The month of October was busy, busy, busy for this school counselor! Fall Break was a welcome week off, but that also meant that the other three weeks were jam-packed with classroom lessons!
Our topic for October was conflict resolution. This is a great follow-up to the September topic of bullying because we were able to review the definition of bullying using the same bullying stick figure situation as last month, but then discuss how the situation would change if the target started saying mean things back to the bully.
The picture below is an example of the bullying stick figure drawing that I used in all of my bullying lessons K-6. The words I used during my lesson and the way I described the situation varied, depending on the age of the class, but the stick figures were the same.
In the picture, the stick figure labeled "Target" had really good behavior in one of my classroom lessons and had earned the coveted "Star Student Pencil." (Side note: I do hand out a star student pencil to one student at the end of every lesson who shows exceptional behavior during my lesson, but the students who I choose are also ones who participate in my lesson by answering questions, working well in partner/group work, etc.) The stick figure labeled "Bully" was angry that the other student had gotten the star student pencil instead of him, so he was saying mean things to the "target." The witnesses/bystanders were standing near them and saw/heard what happened.
After we reviewed bullying, I asked the students, "what happens if the target says mean things back to the bully? The answer is that the situation becomes two-sided, which turns the situation into a conflict instead of bullying. Here's a picture of this situation turned into a conflict:
Many times when a student has come to me and said another student was bullying him/her, it turns out that both students had said or done something that wasn't very nice to the other student. When that is the case, it is a conflict, not bullying. And it's important for our students to know how to try to resolve conflicts themselves so they don't have to get an adult every time a problem comes up!
Some of the strategies we talked about were...