Bullying Prevention Lesson Plan: Stand Up to Bullying
This lesson has students practice being upstanders by role-playing helping kids who are bullied.
- review the steps to being an upstander for someone who is bullied
- reflect on their willingness to be upstanders and anything that might stand in the way
- role-play situations where a student is being picked on and upstanders intervene
- envision a scenario where they serve as an upstander for someone in need of help
Introduction and Discussion
Ask students: Has anyone helped someone who was being picked on or included someone who was left out? How did it feel to help? Discuss. If no one helped out, ask what stopped them from doing so.
Ask for volunteers to role-play the following scenarios, or others students suggest. Suggest they use ideas from the class chart. After each role play, discuss briefly how it went, what worked, what was difficult, and why.
- Every day when Gabe, a second grader, is outside on the playground, one of the older kids pushes him down and takes his money. You decide to be an upstander.
- Audra is in a special class but comes to your class for social studies every day. That’s when Ronnie and Ali pick on her and call her mean names. You decide to ask someone to help you be an upstander for her.
- On the bus, Nick and Marco always pull Zoey’s hair and knock her down. You and your friends decide to be upstanders for her.
After all the role plays, ask the upstanders: How did it feel to stand up for someone who was being bullied? What helped you do it? Ask all students: What would make it easier to be an upstander? Tell students that people who become upstanders often get the courage to do so by focusing on helping somebody rather than on the fear they might be feeling. They become stronger people with greater self-respect as a result. Discuss.
Close the session with a brief visualization exercise. Have students close their eyes and take three slow, deep abdominal breaths. Then read the following aloud to them:
Imagine yourself seeing someone who is being picked on. You feel really bad for that person. You decide you’re going to tell the person who’s picking on him to stop. See yourself as strong, brave, and confident. Think about what you want to say. (Pause.) Now picture yourself walking over to the person and saying your words. Picture the person hearing you and stopping. Picture the person you helped thanking you. Imagine yourself filled with a deep sense of pride and strength.
Now open your eyes and know that you have the power to do this in real life, either alone or with a friend.
Encourage students to practice being an upstander this week. Remind them they don’t have to do it alone.
Give students several days to write anonymous essays about their experiences with bullying—as someone who was bullied, as someone who bullied, or as a bystander. Share these essays with your principal. With students’ permission, post the essays randomly in school to build awareness.
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