Bully Me No More (Lesson Plans)

Tomorrow, December 17th 2010, is Anti-Bullying Day and as a person who has been, in different life situations,

the victim, the supporter, the hero... 
the observer, the bully, the oblivious...

I decided to channel my energy into creating a lesson plan on the subject.   I hope you and your students find it interesting and I hope it helps.

1. Tyler Ward's Cover Version of Eminem's No Love
Write the following paragraph on the board or beam on to a whiteboard/IWB:

It's a little too _______ to say that you're ______ now. You kicked me when I was _____ but what you say just don't ______ me, don't hurt me no more. You showed me nothing but ______, you ran me into the _________ but what comes _________ goes _________, what you say just don't hurt me, don't ____ me no more.

Ask your students to guess what the missing words are.

or Watch the video via the internet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz1Y6EZUT10&feature=related 
to confirm the missing lyrics.

Ask your students to tell you if they know who the original song and singers are.
(Eminem & L'il Wayne). Who are they? Ask what they think the song ís about.

2. Eminem & L'il Wayne: No Love (video)

a. Ask your students to jot down notes while they watch about what they see on the screen – start the music video – make sure to play without sound (very adult lyrics)*  
(this is a clean version)

Eminem - No Love ( Feat. Lil Wayne )
from Top Music on Vimeo.

http://www.vimeo.com/17010892 (available Dec2010)*explicit
((some countries have clean versions of the lyrics available -do a google video search))
b. Ask your students to describe (in as much detail as possible) the story they saw in the video and how it made them feel while watching.

c. Ask students if they think that Eminem or L'il Wayne were ever bullied at school. Were either of them the bullies? Why do they think so?

3. What is Bullying?
Ask students – What is bullying? How does it differ from fist-fighting, verbal abuse or other types of hurtful or angry behaviour? 

What factors are usually in place in a situation like the one shown in the video – can we usually tell if someone is being bullied?   What happens to people who fight back?

Sticks & Stones

4. Sticks and Stones
(If you have access to real sticks and stones + cards with common insult words put these up on a table in the front of the class.)
Ask students: Is violence always physical? What does the saying Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me mean?  

Is it true? How do words harm?

Get students to push the desks out of the way and create an open space in the centre of your classroom. Take a roll of tape and draw a line through the middle of the room. Make sure to assert that your classroom is now a safe-place and ask for respect to be shown to each other.  

Example here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H7QMy54Keg&feature=player_embedded
(Alternatively you can opt for asking students to remain seated and raise their hands or stand up in place when answering yes.)

Ask students to stand on the line whenever they can answer yes to a question and to stand off the line whenever they want to answer no. No elaborating on questions -simply asking them to step on or off the tape. 

*If you're teaching second language learners you may need to clarify some of the vocabulary beforehand.

Stand on the line/ Stand up/ Raise your hand

  1. ... if you like listening to music...

  2. " if you have an mp3 player

  3. " if you have an ipod

  4. " if you have an itouch/ ipad/ iphone

  5. " if you have more than 30 albums on your music device

  6. " if you own any rap music

  7. " if you have any albums by Eminem or L'il Wayne

  8. " ~if no one in your family knows about this... :-)

  9. " if you had an argument with anyone in your family this week

  10. " if you had an argument with anyone at school last week

  11. " if you have ever called someone a bad name in private

  12. " if you have ever called someone a bad name in public

  13. " if you have ever been called a bad name in private or public

  14. " if you have ever been hit by anyone else

  15. " if you have ever hit a brother or sister/ friend

  16. " if you have ever hit a someone you didn't know well

  17. " if you have seen someone else hit

  18. " " … and didn't do anything

  19. " " … and reported it to an authority

  20. " " … and hit the person doing the hitting

  21. " " … and waited, then helped the victim

  22. " if you have ever been a friend of someone who hurts people

  23. " if you have ever been a friend of someone who took their own life.

Thank the students for sharing and then get them to help put the desks back in place. Don't talk about the experience or intervene – at this stage - if some students are emotional, allow them to comfort each other.

6. Who feels what? 

Hand out the wordle* Who feels what and the activity sheet asking for the emotions of:

  • The Bully
  • The Bully's Lieutenants
  • The Victim
  • The Victim's Supporters
  • The Victim's Hero
  • The Observers
  • The Oblivious

Switch groups after 10-15 minutes. There are no right or wrong answers. If teaching 2ndLanguage learners, allow dictionaries.
*Depending on your culture and the age-group you're teaching, you will need to make a decision on which wordle to use. One of these includes the phrase sexual thrill and uses harder adjectives.

7. Tell your story
As the teacher, you should now tell a story from your own personal experience (your childhood or that of one of your kids) of either being bullied, watching a bullying experience plus what you did or didn't do or, perhaps, even of being the bully yourself in a specific situation.  

It is very important that you share a true personal story rather than something in the news at the moment - if you can - as it will help your students trust you enough to tell their own.

Now ask your students to share a story from their lives: they can write their stories in their blogs or notebooks and make sure that they know that they will not required to share these stories unless they choose to. Stop them after a long enough period has passed and then ask for volunteers of those who would like to share their story publicly: again remind everyone that your classroom is a safe haven today and
ask for respect without judgments.

8. Bully Me No More: question cards
Print out enough copies of the card game on coloured paper to create multiple small groups of 3-5 students. Cut the cards and distribute the questions you feel suitable for your age group. Put them face down on the table, the students should turn over the cards and ask each other the questions on them.

