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January 26-30
Is No Name-Calling Week




Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
--Mental Health
Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

What is No Name-Calling Week? And what are some schools doing to recognize it?

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to share a time when they said something mean to someone else. How did this make them feel? How did it make the other person feel? Do they wish they could take back the words?

If you teach older students, you might share and talk about the poem Words Can Hurt by Virginia Ruth Becker.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: convince, inspired, teased, aware, novel, and student council. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • Students in each classroom will vote for one classmate to represent them on the schools _____. (student council)
  • Brandon read the entire 450-page _____ in three nights! (novel)
  • Barack Obamas candidacy _____ many Americans to vote in the 2008 election. (inspired)
  • Sandra tried to _____ her mother to let her stay out past 10 p.m., but her mother wouldnt hear it. (convince)
  • Are you _____ that some breakfast cereals are more healthful than others? (aware)
  • Max told his mother that some kids _____ him because he was wearing old sneakers. (teased)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story January 26-30 Is No Name-Calling Week.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

    No Name-Calling Week was inspired by The Misfits, a young adult novel by popular author James Howe. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, four middle school students create a new political party during student council elections. They run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds.

    The first No Name-Calling Week took place in 2004. This year, a national coalition of nearly 50 organizations is sponsoring the sixth annual No Name-Calling Week from January 26-30, 2009. The project seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.

    No Name-Calling Week Coalition partners include the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Girl Scouts of the USA, the National School Boards Association, and the National Education Association.

    "Name-calling and bullying begin to take hold as an everyday experience in elementary and middle school," said Dr. Eliza Byard, interim executive director of the one of the sponsoring organizations (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network/GLSEN). "No Name-Calling Week is an opportunity for schools to address the problem in a proactive, educational manner. Far too many students know how important a week like No Name-Calling Week really is."

    In GLSEN's 2005 report, From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, 47 percent of junior/middle high school students identified bullying, name-calling, or harassment as somewhat serious or very serious problems at their school.

    Comprehension Check

    Recalling Detail

  • When will No Name-Calling Week take place in 2009? (January 26-30)
  • In what year was No Name-Calling Week first held? (2004)
  • What was the name of the book that inspired the first No Name-Calling Week? (The Misfits)
  • What is the goal of No Name-Calling Week? (Accept reasoned responses. For example, the week is an opportunity for teachers and students to talk about how calling people names can be hurtful.)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Social studies tolerance. A short story about a young Iraqi boy opens up classroom discussion about the difficulties some immigrant children face, especially in the days after September 11, 2001. See this complete lesson plan; student work sheet included.

    Social studies, math survey students. If you teach middle school or above, you might want to have students complete this survey from the partners behind No Name-Calling Week. Have students share the results of the survey by creating graphs. Students are bound to be surprised at some of the results of this survey of their peers.

    Citizenship mark No Name-Calling Week. Following are a few ideas for recognizing No Name-Calling Week in your school.

  • Assign each day of the week as a theme day for one of the Pillars of Character. Encourage students to wear the color of the day, and read inspirational quotes during each mornings announcements.
  • Create a banner that says, We the students of ____ School pledge to make our school put-down free." Ask students to sign the banner at lunchtime and then display it in the cafeteria.
  • Run an essay/poetry contest for students, and post entries on a bulletin board near the front office.
  • Play the Peter, Paul & Mary song Dont Laugh At Me, Dont Call Me Names. Discuss the lyrics to the song.
  • Plan a Mix-It-Up Day lunch for students. Have older students organize the mixed up" seating and facilitate discussions among the diverse group of peers seated at each table.
    Find many more ideas for recognizing No Name-Calling Week in this resource from the No Name-Calling Week partners.

    Language arts reading aloud. Share with students this excerpt from James Howes book, The Misfits. Or read aloud some of these other books:

    • Totally Joe by James Howe
      Totally Joe, the companion novel to Howes The Misfits, follows one student as he writes his alphabiography -- the story of his life from A to Z -- and learns that being totally Joe, and totally himself, is the best thing he could possibly be. Read an excerpt from Totally Joe (Grades 6-9)
    • Pinky and Rex and the Bully by James Howe
      Pinky's favorite color is pink, and his best friend, Rex, is a girl. Kevin, the third-grade bully, says that makes Pinky a sissy. Deep down, Pinky thinks Kevin is wrong, but he's still worried. Does Pinky have to give up his favorite things, and worse, does he have to give up his best friend? (Grades 1-4)
    • Jake Drake, Bully Buster by Andrew Clements
      Everything changed the year Jake was in second grade. That's when SuperBully Link Baxter moved to town. Jake had his hands full just trying to survive, until class project time. Who did the teacher assign to be Link's partner? You guessed it. Thats when Jake had to learn to use all his smarts -- and his heart as well -- to turn himself from Jake Drake, Bully Magnet, to Jake Drake, Bully Buster. (Grades 2-4)
    • Amelia's Bully Survival Guide by Marissa Moss
      As if science class isn't enough to deal with -- now Amelia has the class bully to face. But Amelia isn't going to let that get her down. (Grades 2-5)
    • Girl Wars by Cheryl Dellasega and Charisse Nixon
      Two experts explain how to prevent bullying with words and how to intervene should it happen. Illustrated by compelling true stories from mothers and girls, the authors offer effective, easy-to-implement strategies that range from preventive to prescriptive. (Grades 6-9)
    • And Words Can Hurt Forever by James Garbarino and Ellen deLara
      In this groundbreaking work, James Garbarino, the bestselling author of Lost Boys, and Ellen deLara provide a direct word-for-word view into the thinking of adolescents and the strategies they use to keep themselves safe during the school day. (Grades 8-12)
    In addition, you might want to share with students this Q&A with James Howe.

    Find many additional lesson ideas and activities in the Resources section of the No Name-Calling Week Web site.


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.7 Evaluating Data
    NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    MATHEMATICS: Representation
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-REP.PK-12.1 Create and Use Representations to Organize, Record, and Communicate Mathematical Ideas
    NM-REP.PK-12.3 Use Representations to Model and Interpret Physical, Social, and Mathematical Phenomena

    GRADES K - 12
    NPH.K-12.5 Responsible Behavior
    NPH.K-12.6 Respect for Others
    NPH.K-12.7 Understanding Challenges

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen

    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2009 Education World