10 MORE Great Ideas to Bully-Proof Your School
By now you should’ve already received the first 10 Great Bully Prevention Ideas. If you didn’t, here’s the link: Ten Great Ideas to Bully-Proof Your School. Here are the next 10 in a series of 28 great action ideas that you can implement at your school.
IMPORTANT: Do not attempt to implement all of these “action-items” at once. Read through this entire article and pick and choose the one’s that are right for your school. ONE AT A TIME!
Oh, also important – Clear it with your principal before starting any of these actions.
Remember, Bully Prevention is a year-round venture. There is no single solution. The more you do throughout the year, the better the results. Here we go…
Great idea #11
Professional Posters & Banners – When students, parents, teachers and faculty are constantly reminded of the messages of good behavior, they subconsciously, over time, behave better. It’s thought of as “expected behavior”. Over time students act accordingly.
Some principals and teachers believe that this is not important and litters the walls of the schools. I disagree whole-heartedly! The schools that I’ve visited that have professional posters and banners promoting Character Traits, Anti-Bullying and College Bound Messages are better organized, better run and in general have more well-behaved students. I’m not saying that it’ll solve all the discipline problems of the school. But I am saying that it CHANGES THE PERCEPTION of what’s expected at the school.
Ok. Here’s what you do. Get together with your Bully Prevention team or student council. Create a budget (remember, you can also get sponsors – See my previous article that has an entire section on sponsorship HERE). Purchase posters on-line and hang the posters. That’s it. Pretty simple. You can add more each year.
Here’s a few quick ideas to get you started:
- Order ready-made posters from a reputable poster company or
- Order downloadable designs and make your own banners or
- Design your own with your School Slogan and put it on a banner.
(I receive no commission from these resources. I just want you to have them at your fingertips.)
Any way you go about it, the more the merrier. A constant reminder to students and staff that your school CARES about character and being kind. This will go a long, long way.
Great idea #12
Bully Prevention Slogan Contest – The title says it all. Have a Bully Prevention Slogan contest. Announce the contest at one of your assemblies. You can have prizes for each grade level. But there will only be one GRAND PRIZE WINNER.
You’ll use the grand prize-winning slogan for all Bully Prevention Material for that year.
- and more
Make sure to tell all about the prizes at the assembly. This is a great motivation for creative thinking in students.
Here are some that I’ve seen in the past:
“Bully Free Starts with Me”
“Bullying is Whack, Get On The Right Track”
“Take a Stand. Lend a Hand”
“Be a Buddy, Not a Bully”
“Bullying is cruel, so don’t act like a fool”
And here’s my personal favorite:
“Bullies are Turds”
Ok. Some of these may not fit your particular school, but you get the idea.
Great idea #13
Creative Incentives – How do you get students (and kids in general) to do exactly what you want them to do? It’s not as hard as you may think. All teachers have had that unruly class. Every parent has dealt with children or friends of their children that misbehave. But what’s the solution? Well, here’s one.
Yes. It’s as simple as that. Many teachers and parents work only with punishment and repercussions: “If you don’t do it right, then there will be consequences”. Well, that just doesn’t work in the long run. And if you have found that it does work, then my guess is that the children fear you instead of respect and want to please you.
O.K. Enough psycho-babble. Here’s the deal. If you give kids creative and fun incentives, they will respond.
I was inspired to write this because of something I saw at a school. Yes, it’s that creepy picture on the left. Here’s how it came about. I was driving into the parking lot of an Elementary School in Laguna Niguel, and low and behold, I was greeted by this guy. Mr. Happy! Unfortunate names aside, I wondered what the heck he was all about. Well, here’s what I found out.
It seems that a teacher at the school lets one student take home Mr. Happy every week… the student that’s had the best behavior. The student then takes pictures of Mr. Happy eating dinner with the family, going to the beach, watching TV etc… Then on Monday, the student shares the pics with the class. GREAT INCENTIVE!! His students are always vying for a chance to take home Mr. Happy.
