Academic journal article American Journal of Health Education

Teaching Violence Prevention: How Much Does Bullying Weigh?

Academic journal article American Journal of Health Education

Teaching Violence Prevention: How Much Does Bullying Weigh?

Article excerpt


Bullying is a prevalent problem for many elementary school students, and it is associated with physical injury and depression. (1-4) Objectives: Students engaged in this teaching activity will be able to identify bullying behaviors as well as list and demonstrate strategies to effectively deal with bullying situations. Target Audience: Fourth- and fifth-grade students.


Bullying is a well-documented problem for many students in all grade levels, which typically negatively impacts their personal health and safety, particularly in the school environment. (1-3) Specifically, among both victims and perpetrators, bullying has been associated with indicators of poor psychosocial adjustment, such as depressive symptoms, truancy and risky behaviors. (1,4) From a prevention perspective, intervention programs and lessons about respectful behavior should begin with young students. Concepts, such as empathy and consequences of one's actions; however, may be difficult for teachers to convey to students in elementary grade levels because they may be at varying developmental stages of concrete operations or moral realism? Based on the teaching strategy of using demonstrations, (6) and to appeal to students' different learning styles, this activity provides a basis from which students can begin to bridge concrete actions (e.g., physical or verbal bullying) and abstract constructs (e.g., empathy, social consequences). Additionally, strategies for handling bullying situations are included in this activity.


At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

* List bullying behaviors.

* List strategies to deal with bullies.

* Demonstrate strategies to deal with bullies.


This lesson is designed for students in grades four and five and may be used to complement a lesson on respect and healthy relationships.


* Pre-written bullying narrative about the life of a student who is bullied (See "Jimmy's Story" in Figure 1. Alternatively, this narrative may be rewritten with a female protagonist.)

* 10-12 marbles (The numbers of marbles used in this activity have been tested for completion of bullying narrative; however, the exact number of needed marbles may vary.)

* Thin paper napkin (approximately 12 in. x 12 in.)

* Cup of water

* Tray or towel

* Marker

* Role play examples (Figure 2)

* Worksheets (Figure 3)

* Writing utensils for group activities

* Chalk and chalkboard

Figure 1. Bullying Narrative: Jimmy's Story

Jimmy was scared about starting fourth grade in a new U.S. school. His
family had moved to the area over the summer, and, even though he made
friends in his neighborhood, he was worried about being accepted at
school. Jimmy's family was from Japan, but he had never had any
problems about "looking different" because, in his previous U.S.
school, there were many students who came from many different countries
around the world and, therefore, not all students looked traditionally
"American." Jimmy was not sure; however, if there were any Asian
students at his new school.

On the first day, when the teacher came to his name as she was taking
roll--James Yamamoto--he heard a few students in the class laugh. Add
one marble. At recess, Jimmy gathered his trading cards and headed down
the hall. He heard someone come up behind him, and before he knew it,
his cards were knocked out of his hands, and they went flying into the
air and landing all over the floor Add two marbles. He turned and saw
three boys laughing. One of them said, "What country did you come from,
weirdo." Add one marble.

Jimmy replied, "I was born in California. I'm from the U.S."

"Well, you don't look like it," another boy said. They laughed and
walked away.

As Jimmy picked up his cards, another student stopped to help him. … 
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