See free resources for parents and educators to teach kids about social justice and racial equality.
After completing this tear jerker (topics: bullying, suicide, desolation, isolation, support, love, hope, family/friends), we discuss what happened in the movie. My students relate to this movie in so many ways that it is an extremely effect hook.
NOTE: Sometimes this discussion can elicit a heighten emotional response in students. With this in mind, I try to place some boundaries on the discussions and give students a head's up to be sensitive to other student's feelings and that I want to keep the discussion on level above the deeper emotional place.
- How did things get out of control for Taylor?
- What provoked Taylor's friend Sam, to do what she did to Taylor?
- Did other students take side or did this become all one sided?
- How did this event affect other friends of Taylor and Sam?
- How did Taylor come to understand she wasn't alone?
- How did this experience change Taylor's view of herself and others?
- How did Taylor and Sam use their experience with this situation for the better?
- Why were the authorities (police) unable to help?
- Why was the State legislator apathetic about Taylor's incident?
- What role did Taylor's mother play in helping Taylor recover and in helping other kids in the future?
2 Direct Instruction
In this step, student's review the Bullying Laws in their state or other states and research the site to determine if Cyberbullying is included in state bullying laws.
I have students answer questions that help guide them through the site.
3 Guided Practice
In this step, student's review their school's Student Parent Handbook for bullying and/or cyberbullying policies.
Once they've read through the policy, we have a class discussion about the inclusions or gaps or strengths and/or weaknesses the policy (i.e. the first year my students completed this project, they determined that just finding the policy was too difficult, as one part was in an early section of the the handbook and then the rest of the policy was in another section).
4 Independent Practice
At this time students reflect on their learning (posting reflections to their e-Port sites), including a section on changes they recommend to the school's current Bullying/Cyberbullying policy, now that they understand the State's recommendations for school policies and the current school policy.
I aggregate these recommendations from the student reflections and submit them to the policy committee. Each year changes have been made to the policy as a result. This is very empowering to students.
5 Wrap Up
You could ask to students to create a presentation, a short movie/skit, or any other presentation type, about how powerful knowledge is in these situations regarding state laws, school policies and how one person's behavior can significantly affect other people. I choose to have student's complete a survey.
My survey is created using Google Drive Forms, but you could use any other survey tool. I don't give an actual quiz because I really want engagement and honesty and forfeit quiz results for pertinent data. The survey questions are related to their own experiences (in general terms); i.e. Have you been cyberbullied?, Do you have a close friend that's been cyberbullied? Has this happened in school? etc. My class is with Freshmen, but certainly questions can be appropriately tailored to student age levels.
I do tell students this is not a mandatory survey, but that their responses are shared with our school's safety officer and SAP counselor to help them understand our school's climate and to better serve and assist student's in need.
Most student's complete the survey.