So, I thought about some of the other creative incentives I’ve seen at other schools. Here they are:
- One principal promised that if the students got a certain number of PTA sign-ups, she would dye her hair purple
- One principal promised to dress like a chicken if the students reached a certain API score (And they did, and he did. I wish I had a pic)
- One principal shaved the API score numbers into his hair-do (luckily, they didn’t score 666)
- Many teachers use the “Fill the Bucket” concept by filling buckets in the classroom for good deeds
- One principal promised to dress like Elvis and sing Karaoke if the students reached a certain goal (And they did, and he did. I wish I had a recording)
- At a number of schools I visited, the teachers and principals use “Lunch with the Principal” as incentive.
I could go on and on. The whole point here is that if you use creative incentives, your students will respond. Do it. Your students will love it.
Great idea #14
Make a Poster Contest – This can be done as a class project or by each student individually. You can use the school Bully Prevention Slogan, or have each class or student create their own message.
- Announce the contest at an assembly. Make sure to tell exactly how it works and what the prizes are.
- Have each class or student take certain times over a few days to complete the project.
- If the contest is for each class – have them attach it to the inside or outside of the classroom door. Have the judges (can be your Bully Prevention Task Force, PTA, student council or even an overall school vote) look at each.
- If each student does one individually – Have the students turn it into the teacher. Gather them and judge each for winners.
- At the assembly the following week, announce the winners (this is very important. Students love hearing their names as winners.) and give out the prizes.
- Frame the winners and hang them in a high traffic area at the school. You can also attach little ribbons to each showing 1st place, 2nd place etc.
Great idea #15
Create Your Own Anti-Bully Bookmark – How would you like to have a reminder of Bully Awareness that you could give out to all the students that would cost as little as a penny or a nickel a piece?
Sounds good? Well here ya go!
You already have a slogan and/or logo. You can now put that on a bookmark. If you don’t have a good slogan or logo, have a “Create Our Bookmark” contest. Use the same rules as the Poster Contest. Then one lucky student can have his/her design on the school bookmark. Hooray!
Here are a couple websites to create your own:
Order as many as you need and blammo. You now have a memento that your students will use over and over that costs only pennies.
Great idea #16
Creating Your Own Anti-Bully Calendar – Bully prevention should be a year-round venture. So, what’s better as a constant reminder of bully awareness than a calendar. You’ve already had the poster contest. It’s super easy to convert it to a calendar.
Here’s what you do…
Just take the top 12 (13 if you include the cover) winners, create a calendar on-line or send them to the printer and voila, you’ve got yourself a Bully Prevention Calendar. The teachers can hang them in their rooms, OR you can have them for sale for the students and parents. You can also sell ad space to local businesses to sponsor calendars for the entire student body.
Prices can range from $4.00 (only on certain days of the year – look for black Friday deals) each to $25.00. Average seems to be about $20.00 each. Search, search, search! Contact the calendar company and see if you can negotiate a lower price for a bulk rate. After all, you’ll be ordering way more than one.
Your school can make some money. Students, parents, and staff can all have a year-round reminder. Everybody wins!
Great idea #17
Bully Awareness Games & Crafts for Your Students – Here are some cool classroom games you and your teachers can do with your students. Each should have a time for discussion. Have fun!
1.) The Apple Game – Teaches that words hurt – This is done in a classroom setting or with a smaller group of children. Take an apple, hand it to the first student in line, have them say something mean (a bullying taunt) to the apple and drop it from about 2 feet in the air. Have him or her pick up the apple and pass it to the next child to do the same. Keep on doing it all the way down the line.
Then, take a second apple and pass it to the first student in line. Have him or her say nice things to the apple (building up, not putting down). Have him or her pass it to the next student who does the same, and so on.
Now, cut open each apple and see what they look like. Although both look the same on the outside, they are very different on the inside. Open discussion.
