I am…

We’ve explored cyberbullying in more depth; SO much more depth. The kiddos are finally able to differentiate between rude, mean, and bullying and can even give descriptive reasoning why they’ve classified a certain way – Its progress! It’s even had an unintended, but positive, effect on our community.

The kids are being nicer and more polite with each other, and more mindful to apologize when they realize they’ve been rude. What’s more, the parents have become more mindful about which words they use, and accusations of bullying have decreased (been eliminated?) I didn’t realize how desensitized our community had become to the word bullying, myself included. When a parent said “my kid is being bullied” I always listened, but was also (unintentionally) weary. The word Bullying had lost its impact, and upon realizing this, I knew it was time to intentionally address this with the kids.

We circled up about this challenge and chatted freely:

  • when do we misuse it?
  • why do we misuse the word?
  • why do we stand by when others misuse it?
  • how do we give the word ‘bullying’ power again?

And it was here that our focus changed slightly. The kids talked about how ‘bully’ has become synonymous with ‘mean kid’ but that the two were really different. They also felt that bullies aren’t born, their made. They wondered why some kids become bullies, and this launched us into an exercise in perspective taking through poetry.

We explored the “I am” poetry framework by “Rundi’s Room” on TPT and worked to uncover what bullies might feel in order to better understand why they might bully others. It was difficult at first so we ‘paused’ and took on the P.O.V. of the person being Bullied, the Bystander, the Brave, and then the Bully again.

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We worked in triads to create poetry from each perspective, and when we read the poetry outloud to each other, the kids started to make connections between the different roles. They quickly realized that both the bully and the bullied felt similar things, and maybe weren’t so different after all. This spawned some compassion for kids who bully others, and a desire to develop tools to help change the cycle of bullying.

My hunch, was bang on. The kids wanted to take this poetry and bring it to the masses via their twitter account @corecandids. They want to film a ‘public service announcement’ and share it with the world on ‘Pink Shirt Day.’ It’s not specifically connected to the core competencies like the initial plan, but I think we’ll get there pretty quickly. I heard one of the kids saying “this is social responsibility right? I can…. I can consider the perspectives of others. Or, I cannn… I can identify how my choices and actions impact others? I think those might work?” I think all I need to do is fan the flame of that ‘wonder’ and the Core competencies will come alive. I am mindful that we should be uncovering the competencies, not covering them.

So, stay tuned…

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