As the school year begins, many middle school students are heading back to the classrooms ready to meet their friends and start having fun together in the hallways once more. While there are familiar faces around, there also are sure to be a few new people near their lockers and sitting with them in the cafeteria.
The conditions are just right at the start of a new year for bullying to ramp up in earnest, so it’s important that teachers begin their middle school curriculum with at least a few anti-bullying activities.
Unfortunately, for many in middle school, bullying is a very real problem. These anti-bullying activities can help students to love more about themselves and also respect the differences they may see in others.
Anti Bullying Activities for Middle School Kids
Here are a few activities to help you kick-off this year’s anti-bullying campaign:
Activity #1 — The Name Game
This is the perfect time for middle school students to have a fresh start. Many have been given a nickname by their parents, previous teachers or even friends that they may no longer like. Perhaps they feel the shortened version of their name is childish or maybe they have always been called that yet never really liked it.
For this activity, ask students to write down a list of names that they do not wish to be called. Have them turn their sheets into you so that you are aware of their preferences. Then, ask them to make a poster with the name that they prefer to be called, and write down the positive attributes associated with their name. Let them decorate the poster and display it within the classroom. This minimizes name-calling and also helps the students feel like they are being respected by both their teacher and classmates.
Activity # — Write a Personal Reflection on Bullying
Ask students to write a personal reflection on the topic of bullying. The topic may make students feel uncomfortable because it will require students to admit to their own poor choices.
In this personal reflection, ask students to write about a time that they were unkind to someone else. They should identify the things that they did or said, and then write about why they chose those actions at the time.
In addition, ask the students to write about how their actions may have made that other person feel. Finally, at the end of the reflection, ask the students to write out a better plan of action for how they can handle similar situations in the future.
Activity #3 — New Friend Interview
One of the best ways to prevent bullying within the classroom is to help students feel more comfortable with one another. Oftentimes, bullying results when students see each other as strange or different.
With this activity, create a list of interview questions that will be provided to each student. Pair off the students in the class, and ask them to interview one another. Challenge them to find one thing that they have in common with that student. Then, the students should introduce their partner to the class. This helps everyone establish a personal connection within the classroom and can minimize bullying right at the start of the school year.
Activity #4 — Learn to Love Yourself
For many bullies, the need to pick on others stems from their own lack of self-confidence or self-acceptance. Within your classroom, you can prevent bullying by encouraging students to learn more about themselves and identify what they like most about their own personality.
Provide students with definitions of self-acceptance and self-esteem. Teach them about the importance of liking who they are and accepting the aspects of their personality that make them unique and wonderful. Then, ask students to write five statements about themselves.
They should be statements like:
“I love that I work hard in school and get good grades,” or
“I love that I practice my violin each day and that I am getting better.”
Ask the students to hold onto their self-acceptance sheets and refer to them when they are having a bad day. By building confidence in your classroom, you can naturally minimize the bullying that occurs in the school building.
Activity #5 — Anti-Bullying Short Story
As part of your creative writing curriculum, ask your students to write a short story about a fictionalized bullying experience. Their stories may touch on violence in school, cyber bullying or bullying with words. The characters should encounter a challenging bullying scenario and learn to solve their differences in a way that is respectful and productive. Have the students share their work with the class so that everyone understands that bullying, in all of its forms, can have a negative and lasting impact on an individual’s life.
These anti-bullying activities for middle school kids will help to get the school year started on a positive and friendly note. Have fun with them and here’s to wishing you and your students a wonderful, fabulous, and positive school year to come!
Until next time, write on…
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Sincerely, Jill journalbuddies.com creator and curator