2.) Simon Says – Teaches that we all are different – Usually when you play Simon Says, you make a physical gesture, then everybody copies. This one is a little different. Here’s how it works. You say, “Simon Says” and then pick a physical or emotional trait. For example: “Simon says, everybody who likes pizza, put your hand on your head”. You keep naming traits and or emotions until you decide to stop. Open discussion on how “Everybody is different”.
3.) What should I do? – Teaches what to do when an incident occurs – Make up a batch of cards with bullying scenarios that are age appropriate. For example: “Sally spilt juice all over the front of her dress” or “Three boys were guarding the bathroom”. Put them in a box. Have students pick them out randomly. Discuss what they would do. Figure out the best solutions.
4.) Essay Writing – Teaches different solutions to similar scenarios – Prompt your students with a wildly outrageous bullying prompt. For example: “If I had a million dollars to stop bullying, what would I do?” Or “If there was a giant on the playground, how would I stop him from bullying my friends?”. Have each student write a short essay on the subject. You can even have the younger students draw a picture if you like. Then read the more interesting ones out loud (anonymously of course). Discuss the differences in the solutions.
5.) Tower of Power – Teaches the power of working together – Have students bring in a square/rectangular cardboard carton. Have them paint/write anti-bullying slogans or things they can do to prevent bullying on each side. Glue them all together to make a giant Bully Prevention Tower. A tower of power! Discuss the power of working together.
6.) Friendship Chain – Teaches kindness and teamwork – Have each student write a short phrase about what he or she can do to prevent bullying in the school. Cut them out. Glue them together in a circle. Connect all as you glue them to make a friendship chain.
7.) Positive Cool Kid Complements – Just makes students feel GOOD – Have each student draw a picture of themselves on a piece of paper. Write their name on it. Now, pass the pictures around the class. Each student must write something POSITIVE on the paper about the person. Something that they like. Make sure to make this rule concrete! If they can’t say anything positive, pass the sheet on. At the end, pass it back to the original student. Students love to take these home to Mom and Dad.
Great idea #18
Reading Bully Books to Your Students – Teachers in lower grade elementary classrooms are constantly reading to their students. Why not incorporate Bully Awareness Books in their reading? Children love to be read to, and it’ll open discussions about bully awareness. You can even ask parent volunteers to read to the class. Or have a “Read to Your Class” week, where parents and officials come to each class and read them a book.
Here are books that I’ve read and are perfect for teachers of elementary schools. As of the writing of this, all could be found on www.amazon.com. Descriptions are directly from Amazon.com.
Jake’s Best Thumb by Ilene Cooper – Jake is an expert at doing things with his best thumb. He can walk the dog, watch TV, even ride his bike. Jake and his thumb are happy together until kindergarten begins and the class bully teases Jake, calling him “thumb sucker”. Jake doesn’t want to give up his habit, but with some help from a new classmate and the realization that everyone “even bullies” sometimes need a little extra help to feel brave, Jake might finally be ready to try.
The Bully Blockers Club by Teresa Bateman – Lotty Raccoon is excited. This year she has a new teacher, new backpack, and new shoes. But her enthusiasm quickly wanes when Grant Grizzly begins bullying her. With the help of her fellow students, she forms the Bully Blockers Club.
I’m Gonna Like Me, Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem – by Jamie Lee Curtis – Celebrate liking yourself! Through alternating points of view, a girl’s and a boy’s.
Playground Survival by Peggy Burns – ‘Kids Guides’ is a series that discusses and explores the day-to-day problems that children in the 5 to 8 years-old age group might experience.
Pinduli by Janell Cannon – Pinduli’s mama has always told her that she’s the most beautiful hyena ever. But Dog, Lion, and Zebra don’t think so. Why else would they make her feel so rotten about her big ears, her fuzzy mane, and her wiggly stripes?
The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric – Everyone remembers feeling excited and nervous each fall on the first day of school. It’s no different for Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O’Toole. But this year, there’s not only a new teacher to meet, but a brand-new kid as well. Lazlo S. Gasky doesn’t look or speak quite like the other kids, and no one is sure what to make of him.
Today I feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis –
Today I feel silly. Mom says it’s the heat.
