October is National Bullying Prevention Month. If you’re looking for ways to motivate students to keep the anti-bullying message fresh and clear at your school, try some of these ideas for bulletin board activities, many of which can be adapted for students of any age.
1. Good Reason in Season Tree
A tree full of good reasons to stop the bullying! Create a large, leafless tree with many branches on your board or wall. Make it easy to pin or tape items on and usable for the entire school year. Then cut leaves in seasonal shapes and colors, or try snowflakes for winter and flowers for spring. For each season, cut 20 or more leaves. Write one anti-bullying idea, technique, reason, or upstander activity on each leaf. You can repeat messages in each seasonal set, or use new ones. Put the fall leaves in a jar and every day have a student select one, read it, and put it on the tree. When the tree is covered with leaves, remove one fall leaf each day and replace it with a winter snowflake. This can serve as a daily reminder of good behavior in your classroom and school.
2. Act It Out!
Make your bulletin board look like a theater marquee, leaving a large spot for a Now Playing poster. Every few days, pop up a “poster” sharing a bullying scenario. Ask students to create short plays and act them out, showing how they would respond to the situation depicted on the Now Playing poster. Each time you change the poster, a new cast can star in the next anti-bullying show. Keep an eye on students’ reactions, too—laughter and applause are great, but no bullyish critics.
3. Book ’Em
Cover a bulletin board with anti-bullying book titles, or have kids draw pictures to depict something from the books. Highlight two or three age-appropriate books that show great ways to stop bullying. For young children, reading them in class is great. Ask older students to find an additional book suggestion in the library and tell the class why they picked it.
4. The Great Put-Down Rewrite
Listening to the radio, a lot of catchy tunes have lyrics that seem to celebrate bullying or treating others poorly. Sometimes they tell tales of being put down by others. Have the class select a song. Post the lyrics, leaving lots of room between lines, and ask kids to rewrite them to create an anti-bullying version of the song. Leaving it up for a few days might encourage more kids to participate. Perhaps a few brave students will decide to belt out the lyrics!
5. It’s in the News . . .
Political campaigns. Terrorism. Questionable sportsmanship. Road rage. Fashion critics. Controlling bosses. Schools may send out a zero tolerance message for bullying, but kids hear the news or see bullying behavior from public figures, and that has a lasting impact. Bring a newspaper or magazine to class. Have the kids select examples of adult behavior that don’t stand up to their test of being bully-free. Plaster half of the bulletin board with those stories and images. Then have people find stories that are positive—about upstanders, paying it forward, viral kindness, and more. The contrast is sure to make for interesting discussions.
Looking for Resources?
Check out Free Spirit’s full list of bullying prevention and conflict resolution resources at this link. We also love this suggested reading list put together by our friends at PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.
What bullying prevention messages get kids’ attention in your classroom?
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It should read “The Bully-Free Life.”