Try this: Draw a picture of a man on a piece of chart paper.
Give each student a sticky note and have one for yourself. Think of a few examples of a time when you were bullied. (e.g. as a teenager, as a sibling, as an employee) Complete the prompt “One time I was the other, and here’s what happened…” Share a few personal examples with the class and then quickly write one down on a sticky note. Remind students that you are not including your name on the note.
Invite students to do the same. Remind them that this is an anonymous entry to ensure an honest conversation afterwards. Tell students they should be quiet during this activity. They must think about the story they want to share, write it down without signing it, and then get up and place it on the chart paper person. Go and sit somewhere in the room while students place their sticky notes on the outline.
Do this for each course you teach. Give each group a different colour of sticky note so that students can see how others have different responses but each group has experiences with being the one left out. It is a profound activity for students because it shows them clearly that they are NOT alone.
How might this activity work at a staff meeting? What discussions might grow out of this idea?
Janet Lee has been an English teacher/Department Chair, Nipissing University Reading Part 3 Instructor, Student Success Literacy Consultant, and Nelson Literacy 7-10 instructional writer and media specialist. Janet Lee recently presented literacy resources at The Great Moon Gathering in Fort Albany, Ontario. She enjoys maintaining her blog This Side of the Mirror-A Journey Through Reflection to communicate with teachers and address current issues in education.