I put rouge on the cat and gloves on my feet.
I ate noodles for breakfast and pancakes at night.
I dressed like a star and was quite a sight.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes – At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies.
You can find more through Scholastic and other educational book sellers. If you do find some, I’d love to put them on my list. Please send me a quick note and I’ll put them on the list.
Great idea #19
School Assemblies & Hints to Help Your Assemblies – (Whether your principal does them, you do them, or have a paid professional Assembly Entertainer do them, you must read this) ****There are two types of school assemblies. Assemblies run by students and/or staff and assemblies run by paid professional speakers. Both have their place, and both are important.
Assemblies run by students and staff
These include contests, rewards, incentive programs and more. They help to get everybody (Students, staff and faculty) working towards common goals. A school assembly can run 10 minutes or a full 60 minutes, according to your needs. They can be run by the principal, student council, or any other school “officials” that you deem appropriate.
There are a few keys that will make your school assembly a success.
Here they are in no particular order:
1.) Have the assembly at the same time on the same day each week. This gets the students and staff used to showing up on-time and respecting the speakers.
2.) Get their attention! – I’ve seen many principals and PTA folks get frustrated because they can’t get 250 or 300 students’ attention. You need to get the students’ attention with a specific action that they are used to.
Here are some examples that I’ve seen that work:
- Two fingers in the air (means peace)
- Clapping of the hands three times, then students copy clapping
- Speaker says a specific magic word (Speaker: “Heeeeeey Smith Elementary!” Students answer back “Heeeey Mr Jones”)
- Speaker makes a funny physical gesture (example: puts arms out). Students copy gesture, speaker does another (example: thumbs on the chin), students copy. Keep going until you have the attention of all the students. This is one of my favs.
- Have a saying or song that they do EVERY TIME to begin the assembly. This gets them all working in harmony and paying attention from the very start. This could be a school song, the pledge of allegiance, or even a school saying (Example: Smith Elementary Makes Good Kids!)
3.) Introduce something NEW every assembly. It doesn’t have to be anything earth shattering every time, but by introducing something new it gives the appearance that the school is constantly moving forward. And that the assemblies aren’t a waste of time for the students or the staff.
Paid Assembly Presenter
This is a great way to introduce or reinforce the subject of Bully Prevention in a way that the students and staff CAN’T. A paid assembly presenter usually uses Magic, Juggling, or some other type of variety art to educate the students and staff on the subject. Students love them for two reasons. First, assemblies are fun. They introduce subjects in a fun way. Students look forward to them. And secondly, when students learn without even knowing it, the knowledge seems to stick. They’re not learning because of a test looming in the future. They’re learning and it’s fun!
“How can I tell if it’s going to be a good school assembly?”
A good school assembly is designed to be EDUCATIONAL, INSPIRATIONAL and FUN. A good school assembly will have follow-up materials for the students and teachers. And a good school assembly will have a money back guarantee.
******If you’re still unsure about what to look for when hiring an assembly entertainer that’s worth the time and the money, make sure to take a look at my FREE BLOG “10 Ways to Guarantee a Successful Assembly”. Although it’s made for STEM Assemblies, you’ll get a lot of great helpful ideas.
Great idea #20
Putting it in the Curriculum – Many teachers feel like they don’t have time to teach anything other than what the state requires. They are constantly “teaching to the test”. Well, here’s a way they can do that AND teach bully prevention.
Elementary teachers always do spelling tests. They also present words for vocabulary tests. Instead of just regular ole words, use bully prevention and anti-bullying vocabulary to teach the same lessons.
20 Down, 8 to go…
That was 10 More Bully-Prevention Ideas (20 total so far) to help you bully-proof your school. Once again, please don’t be overwhelmed. Do not attempt to implement all of these “action-items” at once. Hopefully you have or will put many into use at your school and make a huge difference.
THANK YOU for being a giant part of the bully prevention movement at your school. The students at your school and your own children will be better off BECAUSE OF YOU!