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Using Literature to Teach About Bullying

Teacher Lesson




  • Literature
  • Safety
  • Sociology




  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8


Brief Description

Use literature to get students talking and thinking about the issue of bullying. Students learn to recognize the different forms of bullying, their causes, and ways to deal with bullying.




Students will


  • recognize the signs of bullying.
  • recognize the different forms bullying can take.
  • be able to employ ways to prevent bullying situations.



bullying, conflict resolution



Materials Needed

The following four books are suggested for this lesson. If they are not accessible, other books with a bullying theme might be used instead.



Lesson Plan


Read aloud with students the books above and/or other books with a bullying theme. After reading, discuss the following about each book:

  • Who is the bully?
  • Why is this character acting like a bully?
  • What types of bullying do you see in this story?
  • How might the character being bullied handle the bully?

Invite students to create their own dictionary pages, either individually or as a class. Discuss or brainstorm the following vocabulary words to include in the dictionary.

  • bully (bullying)
  • conflict
  • resolution
  • violence
  • gossip
  • exclusion
  • physical bullying
  • verbal bullying

Arrange students into cooperative groups and give each group one of the following forms of bullying:

  • Gossip
  • Exclusion
  • Physical Bullying
  • Verbal Bullying
Have students in each group discuss among themselves examples of the type of bullying assigned. Ask students to prepare to offer ideas for ways to treat others in a more positive manner.

After students have shared problems and solutions related to bullying, have each group write a contract for acceptable classroom behavior.

Bring groups together and invite them to share their ideas. Create a class contract for acceptable classroom behavior.

Extension/Critical Thinking Activities

  • Have students explain how they could apply what they learned to situations outside the classroom.
  • Have students create posters displaying positive classroom behavior.
  • Ask students to brainstorm historical events that represent extreme bullying on a global scale (for example, the Holocaust).




A brainstorming rubric, such as the one at http://www.augie.edu/dept/educ/csiw/brainstorm.htm can be used to assess each group's willingness to contribute information to the discussions.
A cooperative group rubric, such as the one at http://web54.sd54.k12.il.us/vrkit/supplements/sixth/olympics/CoopRubric.doc, can be used to assess group participation.
Students abilities to use the information they gain and apply it to creating their contracts also can be graded.


Submitted By


Joanne Hughes, Covert Avenue Elementary School in Elmont, New York


Links last updated 8/19/2012


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