I have this good friend named Jaime. She teaches fifth grade, and she genuinely loves her students. Lately she’s been struggling with bullying problems with some of her students, and she did something pretty amazing with them that she shared with me and I now want to pass along to all of you.
I thought it was a pretty fantastic lesson that we could all teach our own kids pretty easily.
So, I read your bullying post last night, and it made my just heart ache. Ache in a way that really made me stop and look at my babies in an entirely new way.
But it also made me want to try and find a way to somehow make the bullying a truly tangible problem because sometimes as a teacher you get so wrapped up in the “stuff” you have to get through that you sometimes forget there are very real heartaches going on behind the scenes…
Stick with me for a minute: I decided to stop by the store this morning and buy a couple apples. During our morning meeting (where we sit in a circle and do spiral lessons), I told my class we were going to try something different and I showed them my two apples and asked them to list the differences and similarities between the two apples. They were both exactly the same color and shape…one was a little brighter and bigger, but that literally the only difference.
I then held up the other apple that was only slightly discolored and smaller and I said, “Gross. This apple looks disgusting!” and dropped it on the ground. My kids all looked at me like I was INSANE! A couple laughed uncomfortably, but for the most part they thought I had lost my mind.
I then picked it up and passed it to the student sitting beside me and said, “isn’t this apple just stupid?! You should say something mean to it and do this!” Again I modeled dropping it in front of me. “Now pass it to the person next to you so they can say something mean to the apple, too!”
Long story short, my kids got very into saying mean and hurtful things to this apple and dropping it in front of them. “I hate your skin.” “You’re an ugly color of red” “Your stem isn’t very long” “You’re probably full of worms” on and on and on….
So by the time this little apple made it back to me everyone had had a chance to really rip this little guy apart. I seriously started feeling sympathetic towards an inanimate object… but moving on…
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