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Anti-Bullying Lessons

Readers Theatre   |   Chrysanthemum Read Aloud

Anti-Bullying Lesson One: Readers Theatre

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Students will be utilize Readers Theatre plays to discuss behaviors that constitute bullying and teasing. This lesson serves as the introductory lesson of a four-lesson mini-unit on anti-bullying.

Teasing and bullying are common behaviors in an elementary school. Students need to understand that these behaviors are unacceptable and that they are not powerless when faced with a bullying or teasing situation. Also, my students love to perform skits, which is why I chose to utilize Readers Theatre so that students could work on their reading and language fluency skills while being very engaged in the lesson.





Students will utilize Readers Theatre scripts to improve language fluency.

Students will be divided into two groups to read, practice, and perform in Readers Theatre plays.

SWBAT identify behaviors that constitute bullying and teasing.

Students will contribute ideas to “Teasing is…” and “Bullying is…” charts in order to come up with a class definition for each word. Students will complete homework assignment where they will be asked to define bullying and teasing in their own words.

SWBAT identify effects and symptoms of bullying and teasing.

Students will participate in class discussion about the effects of teasing and bullying on the victims and how one might be able to recognize symptoms of being a victim of bulling and/or teasing.

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
3.1.D.1 – Recognize grade-level words with accuracy and ease so that a text sounds like spoken language when read aloud.
3.3.D.3 – Use appropriate strategies to prepare, rehearse, and deliver an oral presentation, such as word choice, expression, eye contact, and volume.
3.4.B.2 – Listen to a story read aloud and/or information from television or film, and summarize main ideas.
9.2.D.1 – Demonstrate character traits that are important to in day-to-day activities in home, school, and community such as trust, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

IRA Standards
IRA Standard 1.4 – Demonstrates knowledge of the major components of reading.
IRA Standard 2.1 – Use instructional grouping options as appropriate for accomplishing given purposes.
IRA Standard 2.2 – Use a wide range of instructional practices, approaches, and methods.
IRA Standard 2.3 – Use a wide range of curriculum materials.
IRA Standard 4.1 – Use students’ interests, reading abilities, and backgrounds as foundations for the reading program.
IRA Standard 4.1 – Use a large supply of books and non-print materials.
IRA Standard 4.4 – Motivate learners to be lifelong readers.
IRA Standard 5.3 – Observe, evaluate, and provide feedback.


Introductory Activity (2-3 Minutes)
First, I will ask if anyone has ever been bullied or seen someone else being bullied? I will then ask how it made them feel to see or experience it. I will then ask if they ever wanted to learn how to deal with a bully. I will share that we will be talking a lot about bullying and teasing over the next few days and that today’s goal is to identify behaviors that would be considered teasing and/or bullying as well as talk about how bullying makes people feel.

Development (1 hour):
I will then share with students that today they will be participating in Readers Theatre plays about teasing and bullying.  I will ask if anyone in class has heard of or performed in Readers Theatre before. I anticipate a mix of affirmative and negative responses. I will then tell students that I will momentarily divide the class into two groups. Once they are in their groups, they will have a few minutes to practice and then perform two different plays. One group will be reading, practicing, and performing a play called “Hooway for Wodney Wat” about a young rodent who is teased at school because he cannot pronounce his R’s. The other group will be using a script called “Lace Up Against Bullying” about a group of students who come together to stand up against bullying in their school. Each group will be composed of students of varying ability so that more advanced students can provide assistance and support to students who may be struggling. The groups will have about a half an hour to practice their plays before they perform for the class. This will give me time to assist each group with any words they might be struggling with or to answer any questions. I will also model mannerisms, phrasing, and inflection to assist performers who might be shy or not know how to interpret the script into body language, etc. During practice and the performances, I will have the opportunity to observe students as they read aloud and will note any issues with phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and fluency.  

 I will ask students to think about what is happening in the plays that would constitute bullying and/or teasing while they read their own plays and as they listen to their classmates’ performances. Once students have performed, I will bring them back together for whole class instruction and discussion. First, we will discuss what happened in each play that the students would consider to be teasing or bullying. We will also talk about how the victims felt in the plays after being bullied. Some anticipated answers include that the victims felt sad, frustrated, and embarrassed. I will ask if they would be able to recognize if a class member or friend was being bullied even if they didn’t see it. How might that person act? This discussion will allow me to observe whether any students had problems with text comprehension.

After this discussion, I will put two pieces of chart paper on the chalkboard. On one piece of the chart paper, I will have a heading written that says “Teasing is…” and another piece of chart paper that says “Bullying is…” Anticipated responses include:

        Teasing is…

        Bullying is…

        saying bad things



        making someone do something

        saying false things

        threatening someone




Summary (3-5 Minutes):
To conclude the lesson, we will review what happened in each story that may be considered bullying or teasing behaviors. We will then go over the definitions that the class came up with for each word. Finally, we will review how bullying and teasing can make someone feel. I will then remind students that we will be spending a lot of time this week talking about this topic because it is so important for students to come to school feeling safe and secure and when bullying or teasing is going on at school, often times the victims don’t feel comfortable coming to school. I will hand out their homework assignment and tell students that we will go over it prior to our lesson tomorrow during which we will discuss teasing more in detail.

At this point, I will distribute a Readers Theatre verse called “That’s What Bullies Do” by Lois Walker. I will tell students that this is fun poem to read because wherever the words are underlined, you are supposed to clap. I will emphasize that this is not a homework assignment, but I will encourage them to read it aloud to their parents at home.

