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Program Summary: Stop the Bullying Day*


Highlight lessons from the American Girl advice book Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends. The program includes fun, interactive lessons and role-playing that help participants identify what bullying is and how to stand up for themselves and others.


OVERALL NOTES TOTAL TIMING: APPROX. 35 MIN. · This event was created for a primarily female audience. Please adjust language as needed if your audience includes both girls and boys. · This is an active event, involving standing, stomping, and role-playing. If any of your participants are unable to stand, suggest alternatives, such as clapping or stomping while seated. · At the end of lesson 1, the facilitator engages with a participant or two from the audience to demonstrate the importance of tone of voice and body language (see page 4). We recommend pre-selecting girl volunteers for this activity so that you can assess their comfort level before the event begins.

*Based on the book Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends, by Patti Kelley Criswell, and developed in partnership with The Ophelia Project®


SCRIPTING: INTRODUCTION TIMING: 2 MIN. Welcome to Stop the Bullying Day! We're excited to see so many of you here with us. We have a great program for you today, and it's all about speaking out against bullying and standing up for yourself and others. Before we get started, let's take a minute to look around and see everyone gathered here. <PAUSE> Did you know that thousands of kids are getting together across the country and doing the same thing you are--taking part in Stop the Bullying Day? You're a special part of something that's very big and very powerful. How many of you have heard the expression "there's power in numbers"? <PAUSE> That means that the more people who stand up and speak out against bullying, the better chance we have of stopping it. Lots of girls talk about how they stood up to bullying in the book Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends, from American Girl. This book gives advice on how to deal with bullying, what to say to someone who is bullying you or someone you know, and how to get help when you need it. We're going to share some of the advice from that book with you today. Who here has read the books about our Girl of the Year, Chrissa Maxwell? <PAUSE> How many of you have seen the Chrissa movie? <PAUSE> Many of you have--that's great. Then you know that Chrissa learns a lot about how to stand up to bullying. Today, we're going to learn from her, too. Let's get started.

SCRIPTING: LESSON 1 (WHAT'S BULLYING?) TIMING: 8 MIN. We're going to take a quick quiz to find out how much you know about bullying. Don't worry--you won't get graded, and you all get to take the quiz together. But instead of writing down your answers on paper, you're going to answer me by stomping your feet. Let's practice that. Go ahead and stand up. <PAUSE> Ready? O.K., give me two loud stomps. <PAUSE> Let's try that one more time--louder. <PAUSE> Good. Now I'm going to read some examples of things that might happen with you and your friends and classmates, and if you think that what I'm describing is bullying, I want you to stomp your feet twice.


Example 1 Let's say that a girl comes up to you in the lunchroom and says, "No offense, but you need to move. Only my friends can sit here." Is that bullying? If you think so, stomp your feet twice. <PAUSE> I saw some stomping--that's good, because it means you know that saying something like "I don't mean to be rude" or "no offense" doesn't excuse bossy behavior. This girl may think she's a leader, but bossing people around isn't leading--it's bullying. Ready for the next example? Example 2 There's a boy in your class who is different. People have been writing terrible things about him on the computer and sharing them, but they never say anything to his face. Is that bullying? Stomp your feet if you think so. <PAUSE> Good, I saw lots of stomping. No one should be made fun of because he or she is different. In some ways, we're all different, right? And gossiping--or talking behind someone's back--is never O.K. This is also an example of cyberbullying. How many of you have heard of cyberbullying? <PAUSE> Cyberbullying is using the Internet or cell phones to hurt someone, such as by sending a mean e-mail or posting an embarrassing photo of someone on a Web site. If you've read Chrissa's second book, Chrissa Stands Strong, you know that Chrissa is a victim of cyberbullying. It's a real problem because people can spread gossip or mean messages to lots of other people in a very short time, with just the click of a mouse. Those sorts of things are definitely bullying, and they can be really hurtful. Example 3 You said something a little bit mean to a classmate about his mom's car. You apologized afterward and tried to be extra nice to him the rest of the day. Is this bullying? <PAUSE> I didn't see too many feet stomping. That's good, because this is not an example of bullying. We all say things we shouldn't once in a while. If you didn't mean to hurt someone's feelings, what you did was a mistake--not bullying. Let that person know that you're sorry, and do your best to make it right. Example 4 You have an on-again, off-again friend. One day she's your friend, and the next day she's sitting with someone else and won't talk to you. Is this bullying? <PAUSE>


