Discover five fabulous anti-bullying activities for your classroom plus 10 bonus anti-bully journal prompts for students!
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 are also 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.
Below are just a few reasons why.
Reasons Why Anti-Bullying Awareness is Necessary for Every Classroom
1. Teachers Need to Create Safe Spaces
First and foremost, it’s essential for teachers to take a proactive stance against bullying.
By making anti-bullying a part of the classroom conversation, you can reinforce the importance of treating everyone with respect to your students—and in turn, you create a safe space for kids who experience bullying problems to come forward and ask for help.
2. Bullying Doesn’t Just Take Place at School
Bullying gets more attention today than it did in the past because it doesn’t just happen at school anymore. Instead, the Internet and the rise of social media have made it possible for bullies to torment their victims 24/7.
To make matters worse, the Internet also allows bullies to stay anonymous. Some students may not have bullied in the past because they were afraid of getting in trouble or facing negative social consequences, but the Internet removes these barriers—and even gives them the chance to team up with other bullies to further harass others.
Cyber-bullying is a real and grave danger that can create serious long-term damage for the victims.
3. Kids Face Immense Pressure
Though every generation has its challenges, social media and other modern technologies also put new pressures on today’s kids that their parents and grandparents never had to face.
This ultimately affects both bullies and their victims. For starters, kids who are bullies often lash out at others so that they may feel better about themselves. When kids are feeling pressured and like they can’t measure up to everyone’s expectations of them, they may become more likely to torment others in order to build themselves up (again, especially when it can be done so easily and anonymously).
As for the victims (who are also facing increased pressures and expectations from the same sources), the effects of the bullying they then receive can be amplified dramatically—which in turn makes them feel even worse and lower.
As you can see, bullying is a very real problem for many middle school students—and teachers absolutely must take a proactive stance against it.
Anti Bullying Activities for Students
Use these five activities to help kick off this year’s anti-bullying campaign. Each anti-bullying activity is designed to help students find more to love about themselves—and to learn how to respect the differences they may see in others.
Anti-Bullying 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 their classmates.
Anti-Bully Activity #2 – 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 them 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 the 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.
Anti-Bullying 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.
Anti-Bully 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 to identify what they like most about their own personalities.
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 personalities 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.
Anti-Bully 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.
Anti-Bullying Journaling & Journal Prompts
Finally, in an effort to make bullying a part of the ongoing classroom conversation, we recommend asking your students to journal about topics related to anti-bullying. As kids write and reflect on how they can better foster acceptance in the classroom, they’ll become more prepared to recognize bullying when it first starts to happen—and they’ll be ready to actively work against it.
Here are 10 effective anti-bullying journal prompts to use with your students:
- Sometimes bullies target people for being “different” or “weird.” When is it good to be different and weird? Write about a famous role model who could be described this way.
- Write about a time when you learned something valuable from someone you didn’t know very well before.
- What is the most effective way to stand up against a bully?
- What should you do if you recognize that someone feels uncomfortable in a conversation with another student?
- Why do people become bullies? How can you show a bully that their behavior is wrong?
- Write about a time when you or someone you know stood up to a bully. Describe what happened—and how the bully responded.
- What is your favorite thing about yourself? Write about something special that you bring to our class.
- What do you think our class could do to stop bullying in our school?
- Imagine that you are at home and witness someone cyber bullying another classmate. How would you handle the situation?
- Write about a time when someone made fun of you for something that you were embarrassed about. Describe how that made you feel.
These anti-bullying activities and journal prompts for middle school kids will help 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!
For more writing ideas, check out these 31 Bullying Awareness Journal Writing Prompts
And, here’s one final resource for you and your students. Let me introduce you to Ernest the Owl. His Parent and Teacher Guide to the Internet is pretty cool. There’s an interactive version as well as a bonus downloadable workbook. Check it out today!
That’s all for now.
Take care and be kind to one another.
Until next time, write on…
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