episode, number, and date as a heading then reads question one for the first episode.
The second reader can either turn the question into an answer stem or call on a student to say how they would write the beginning of their answer using the question as a guide.
Students' job at their desks is to quickly begin copying or using their own words to write the first half of their answer.
The readers continue by reading the next question and suggesting how to use the words in the question to start their answer. Continue until all questions have been read by the readers and students have prepared their notebook page with their answer stems.
I say, "Students, you are only writing the first part of each answer stem. Do not write the question. Skip about 4 lines before you write your next answer stem. Number each answer stem. skip lines inbetween. After we have these first 5 answer stems written, we will watch the webisode to see how things work out for KB and her first day at her new school. I bet you can imagine how she is feeling. Right? Some of us in here have been "new kids" too. And in our book Hound dog True- remember how Mattie felt standing at the board as a new kid? And Opal? We know how Opal felt when she first moved to Naomi, Fl. So you will watch with episode and use all your background knowledge about how it feels to be a new kid. I also want you to watch how the pink cat, Cassandra acts. Be thinking about her, too. You will get a chance to talk about what you saw and your thoughts about it after the video. It is short, about 2 mins. So don't worry we can play it several times so you can cite evidence in your answers about what you saw and heard.
Is everyone ready?"
Circulate around the room while the readers are reading and while talking to check on students and coach them on organization, starting next to the red line, being able to copy from the doc cam. I urge some students to come up close and sit on the rug to copy the answer stems. These are the kids who lose focus quickly, have trouble copying because they either only look at the screen and write or they look at their paper and don't read and hold words in their memory to write- these kids are working on lots of skills all at once. Especially persistence and a feeling that they can do it. They are developing their stamina, and facility.
Play the first episode "KB's First Day.
Afterward, read question one and tell students to turn and compare answers with their table partner.
At this time in the classroom there are three adults. We each monitor two/three table groups and coach resistant "turn and talkers" by saying look at each other, listen to each other, do you agree? Do you have some thing you want to add on to that? After a minute or so, I call on a student who either volunteers by raising their hand, or I pick a stick out of the cup labeled with student name, or I ask a student when I was coaching if they would share what their partner said. I am strategic, aware and careful to build equity and equal access to the information, the opportunity, and the expectation that everyone in the classroom has the ability and willingness to share.
I have students say their answer into the microphone. When students are sitting at their desks, and not at the rug it is hard for all students to hear each other because some students talk softly. I rephrase and ask for students to add on and/or to explain their thinking based on evidence or knowledge of social situations.
After partner discussion, whole group discussion, student independently finish their answer stem by completing the sentence including an explanation to the "because" part of the answer.
Continue in this way until all questions are answered. Replay the video as necessary to find details and evidence to support their answers.
Circulate and check students answers to hold them accountable. Especially the students you know struggle with getting work accomplished. Set up a system for students who can not yet write this quickly and can not copy form the screen (another student writes for them?).