That was a hard one, but being an on-again, off-again friend is bullying. If you know someone who treats you this way, you can try talking with her about how her actions make you feel. But if the bullying keeps happening, you may need to take a break from her and focus on your other friendships. That was the last example, and you guys did a great job. Go ahead and have a seat. Remember that bullying isn't always about the words you use. How you say them can make a person feel bullied, too. I'll show you what I mean. <FACILITATOR APPROACHES PRE-SELECTED VOLUNTEER IN THE AUDIENCE AND SAYS WITH A FRIENDLY VOICE AND BODY LANGUAGE> Nice shirt! Where'd you get it? How did that feel? Did that feel like bullying? <OPEN IT UP TO THE LARGER CROWD IF THE VOLUNTEER IS UNSURE.> What do the rest of you think? <PAUSE> No, I hope it didn't feel like bullying. That was a genuine compliment. But now let's listen again. <FACILITATOR REPEATS QUESTION WITH SARCASTIC TONE AND STAND-OFFISH BODY LANGUAGE> Nice shirt. Where'd you get it? How about that time? Did that feel like bullying? <PAUSE> That's right--it probably did. I used exactly the same words, but my tone of voice was different, wasn't it? And I was bullying by the way I was standing, too. Let's do that again using different words. <FACILITATOR SPEAKS TO SECOND VOLUNTEER IN A BULLYING TONE OF VOICE AND WITH THREATENING BODY LANGUAGE: HANDS ON HIPS, LEANING FORWARD> Hey, would you mind? I was sitting there! Was that bullying? <PAUSE> Yes, it definitely was. So how could I change my voice or body language to say that again in a friendlier way? <SOLICIT 2 TO 3 RESPONSES> Right. So I might try it like this. <FACILITATOR SAYS IN A FRIENDLY, APOLOGETIC TONE OF VOICE> Hey, would you mind? I was sitting there. Did that seem like bullying? <PAUSE> No, that wasn't bullying. That was a friendly request. So the message here is that when you're talking with someone else, think about how your body language might affect how the other person is feeling. You may not mean to send a hurtful or mean message, but you might be doing it anyway through your tone of voice or how you're standing or approaching that person. <FACILITATOR THANKS VOLUNTEERS> Thank you for being such good sports. And by the way, I really do like your shirt! O.K., the next thing we're going to talk about is how to stand up for yourself, and you'll see just how important body language is there, too.


SCRIPTING: LESSON 2 (STAND UP FOR YOURSELF) TIMING: 15 MIN. Bullying is all about power. People who bully you are purposely trying to take away your power--that strong, smart, confident part of you. They want you to feel scared and upset. Most of us have been bullied and felt a little powerless at one time or another, haven't we? Take a moment to think about what it feels like when you're being bullied. Who can tell me what that feels like? <PAUSE; SOLICIT 1 TO 2 RESPONSES> Yes. It's the worst, isn't it? Now think about the last time you saw someone being bullied. What did you notice about the person being bullied? How did he or she look? <SOLICIT 1 TO 2 RESPONSES> That's right. Someone who feels powerless might have her head down. She might be looking at the ground, with her shoulders slumped. Something like this. <FACILITATOR DEMONSTRATES> Does that look about right? Yes. It's normal to feel this way and look this way when you're being bullied and you feel as if there's nothing you can do about it. But now, tell me what a confident person looks like? A strong, smart, confident person? <PAUSE; SOLICIT 1 TO 2 RESPONSES> Yes. She has her shoulders back and her head held high. She's looking other people right in the eye. <FACILITATOR DEMONSTRATES> How do you think this person feels? <PAUSE> Right. She feels pretty good. So here's a little secret: If you practice this confident, powerful pose, you'll actually feel more confident, too. I'll show you what I mean. Stand up, and let's try it. <PAUSE> Show me what it looks like to be strong and confident. Show me your most powerful selves. <PAUSE> Wow! Look at all of you! You're holding your heads up, you're standing straight and tall, and you're looking me in the eye. You look strong, confident, and powerful. That's amazing! How does that feel? <PAUSE> Pretty good, right? Do you see how acting strong and confident can actually make you feel more confident, too? Don't sit down just yet, because I want you to practice that powerful pose. Turn to look at someone you came here with, look that person in the eye, and say--with your body only-- "you can't have my power." Try that. <PAUSE> Good. What I'm seeing right now is the body language you need to show bullies when they're trying to take your power away. You don't have to look mean. You don't have to get in the bully's face or try to bully back. You just have to hold your head high and look strong and confident. That sends the message that no one can take away your power. No one. Great job. O.K., let's take a seat now, and we'll talk about some other ways to deal with bullying. <PAUSE UNTIL PARTICIPANTS ARE SEATED> When you're being bullied, try to stand up for yourself in an assertive way. That means letting the bully know that you're not O.K. with the way he or she is treating you, but doing it without being mean. Think about it: if you're mean or you bully back, you'll just keep the fight going.


