Middle school is usually when kids start getting into their phones for the first time, which means this is when cyberbullying often starts. While I’m not clueless about modern technology, I’m middle-aged and don’t know what kids these days can do. That’s why I love this article. It helps me recognize the signs of cyber bullying and gives ways to help, including getting parents involved.
One year, I was getting very frustrated because other students weren’t helping. A child would report being bullied, then others would chime in saying, “Oh, yeah. I saw that three months ago.” Really? And you did nothing? I can’t be everywhere, so I need the class to help. That’s why I show this flash video on the second day of school. It gives students the tools to help report and stop bullying so we can take care of this problem together.
When it comes to these topics, I’ve found way too many resources that give wide platitudes like, “Involve parents” without explaining what that looks like. Thankfully, I found this article last year that gave specific ways to help. Some I already knew (like stating classroom rules in positive terms), but I liked being reminded to talk to the bully without using that label. It has helped me avoid some of the resistance from students causing the problems.
I found this PDF newsletter to be simply amazing. Yes, it covers a few school-wide topics, but it also includes 10 specific, clear strategies to use in my classroom. I never thought about hosting class meetings weekly to discuss bullying and respect, but my students really looked forward to those. Even better, it helped create that positive climate we need to help prevent bullying. There’s also an article specifically for helping 7th graders that I’ve used for all middle school students.
When you’re a middle school teacher, you often still have to walk your class to presentations, PE, music, and more. I hate that because it’s hard enough to manage behavior in a contained classroom, nevermind across the whole school. This simple lesson plan helped me identify spots in the school and even in my classroom (over by the filing cabinets) where bullying happens more frequently. That made it a lot easier to watch out for bullying and protect my students.
I’ve listened to too many parents (and one administrator) who said bullying is no big deal. That it’s a normal part of growing up, and if we inculcate children today from such abuse, we’re making them too fragile for real life. When this happens, I try to explain why bullying really is harmful. This to-the-point article does that better than I ever did, even showing how it hurts the bully.