9. Write a play
Divide up your class into groups of no less than 6 – 10 students and ask them to script a play about bullying:

Act I: A horrible incident occurs afterschool.
Act II: A school meeting is called to discuss the incident.
Act III: 25 years later, everyone meets at a school reunion.
Who is everyone now? What do they do/ what jobs do they have?  What do they talk about?
If the students would like to, get them to choose characters, act it out / film and/or host on YouTube.

10. Follow-Up: Internet Research and Project Work
Post up the following options on the board and ask students to choose which they would like to research on in order to work collaboratively. Students can then use their computers/web2.0 tools to create posters/ prezis/ glogsters/ animotos/ wallwishers/ comic books/ infographics etc.

  • Bullies throughout history:a timeline
  • How to: A guide by students to teach teachers how to spot and deal with bullies
  • What is cyberbullying: how to report, prevent it and stay safe online
  • Cyberbullying: what stories are in the media today?
  • How to spot sexual predators (off and online)
  • Understanding the psychology of the bully / victim/ supporters/ observers
  • What is defamation of character? Understanding the legal issues of slander and libel.
  • What is the NOH8 campaign?

I love hearing from you!
Please add your thoughts if you enjoyed this lesson plan and you feel like there's something you would like to question, add or say about it - don't worry about perfection or agreeing with me: it's always a pleasure to hear from you and know your own opinions.

Best, Karenne

Download the lesson plan:

8 Responses to “Bully Me No More (Lesson Plans)”

  • Anonymous says:
    December 16, 2010

    Brilliant, Karenne!
    This is what I'd call a rare good chunk of material (for) Development, capital D for that.

    It's absurdly good!

    It's a shame I don't have a class of teens to use it, or a class of anything actually. But will bookmark it for when I have.

  • seburnt says:
    December 16, 2010

    Wow, Karenne! I love it. You weren't kidding when you said you don't stay away from sensitive topics and the thought going into the materials and activities really demonstrates how to handle them. The tape on the floor is such a great transferable activity!

    There are two questions I have:
    1) What "common insults" did you use on the cards?
    2) I'm assuming this lesson brought out emergent language, which in addition to exposure to the topic, was the point. What came out of it?


    December 18, 2010

    Thank you Willy,
    I do hope you will use it one day when you're back in classes!

    Hi Tyson,
    Nope, no stranger to the difficult, me. Regarding this lesson, it's an old one I dug up and modernized - I used to teach teens both in Hong Kong and Ecuador, working with disadvantaged and in particular, in HK, we had a situation and had to deal with it.

    The common insults - well, I would write them here but that only further perpetuates that language, I think - if you, like me - have lived through any sort of bullying then you will remember some of the things said to you back then... but the best thing to do is ask your students for them.

    And, yes, the lesson brings out a lot of emergent language - it forces us to look deeply, to seek out truths - the best thing I can suggest is to do the lesson and then to listen closely to what the students have to tell you about how the more powerful gang up on the weak - and just how destructive this can all be.

    December 18, 2010

    but also, sorry -forgot to add - I think what I've tried to do as much as possible, in terms of CT, is to show how we never one thing or the other, how we all at different times and stages of our lives participate on different levels. The tao thing I suppose, that

    What is a bad man but a good man's job
    What is a good man but a bad man's teacher...

    How nothing exists without the other... hmm, a bit too philosophical perhaps.

    Thanks for your comments guys, very appreciated.


  • Clare says:
    December 18, 2010

    I'm sorry Karenne, but some of this lesson would just be too hardcore for me or my teen students. I'd be very uncomfortable with an activity that might end up with students needing to comfort each other...

    December 18, 2010

    that's a fair enough comment Clare and I understand where you're coming from completely... it's just there are these events in our human experience... there are these deeply painful things that happen and children do kill themselves or contemplate it - I have no idea where the discussion of these tragic things belong

    If not discussed at home or within the circle of peers...

    I don't know. I have a tragic tale I could tell of a young girl who wound up dead... but, but, but... for today, I think it's not a tale I'll tell.

    Thanks for your comment though - again - I do really hear what you're saying. I have no answers, really, just experiences.

  • Tyson says:
    December 18, 2010

    Yes, the fact that insults come up and are perpetuating the language is a point always to consider when doing such lessons. Should Ss be exposed to the language itself in order to be shown to avoid using it and/or know if someone is using it against them? Should the language be avoided altogether in order to keep Ss from knowing how to use it?

    December 21, 2010

    Most indeed difficult, Tyson. I think, perhaps hypocritically that while I don't want to write these words on my blog I would bring them up in class.

    This is because I am no saint and I have used bullying words against others just as I have had horrifcally bullying words used against me and still remember them.

    But I did bring them up in class (this lesson is an old one - I don't teach teens at the moment) and got my students to help so that, by facing them we could "own" them.

    I think, referring a little to the conversation with Clare above, also... I guess I believe that there is a certain life-educational space that happens within a classroom and opportunity to be real, when real is needed.

    It's very difficult to explain so I'm probably doing a pig's ear of it... I think I'm trying to say that I don't believe the world is made of roses and smiley faces all the time and pretending that it is is essentially more damaging in the long-run and that if this language isn't dealt with, in the classroom, where will it be?

    And how will the students develop coping mechanisms, especially when confronted with racism (as I was) or sexism or homophobia or any of the multitude of reasons that people hurt each other with their words...

    over and out,


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