This week, kindness is reaching every classroom in the UK as Anti-Bullying Week has finally arrived! Anti-Bullying Week was created to raise awareness about what bullying is, how it affects our young people, and how to combat it in positive ways.
This year, the theme for Anti-Bullying Week is “one kind word” and we at Yes Futures are thrilled to share our best resources for spreading kindness in and out the classroom.
What is bullying?
It is truly important to understand what bullying is in order to help prevent it from happening. Bullying is any unwanted, intentional, aggressive, and continuous behaviour that is intended to hurt someone physically or emotionally. It is a behaviour that is projected towards an individual(s) that cannot defend themselves, and creates a power imbalance between the people involved. It is crucial to note that bullying can happen at any age and in many different forms.
Now let’s talk about ways to prevent bullying and replace it with positivity instead.
What can teachers do to spread positivity?
We believe that a necessary step to encouraging more positivity among students is to first build a positive classroom environment. A key way to do this is by creating a classroom code of conduct, to promote kind behaviours and encourage classroom participation. During this activity, make sure all of your students are heard and get the chance to participate; be more of a facilitator and let them do most of the work.
Start by asking students to identify ways they like to be treated and to identify behaviours that are kind, empathetic, fair, respectful, and understanding. Then, get them to consider things that do not make them feel at their best.
Once your students have determined the difference in these feelings, allow them to set rules together as a team for their classroom that promote the positive feelings they’ve identified. Have them sign their name or paint & press a finger in agreement and refer back to these rules if any discrepancy ever occurs.
Now let’s talk about different activities that can help your students say their one kind word each day of Anti-Bullying Week and everyday going forward.
Activities that teach and encourage empathy
Understanding what empathy is is highly important because it can help an individual understand what another person is going through and why they respond to situations in certain ways.If students are empathetic they will learn how to put themselves in other’s shoes and treat everyone how they want to be treated.
Everyone can benefit from giving or receiving a kind word to someone and aiming to be more empathetic. Here are some activities that will encourage both of these behaviours.
1) The Shout-Out Box
A popular part of our residential weekends, the shout-out box is a great way to get students to reflect and identify positive strengths in others. Ask your students to write down a positive ‘shout-out’ about someone else in their class, and put their slip of paper in the shout-out box. Sort through them, then randomly hand them out to students to read out loud, to celebrate each other’s strengths and achievements.
By doing this, students are encouraged to reflect on their own skills, as well as encouraging them to praise others for their successes.
You could use the shout-out box at set times during the week, or keep a box in the classroom for students to drop a ‘shout out’ in at any time. It is an activity that is guaranteed to make each student feel included and more confident in themselves.
2) A Kindness Paperchain
Another activity that would spark positivity and thankfulness is a kindness paperchain.
Start by giving each student five colourful strips of paper and ask them to identify things that are going well in their day. You could also ask them to identify positive things that they have done in their week and/or kind gestures that they have received from others.
After they are done writing, link all of the paper strips together like cufflinks and put it on display as a celebration of kindness for your classroom.
3) The wrinkled heart activity
The wrinkled heart activity also encourages empathy and compassionate behaviour and is perfect for Anti-Bullying Week.
To begin, start off with a large and crisp paper heart in your hands. Ask your students to identify words and behaviours that really hurt their feelings and every time they give an example, crumple up a piece of that heart.
After your heart is all wrinkled up, let them know that this is what happens to people’s feelings every time any type of bullying occurs; they end up with a wrinkled heart.
Give them time to reflect and then pass out strips of paper to them as band-aids. Ask them to write kind words on their band-aids to help heal the wrinkled heart and end by celebrating their kindness.
One kind word
Start each day of Anti-Bullying Week by encouraging your students to say one kind word to a different person each day. Remember that words matter and even one kind word can make someone’s day better.
Continue to acknowledge kindness, encourage creativity, and spread positivity throughout the year. Hopefully, these activities will aid you in having the best Anti-Bullying Week yet, and create a positive classroom environment in the long-term.
Our programmes and coaching sessions empower students to believe in themselves and improve their wellbeing. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07908 687779 to find out more about how we can support your students.