I'm going to read some ways in which you could stand up for yourself. After I read each option, you decide whether it's a good, assertive way to stand up to bullying or whether it's a not-so-good way. If you think it's a good option, I want you to raise both hands in the air. Ready? Option 1: If someone teases you, you could say in a confident voice, "So?" or "That's your opinion--not mine." If you think that's a good option, raise both hands. <PAUSE> Yes. Speaking up in a confident voice is a good, assertive way to stand up for yourself without being rude back. Saying something like "So?" lets the bully know that you disagree with him or her, but you're not going to get upset or be mean about it. Speaking up takes practice. When you're at home, try a few of these comebacks out loud. Stand in front of your mirror and say, "So?" or "That's your opinion--not mine." The more you practice saying the words, the easier it will be to remember them when you need them. I'll read you another option. Raise your hands if you think this is a good option. Option 2: When someone bullies you, you could ignore the bully. Is that a good option? <PAUSE > Lots of you raised your hands. It's true that ignoring a bully sometimes works. But the key here is to look bored--not scared or hurt or angry. Act as if the bullying doesn't affect you, and then just walk away. Let's take a moment to practice not reacting to a bully. Turn to someone sitting next to you and show her your best blank, bored face. <PAUSE> Good. Practice that face in the mirror at home so that you can share it with the next person who bullies you. One other thing to remember about ignoring a bully is that if it's going to work, it'll work quickly. If you've tried ignoring a bully for a few days and the bullying continues, it's time to try something else. Let's talk about a few other options. Option 3: When someone picks on you, you could say something mean to get even with that person. Is this a good idea? <PAUSE> No, it's not. If you sink to the bully's level, you won't respect yourself--and other people might lose respect for you, too. Plus, the bully will just fire back with more nastiness, and the fighting will continue. There are better ways to solve the problem. Let's keep trying. Option 4: When someone makes fun of you, you could crack a joke and say, "Really? Hey, thanks!" If you think this is a good option, raise your hands. <PAUSE > Great--yes! Using humor is a really good way to stand up to bullying. It catches bullies off guard, because they expect you to be hurt or angry--not smiling and joking around. By cracking jokes, you show bullies that they can't get to you or steal your power. Just make sure that your joke doesn't put the bully down. That's bullying behavior and could make the bully want to say something else that's mean.


Let's listen to one more option. Option 5: When someone bullies you and you're scared or don't know what to do, you could ask an adult for help. <PAUSE > Yes, talking to an adult is always an option--especially if you're scared. I noticed that some of you didn't raise your hands for this one. Are you worried that telling an adult might be considered "tattling"? In the Chrissa books, Chrissa worries that if she tells an adult about the bullying, she'll be called a tattletale. Who can tell me the difference between tattling and telling? <SOLICIT 1 TO 2 RESPONSES> Right. Tattling is what you do when you're trying to get someone into trouble. Telling an adult about bullying is what you do to help someone who is being hurt. So let's say you're at lunch and you see a couple of classmates steal a younger boy's sandwich and toss it in the trash. You know it happened yesterday, too. You tell the lunchroom supervisor what's going on. Is that tattling? <PAUSE> No, it's not. You're trying to help this boy, and you're right to tell an adult. Now let's say you're online, and you get a really mean e-mail from someone who you thought was your friend. You can't believe what you're reading, and you don't know what to do. You tell your mom about the e-mail and ask her for help. Is this tattling? <PAUSE> No, it's not. In this case, you're the person being hurt, and it's O.K. to ask an adult to help you figure out how to handle it. All right, here's one more example: You're sitting in class working on your math problems, the way your teacher asked you all to do, and you spot Grace reading a book instead. You raise your hand and let your teacher know what's going on. Is this tattling? <PAUSE> Yes, that probably is tattling. You're not trying to protect someone--you're trying to get someone into trouble. See the difference? If you're ever unsure about whether you're telling or tattling, just ask yourself, "Am I telling an adult because I want to help someone or because I want to get someone into trouble?" If you're truly trying to help someone, you aren't tattling--no matter what anyone else says. Close your eyes for a minute and think of three adults you could talk to if you were being bullied. Go ahead and close your eyes. <PAUSE> Could everyone think of three people? Raise your hand if you thought of a parent. How about a teacher? A school counselor? A coach or troop leader? How many of you pictured an aunt, an uncle, or a grandma? Those are all good people to talk with if you're being bullied and need help dealing with it. We just talked about a lot of ways you can stand up for yourself. Some of them might work better for you than others. Remember, though, that if something you try doesn't work, you always have other options. Don't ever give up--or think that you just have to put up with bullying. You don't.


