Bullying and Core Democratic Values

Grades: 
6, 7, 8

The learners will explain that bullying violates a persons core democratic values. Students will take action on the issue of bullying by taking surveys of various groups and sharing the results and their possible solutions with others.

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
PrintTwo or Three Fifty-Five Minute Class Periods
Objectives 

The learners will:

  • describe how core democratic values apply to everyday life.
  • conduct a survey on an issue of direct concern.
  • explain that efforts to stop bullying constitute an act of philanthropy by advocating for the common good of others.

Materials 

  • Copy of the core democratic values (see Attachment One, Lesson One: Pocahontas)
  • Newsprint and markers
  • Computer(s)
  • The song “Change the World” by Eric Clapton

Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:The learners will take their surveys home for parents to complete.

Bibliography 

Clapton, Eric. “Change the World” from the soundtrack Phenomenon. Motion Picture Artwork, 1996, Touchstone Pictures, 1996, Reprise Records. 9 46360-2

Instructions

Print
  1. Anticipatory Set:Put this question on the board or the overhead: “If you could change one thing about this school that would help students get along with one another, what would it be?” Tell students to write a response to this question for the next five minutes. While students are writing, play the song “Change the World” from the “Phenomenon” soundtrack sung by Eric Clapton.

  2. Ask students:

    • Have you or someone you know ever been picked on by other students, either verbally, non-verbally or physically? How did it make you feel?
    • What do you think might be done to stop bullying in our school?
    • Do you think the class, acting as a group, can bring about change in the school regarding bullying? If you could, do you have a responsibility to try?
  3. What core democratic value(s) is (are) being violated by bullying? Explain. Teacher Note: You may have to review core democratic values with the class (see Attachment One, Lesson One: Pocahontas).
  4. Explain to the learners that one way a person can be a philanthropist is to be an advocate for the rights of others. Ask for a definition of advocate (a person who writes, speaks out or acts in favor of something or gives support). Tell students that they are going to be advocates for those students in their school who have been the victims of bullying. Ask them to explain why advocating for solutions to bullying is an act of philanthropy (philanthropy is giving of your time, treasure and talent for the common good).
  5. Define survey and explain to the learners its purpose. Give an example of a good survey question and a bad survey question so that they know what to do when designing their own survey questions. Divide the learners into teams of three. Each team will design a survey about bullying in the school and possible solutions to bullying. Each team will target a specific group for their survey: 6th graders, 7th graders, 8th graders, family, administrators and teachers. Tell students that their survey questions must be appropriate for their target group. As an example, the family survey might ask, “Has your child ever been bullied, either verbally or physically, in middle school?” A 6th grade survey might have a question that asks, “Have you ever been the target of teasing or hitting by one of your classmates or a 7th or 8th grader?”
  6. Tell students that each survey must have at least five questions. The questions should be clear and answerable by short answers. Each survey must also include a section that addresses possible solutions to the problem of bullying.
  7. On the teams, each person has a role. One student will be the timekeeper, one will be the materials gatherer and one will be the person who encourages and keeps the group on task. One person in each group should be the recorder. Tell the teams that they will present their sample survey questions to the class in 20 minutes.
  8. Ten to fifteen minutes before the end of the hour, students should read their questions to the class so that suggestions can be given for improvement, if needed.
  9. Teacher note: During the next class period, if your students have access to a computer lab, have them word process their surveys. If this is not possible, the teacher may word process the surveys before the next class period, or they could give it as an extra credit assignment to those who have computers at home. Another possibility might be: if there is a computer class at the middle school or high school, you might approach them to do the word processing of surveys for you.
  10. The next step is to give out the surveys to the different target groups. The family surveys should be taken home by the students to be completed by a parent or interested adult.
  11. Students will tally the results of the surveys and share findings with the class.
  12. The final step is to present results of the surveys and possible solutions to the Student Council, principal or the School Board for possible action.
Assessment 

The completed surveys will act as a measure of student learning. The learners will explain how an advocacy service project is a philanthropic act.
The students will explain how bullying violates core democratic values.

Cross Curriculum 

The experiential component of this lesson is the presentation of survey results to an interested group in the school such as the Student Council, the school board, or the principal for possible further action.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify and research public or social issues in the community, nation or the world related to the common good. Form an opinion, and develop and present a persuasive argument using communication tools.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
      3. Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.