Thursday, January 29, 2015

Connecting Bully Prevention with Common Core Standards

Way back in March (of 2013)  I stated that I would be posting some of my own bullying lessons. You may have read this blog post about bullying and common core standards.  Well, life happened and the post never happened.  I'm back and am going to try this blogging thing again.  I wanted to connect to some more great resources that I have been using.  Once again the topic is bullying and once again the lessons are connected to Common Core Standards.  I did not create the lessons but wanted to share them because they are GOOD!

The common core lessons are on Trudy Ludwig's Resource page:

The books:

My Secret Bully:  I highly recommend this book for girls in 4th-6th grade. I am currently using it for a fourth grade girl group.  The story is about two girls who are "friends".  One of the girls, Katie, talks about the other behind her back and begins excluding her from activities.  Katie begins suffering from stomach problems and her mother provides advice/coping skills for Katie to use.  There are some discussion questions at the end of the book as well. You can find more lesson connections HEREHERE,  and HERE.

Sorry!:  I am currently using this book in my fourth grade classroom guidance lessons.  The story line explains that saying sorry doesn't cut it, especially when you have done something mean on purpose. I love that the teacher prompts the character to "make it right" to show that they are truly sorry.  Here is another lesson that you can use with this book:

Confessions of a Former Bully:  Confessions of a Former Bully is a follow up to My Secret Bully. This time Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate and meets with the school counselor to learn how to be a better friend.  This book is full of tips for dealing with bullying as well as ways to turn bully behavior around.  I love the fact that the school counselor is involved!!!  More Connections to this book can be found HEREHEREHEREHERE and HERE

The Invisible Boy:  This is a good book for elementary students.  I am currently using it with a small group of second grade boys.  The story is about a student, Brian, who is isolated/excluded by his peers.  Brian imagines what it would be like to be a part of the group and the artwork in this story leads to its own discussion.  The story includes discussion questions as well.  You can find more lessons HEREHERE and HERE.

Gifts from the Enemy:  I don't own this book but I am going to include it anyway because it looks like it could be a good one.  I just added it to my amazon shopping cart and plan to order it later today.  After reading the book description, it sounds like a book that would be great for a Junior High classroom lesson following a Social Studies lesson on the Holocaust.    

Just Kidding:  I don't have a common core lesson linked to this book but it is still a good book to use. If you need another lesson (other than the one on Trudy Ludwig's page) I have used the one shared Here by Coffee Cups & Lesson Plans. 


I have some difficulty finding good books for boys, so when I saw You've Got Dragons I took a chance and ordered it.  And I love it!  Boys don't always want to admit that they are worried about something.  In this book, a boy pictures his problems as dragons.  Before I read the story I make it very clear that whenever the word "dragon" is used, the boy is talking about a problem that he has.  My students don't have any problem catching on to the concept of the story and after we read it they are ready to tell me about their own problems.  In fact, last week we had a student who was refusing to speak.  He was sent to my room where he remained silent.  Finally, I pulled out this book and read it to him.  I allowed him to make his own dragon and before I knew it he was talking to me!  

Lesson 1:  
We read the story and discuss the character's problems.  
Discussion questions:  What are 3 ways that Ben tries to get rid of his problems? 
Do those strategies work?  Why or Why  not?  What is Ben worried about at the end of the book?  How does Ben finally get rid of his problem?  

Lesson 2:  
Students get the opportunity to draw their own dragon.  They also name their dragon.
Discussion questions:  Tell me about the size of your dragon.  Tell me about the color and details of your dragon.  How did you name your dragon?  What problem does your dragon represent?

Lesson 3:  
Students talk about how they are going to conquer their own dragon.  I let students be as silly as they want about conquering their dragon.  We then go back to the problem that the dragon represents and take some time brainstorming ways to manage the problem.  I also have students write there own tips for dealing with Dragons.  The character in the story gives four "top tips" for dealing with dragons so I encourage students to come up with at least four tips of their own.  

Lesson 4:
In the story, the main character, Ben, answers questions in the format of an advice column.  I decided to create a student worksheet where they get the chance to solve some of Ben's problems.You can get that here:  Advice Column  

****I have also let students make their dragon out of playdough and then smash it at the end of the session.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Enemy Pie (friendship)

Earlier this year, I bought a new book called, Enemy Pie.  It's a great book and I have used it so many times this school year. 

Description (from Amazon):  It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy!
In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends

You can watch a reading of this book:

Visit the Enemy Pie website to get ideas for lesson plans:

This is my favorite lesson:

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Counseling Keepsake

I have started having my counseling students create their own books as a way for them to document their counseling strategies.  Students love doing this and parents love seeing what their student is working on during sessions.  We work on the books during our sessions-typically a page each session, and when the book is finished they keep it at home or in their desk at school.  

 You can order the blank books HERE  or HERE.  I have already used 35 books this year.

Here are some examples of books that my students have worked on:

I let them decorate the front cover.  This student chose to put a blue school bus on the cover:

This is a page out of a social thinking book.  I always send home a list of terms/definitions for parents but this gives the student a resource to look back at:

The next few pages are all from the same book.  A small group is working on friendship skills and titled their books "Our Friendship Rules".  They come up with a rule each session and after the lesson they add the rule to their own individual book.
Rule #1:  Anybody can play.
Rule #2: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Rule #3:  Don't spread a rumor or gossip.
I didn't get a picture of Rule #4:  Have Ownership.  Admit to the wrong things that you do, apologize, make it right.

Rule #5:  Be a bucket filler:  say one nice thing a day about someone.