SCRIPTING: LESSON 3 (STAND UP FOR OTHERS) TIMING: 8 MIN. The last thing we're going to talk about today is how to stand up for other people. Those of you who read the Chrissa books remember that Chrissa chose to stand up for Gwen, a girl in her class who was being bullied. Every time you see someone being bullied, you have a choice to make: you can stand around and watch what's happening, or you can stand up for that person. It might feel scary to stand up for someone else, but there are lots of reasons to do it. First, you'll feel great afterward. Think about a time when you did something nice for someone else. Did you feel pretty good after that? <PAUSE> Then you know what I'm talking about. It's a great feeling to know that you helped someone else and stood up for what you believed in. Another reason to speak up is that if you do, other people might speak up, too. Probably lots of other people are bothered by what the bully is doing. And if you speak up, you make it easier for the next person to speak up. If just two people take a stand against the bullying, there's a good chance that it will stop. Do you need one more reason to stand up for people who are being bullied? How about this: if you stand up for them, they'll probably stand up for you. So standing up for other people might be a really good way to protect yourself from bullying, too. Now let's practice a few words you can use when you see someone else being bullied. Let's say that you overhear a classmate teasing a girl in the hallway. You can tell that the girl is feeling hurt and scared. One thing you could do is simply ask the bully a question. Just ask, "Hey, what are you doing?" You're not being bossy or telling the bully what to do. You're just asking a question that'll make the bully think about his or her actions. Let's try that one out loud. Ask, "Hey, what are you doing?" <PAUSE> Good. Now let's try some other words you could use. You might say to the bully, "Wow. That's just wrong." You're still not telling the bully what to do or not do; you're just stating your opinion. Let's try that one. Say, "Wow. That's just wrong." <PAUSE> Excellent. Another great way to stand up to a bully is to call it like you see it. You can just say, "Stop it. That's bullying." You don't have to yell or sound angry. Just say it like you mean it. Let's try that one. Say, "Stop it. That's bullying." <PAUSE> Good. Let me hear that again, with a little more confidence. Say, "Stop it. That's bullying." <PAUSE> Stand up and let's try that one more time. <PAUSE UNTIL EVERYONE IS STANDING> Where's that strong, confident body language? <PAUSE> There it is. Now let me hear you say, "Stop it. That's bullying." <PAUSE> That's better. I believed you that time!


How many of you think you could use those words to stand up for someone who is being bullied? <PAUSE> Lots of you think you could--that's great. If there are times, though, when you can't get the words out or you don't feel safe saying something to a bully, remember that there are other ways to stand up for someone. First, you can always tell an adult what's going on. Remember those three adults you thought of a few minutes ago? You can turn to those same people if you see someone being bullied and you don't know what to do about it. Second, you can say something kind to the person who is being bullied. Let's imagine that a friend of yours is being bullied. Maybe you're too afraid to say something to the bully's face, but you really want to help your friend. What's something you could say to your friend? <SOLICIT 1 TO 2 RESPONSES> Yes, right. You could also take your friend by the arm and just say, "Let's get out of here." Try that. Turn to someone standing near you, link arms with her, and say, "Hey, let's get out of here." <PAUSE> Beautiful. You just helped your friend out of a bad situation. I would love to have friends and classmates like you. Give yourselves a pat on the back. <PAUSE> Pat the shoulder of someone standing near you, too. <PAUSE> Are you all feeling good? See, it feels great to do the right thing. It really does. Now let's stay standing, because we have one more very important thing to do.


SCRIPTING: WRAP-UP TIMING: 2 MIN Remember how we talked about there being power in numbers? Today, all of the thousands of kids taking part in Stop the Bullying Day are going to take the same pledge against bullying. We're going to stand together and say the pledge out loud. Are you ready? Let me see your most confident body language. <PAUSE> Good. I want to hear those same strong voices you shared a little while ago. Now repeat after me: I will stand up to put-downs, <PAUSE SO THAT GIRLS CAN REPEAT> Help those who are being bullied, <PAUSE> Inform adults when I need to, <PAUSE> Never use my computer or cell phones to hurt others, <PAUSE> And encourage my friends to stand up against bullying, too. <PAUSE> I promise to stand strong, <PAUSE> speak out, <PAUSE> and be a good friend. <PAUSE> I will let my inner star shine. <PAUSE> Do you all think you can keep that promise? <PAUSE> I think so, too. You're pretty amazing. I believe you really will stand up for yourselves and each other. I want to thank you for coming out today and for being a part of something so special. When you go home, I hope you'll share what you learned with your friends, too. Pass it on, because if we all stand together, we can stop the bullying.



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