Upstanding instead of by standing


As a teacher I approach the topic of bullying through literature.  There are several great books out there that illustrate all of the different forms of bullying.  Not only that, but through reading and discussion it allows my students to think more deeply about how bullying impacts not just those directly involved, but those who also witness the incidents.  This group of individuals known as bystanders has really been the focus of many researcher’s discussions.  This special group of individuals cash either choose to intervene or walk away.  The question arises: How do they decide what kind of bystander they want to be? Teachers and parents follow up that question with one of their own: How can I teach my child to be an up stander instead of a bystander? Adults need to teach children to stand up for they know is right.  A simple word or action (like a smile) truly is worth a million dollars. Many victims of bullying feel lost and alone and all they need is to know that someone out there cares for them.  When they see negative things posted on social media websites, they don’t need to come back with something negative toward the bully, instead they need to come back with something positive for the victim.  This seemingly simple act of kindness will go a long way! Use social media for positive!  Aside from social media, in the classrooms we need to create a culture of kindness through random acts of kindness.  Children need to be reminded that they aren’t always going to be reward for making good decisions.  Eventually, the reward will be intrinsic.  We as adults need to show our students/children how to go about doing random things for others.  Have your students participate in volunteer opportunities: Make cards for soldiers, collect canned goods, make art projects for seniors.  We need to foster positive relationships so that they can stand up for one another instead of standing by.

Things I learned in St. Louis……


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to present at a character education conference in St. Louis.  I met some wonderful people, and heard some fantastic speakers!  One thing was clear, there are a lot of dedicated professionals out there who want to make life easier for kids!  I am looking forward to the school year starting, so that I can implement some of the new things that I learned, and also continue utilizing some of the strategies that I use (that were validated at the conference)!!!

1. Greet each student at the door each morning- Welcome them into the room, and let them know you are prepared for a new day. 

2. Give the students time to reflect on their evening/weekend- Implement a “For the Good of the Group” sharing time. 

3. Incorporate a variety of literature into teaching.  Literature is an invaluable resource.  Kids can make so many connections with the books that you read.  

4. Parents play a huge role in the education of the their children.  Make sure to involve them frequently.  Solicit their feedback, and encourage their participation. 

Advice about bullying……


Even with school out for the summer, I continually see articles throughout the newspaper about bullying! This is an epidemic that we need to do something about.  Adults need to be aware of the this problem and need to take on the responsibility for educating the youth that they come into contact with about the effects of bullying.  Bullying is present in every environment that children find themselves immersed in- whether it is cyberspace, the playground, or the baseball field.  Take some time to observe the way children are treating one another.  How does your child respond in different situations?  Have you participated in conversations with your child about how to handle bullying situations?  It is recommended that if you have not engaged in conversations yet, it is a good time to start!