Lesson Idea: “Students Take On Cyberbullying” | Not in Our Town

Lesson Idea: “Students Take On Cyberbullying”

Grade Level: 
Middle School (6-8)
High School (9-12)
 
Overview
 
In this lesson idea, the short video “Cyberbullying” is explored through teaching strategies such as pre-viewing, anticipation guides, four corners, evaluating Internet resources, fishbowl and levels of questions. By learning about cyberbullying and how students in Watchung are taking a stand against online bullying, students may think more deeply about this in their own community.
 
Materials
 
 
Suggested Activities
 
 
Pre-viewing – Before watching the video, identify the core issue the students are attempting to address: cyberbulling. What does it mean to be bullied online? What does friendship mean in person vs. in a social network such as Facebook? How can students move from being bystanders to becoming an upstander?
 
Then ask students to respond to the following questions:
 
  • What strategies might students use to address these issues?
  • What are the risks, if any, to taking these steps?
  • What challenges might students confront?
  • What would “success” in addressing these issues look like? How could “success” be measured?
  • What resources do students need to be successful?
  • What might be the consequences of doing nothing? 
Anticipation guides — Anticipation guides ask students to express an opinion about ideas before they encounter them in a text of unit of study.  Often teachers ask students to return to their anticipation guides after exploring new material, noting how their opinions may have shifted or strengthened as a result of new information. Here are examples of statements you can use to encourage students to think about the ideas addressed in this video:
 
  • Students are the most powerful influence on their school’s tone and climate.  They decide what kind of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable.
  • Stepping in when you see someone treated unfairly is easier in person than online.
  • It is unrealistic to think that social networks (such as Facebook) can be places where all students are treated fairly and kindly.
  • If someone is verbally or physically attacking another student – someone you do not know – the best thing to do is stay out of it.
  • Cyberbulling is less harmful than face to face  bullying.
  • Bystanders have the power to stop injustice.
  • If bullies knew their behavior was unacceptable, they would stop acting that way.
  • The best way to stop teasing, harassment and bullying is to have a stronger system of enforcement and punishment.
(Note: Many teachers use the Four Corners strategy to structure a conversation about controversial statements.)
 
Not in Our School: Sample Anticipation Guide:
 
Directions: Read the statement in the left column.  Decide if you strongly agree (SA), agree (A), disagree (D), or strongly disagree (SD) with the statement.  Circle your response.
 
Statements
Your opinion
 
1. Students are the most powerful influence on their school’s tone and climate.  They decide what kind of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable.
 
 
SA       A       D      SD
 
2. Bystanders have the power to stop or prevent injustice.
 
 
SA       A      D       SD
 
3. Stepping in when you see someone treated unfairly is easier in person than online.
 
 
 
SA       A      D       SD
 
4. The best way to stop teasing, harassment and bullying is to have a stronger system of enforcement and punishment.
 
 
SA       A      D       SD
 
5. If someone is verbally or physically attacking another student – someone you do not know – the best thing to do is to stay out of it. 
 
 
SA       A      D       SD
 6.  It is unrealistic to think that social networks (such as Facebook) can be places where all students are treated fairly and kindly.
 
 
SA       A      D       SD
 
7. If someone is verbally or physically attacking your friend, the best thing to do is to stay out of it. 
 
 
SA       A      D       SD
 
Using web resources on school climate, bullying and hate crimes: After having students watch the video you might want to have them explore some of the following resources to learn more about school climate, bullying and hate crimes. Students can report back to the class about what they found. Or, you can use information from these websites to create a short lecture.
  • Bullyinginfo.org
  • National School Climate Center
  • Cyberbullying Research Center
  • Students’ Reports of Being Called Hate-Related Words and Seeing Hate-Related Graffiti (2009, National Center for Educational Statistics)
  • Bullying at School and Cyberbullying Anywhere (2009, National Center for Educational Statistics)
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hate Crimes Division
  • “Combating Hate,” Anti-Defamation League
You could also ask your students to use online search engines to locate information from credible sources on bullying and/or hate crimes. In addition to the general search function, Google provides searches that present information in different ways. You can find these functions on the bottom left navigation list and/or by clicking the heading “More search tools.” 
  • “Wonder wall” breaks down a topic into sub-topics via a concept may display. Click here for an example of a Wonder Wall search for the term “bullying.”  Students could be assigned different spokes of the wheel to explore in greater depth.
  • “Timeline” presents information organized by year.  This function allows students to trace the history of bullying or hate crimes, as reported by the media.
  • “Nearby” provides information relevant to your particular area. This function allows students to focus on bullying or hate crime incidents in their region.
Review the strategy “Evaluating internet resources” for ideas on how to help students assess the validity of their sources.
 
Fishbowl – After students have had the opportunity to process the video independently or in small groups, facilitate a whole-class conversation. Here are some specific questions with which you might consider having students grapple:
  • What were students responding to in this video? What problem were they trying to solve?
  • What did they do? What strategies did they employ? What community or school resources did they draw from?
  • What risks did they take? What challenges did they confront?
  • What do you think of their response?  What did they accomplish?
  • What advice would you offer these students? What could be some next steps these students could take to further address this problem?
  • What more do you want to know about this situation? If you had the opportunity, what would you want to ask the students in this video?
  • What do you think the new immigrants gleaned from this experience? How could this project be expanded and deepened?
 
Fishbowl: Fishbowl is a strategy that helps students practice being active listeners and participants in a discussion. Half the class can debrief the video while the other half observes. Then students can switch roles.
 

Levels of questions -- Here is an example of the kinds of questions you can use with this strategy:
 

  • Level one: What were students responding to in this video? What action did they take?
  • Level two: What do you think of their response? In what ways was it effective? What else could they have done to address the problem they saw in their school or community?
  • Level three: What power do you think young people have to change attitudes and actions? What gives young people power? What limits the power of young people to create change?
 
Related Facing History Resources:
 
 
 
 
 

 

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