A school-wide No Name-Calling Week means school-wide involvement%97from students, administrators, teachers, family members, and staff. Here are some tips for involving your school community in planning a fun and effective No Name-Calling Week.
School leaders will likely want to support a program aimed at improving the health and safety of all students. Still, they might have concerns about whether the program will detract from required curriculum, how much work it will require from faculty and staff, and whether an anti-bullying program is even necessary at your school. Consider your vision for No Name-Calling Week at your school, and approach school leaders with a list of doable activities. Some ideas are class lessons and activities, student essay and poster contests, a school newspaper article, a library display, peer education sessions, educational events for staff and family members, a school assembly, and discussion/support groups for students.
Present data to school administrators that highlight a need for No Name-Calling Week in your school. Use statistics from reputable studies. Gather anecdotal evidence of bullying (be sure to not use names!) from faculty and staff. Point out that since bullying encourages absenteeism and lower academic performance in victims, addressing the problem will help maximize instructional hours and heighten student achievement in the future. Encourage colleagues and administrators to peruse the No Name-Calling Week sample lesson plans, which are heavily grounded in reading, writing, and critical thinking experiences that can be integrated into a variety of subject areas (available by entering the "Education" section).
Classroom teachers can participate in No Name-Calling Week in a variety of ways. They can display posters and wear stickers to remind students of the week%92s message. In addition, they can make a commitment to read about ways to support students who experience bullying and intervene proactively. Teachers with limited planning time may want to screen the No Name-Calling Week video or read excerpts from The Misfits, which is included in the No Name-Calling Week Education Kit. Teachers who wish to be more involved can implement lessons from the resource guide, develop their own supplementary materials, and help plan school-wide events. Plan a presentation for teachers to share during a faculty meeting or voluntary after-school session, and share statistics on verbal bullying and its effects and information on No Name-Calling Week. Enlist grade or department leaders who can take responsibility for passing information along as you plan, or choose and area for posting updates in the faculty lounge.
Depending on the age and abilities of students, there are plenty of ways for students to make No Name-Calling Week an experience that resonates with young people. Asking for volunteers is a great way to initially involve students, as those who have been affected by verbal bullying might want to do something proactive about it. Make a morning announcement, ask teachers to make classroom pitches, and distribute information via student clubs to invite students to a planning session where ideas will be generated and tasks assigned. Students might be interested in creating posters to decorate halls and classrooms, conducting a student survey about bullying (link), helping to develop an anti-slur policy, participating in reading or discussion groups about bullying, and creating dramatic pieces for performance in school assemblies. There are more ways to involve students detailed in the resource guide.
Your school%92s guidance staff has experience and expertise in dealing with bullying and its effects, so take advantage of their knowledge. Counselors can be of service by facilitating an informational session for parents and family members, or by training support staff on proactive intervention methods. If counselors run discussion or support groups for students, they might want to consider name-calling as a topic for this week and beyond. Guidance staff can be encouraged to make classroom visits to discuss verbal bullying from a psychological angle, and can display posters in their offices to mark them as safe spaces for discussion.
Most bullying occurs outside the classroom, in places where support staff is often present%97the hallways, cafeteria, schoolyard, locker room, and school bus. No Name-Calling Week provides a great opportunity to help support staff recognize problems caused by verbal bulling, and to act as positive agents in ending name-calling%97ask guidance staff to provide them with training. Encourage support staff to wear No Name-Calling Week stickers, and share the fact sheet for school personnel provided in the Resource Guide.
Ask library staff to provide support by wearing stickers, displaying posters, and creating eye-catching displays of titles that deal with bullying. The bibliography provided in the resource guide offers a comprehensive list of titles that handle the subject realistically and open opportunities for thought and discussion, some of which you might add to your library.
Since much bullying occurs in the locker room and on the playing field, No Name-Calling Week is a great time for physical education teachers to explore the concept of sportsmanship with their students, and to promote sport and exercise as an opportunity to build community and improve health. Ask athletic staff to plan noncompetitive, team-building activities, and to reinforce rules of conduct that promote positive behavior. Place a special emphasis on prohibiting names that disparage students who are not athletically inclined, and encourage rituals and language that promote self-esteem (e.g., high fives and %93nice try%94).
Family members play an integral role in shaping children%92s attitudes towards name-calling. There are plenty of ways for them to both help make the week a success, as well as benefit from educational opportunities. Plan a homework activity that requires involvement from family members, and send a copy of the bibliography from the resource guide home with students with a note encouraging them to borrow the titles from the local library. Ask the PTA to do fundraising for school-wide events, and get volunteers to run an after-school poster-making workshop for students. Give parents and guardians an opportunity to learn about name-calling at a family event featuring a guidance counselor or outside mental health professional. Finally, share the resources for families provided in the resource guide, which include information on what to do if your child is being bullied and how to talk to educators about bullying. Outreach to family members should begin with a note from the principal or a guidance counselor introducing them to No Name-Calling Week, and suggesting ways in which they can be involved.
Assign point persons to spearhead the school assembly, family event, and staff training. Vary the format at these events: combine words from a guidance counselor with readings of winning contest essays and dramatic performances or a film screening at the assembly. Family members and staff should have opportunities to speak about strategies they%92ve used to support victims and intervene in name-calling.
Build momentum as you approach No Name-Calling Week by sending out email updates, featuring an article in the school newspaper, sharing information during morning announcements, and displaying posters and flyers. Choose a bulletin board for posting updates, as well as the winners of essay and poster contests, and spruce up the library with an attractive display.
No Name-Calling Week is made possible, in large part, by a generous grant from Cisco.
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