Forward Look:
Following this lesson in which the concepts of teasing and bullying were introduced, we will discuss the idea of teasing further through a Read Aloud of Kevin Henkes’ Chrysanthemum. To finish up the Anti-Bullying thematic unit, we will discuss reasons why people bully others and what it says about the bullies themselves, and finally, we will discuss what children should do if they are being bullied or witness bullying (i.e. what it means to be a bystander).

For homework, students will be asked to complete a worksheet entitled Think about Teasing and Bullying. The worksheet will ask students to define the words bullying and teasing in their own words. They will also be asked to recount a teasing experience and how it felt.

Instructional Materials:
1. Copies of Readers Theatre scripts for all students: Lace Up Against Bullying by Lewis Lois and Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester.
2. Chart Paper
3. Markers
4. Think About Teasing and Bullying worksheet for all students

Anti-Bullying Lesson Two: Chrysanthemum Read Aloud

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1.       Title: Everyone’s Name is Special

2.       Amanda McComas, Mrs. Joan Cutler, Grade Three

3.       Topic: Teasing – importance of respecting other people for their differences.

4.       Rationale:   Children often tease each other by making fun of one another’s names. This form of teasing, like others, can be particularly harmful to a child’s burgeoning sense of self. The story Chrysanthemum explores that idea as it helps children to understand that it is great to be different.

5.       Prior Knowledge:
This will be the second lesson on anti-bullying that the children have experienced. During the previous lesson, the children performed Readers’ Theatre scripts that involved bullying and teasing scenarios. They then came up with their own definitions for the words “teasing” and “bullying.” Then, students discussed the effects of bullying on the victims. At the beginning of this lesson, I will ask students to summarize what they learned about bullying and teasing in the previous lesson.

During this lesson, students will also be asked to write a letter to characters in the story. They have recently been taught the elements of a friendly letter and should be able to use that knowledge for this activity.

6.       Standards:
3.2.D.1. – Write for a variety of purposes (e.g. to inform, entertain, persuade) and audiences (e.g. self, peers, community).
3.2.D.4. – Write to express thoughts and ideas, to share experiences, and to communicate socially.
9.2.C.3. –
Develop skills for accepting self and others through awareness of different cultures, lifestyles, and attitudes.
9.2.D.1. – Demonstrate character traits that are important in day-to-day activities at home, school, and community such as trust, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

7.       Objectives and Assessment:



SWBAT identify behaviors that constitute “teasing.”

Students will be asked to identify moments in the story when Chrysanthemum was being teased.  I anticipate that after reading the story aloud, 85% of students will be able to provide a satisfactory answer.

SWBAT demonstrate their knowledge of the psychological effects of teasing and bullying.

Half of the class will be told to pretend that they are the bullies from the story and write a letter of apology to Chrysanthemum. The other half of the class will be assigned as Chrysanthemum and will write a letter expressing her feelings to the bullies.  After collecting and reviewing the letters, I anticipate that the majority of the class will have adequately grasped this concept.

SWBAT identify strategies for dealing with teasing situations.

As a closing activity, I will initiate a whole-class discussion on what one can do if one is being teased or witnesses another person being teased.  I anticipate that 85% of students will be able to provide satisfactory input in the discussion.


7.       Hook:
To engage the students in this lesson as well as connect to the previous introductory lesson on bullying, I will start by presenting a Reader’s Theatre Script in Rhyme called “That’s What Bullies Do” by Lois Walker. The verse is rhythmic and includes clapping, which the students will enjoy. Each student will have a hand-out so that they can follow along as I perform the verse. Then, I will have students join me in saying the verse.

8.       Activities:
1. After the hook, I will ask students to join me in the “library” area of the classroom to read Kevin Henke’s Chrysanthemum. I will tell students that this is a story about a little girl mouse named Chrysanthemum. I will instruct students to think of the definitions of bullying and teasing that we came up with during the previous lesson and think about what can be considered bullying or teasing in this story.
2. I will read the story. During the parts of the story when Chrysanthemum is being teased, I will call attention to the way the children’s (mice) remarks are making our heroine feel. When Chrysanthemum is at home, I will point out how her parents show her comfort and support.
3. After reading the story, I will ask students to think about how special their own names are and ask how they would feel if someone made fun of their names.
4. After discussing students’ names, I will have 9 blue blocks and 8 blocks of another color. I will hand out all of the blocks to the students. I will then tell students that if they received a blue block, then I want them to write a letter of apology to Chrysanthemum as if they were the bullies in the story. I will tell the other half of the class, that they are to pretend they are Chrysanthemum and write a letter to the bullies about how they made her feel. After explaining these directions, I will ask students to quietly go back to their desks and pull out a pencil. At this point, I will hand out paper for them to write on.
5. After giving students time to write their letters, I will ask for volunteers willing to share what they have written.

9.       Questions:
During Story
1. What are the mice children doing to make Chrysanthemum feel sad?
2. What does her body language tell you?
3. What do her parents do to make her feel better?

After Story
1. How would you feel if someone made fun of your name?
2. What would you have done differently if you were Chrysanthemum?
3. Were you named after a special person? Who?
4. Did your parents pick a name because they liked the way it sounded?
5. Were you named for a special place?
6. Does anyone else in your family have the same name?

Closure Discussion
1. What can you do if you or some else is being teased?

10.   Closure: After students are finished writing their letters, my closing activity will be a discussion on what students can do if they are being teased or if they see someone else being teased.

11.   Individualization: Some students who have trouble writing will be permitted to draw a picture to express either an apology for teasing or sadness over being teased.

12.   Follow-Up Activities:
1. Students will engage in a discussion on what someone can do if they witness someone being bullied or are being bullied themselves (e.g. stand up for yourself, walk away, get an adult).
2. Students will engage in a discussion on the role and responsibilities of bystanders and will explore the difference between tattling and telling.

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