We all have vivid memories of bullying in school whether we were directly involved or on the sidelines as a bystander. Now as teachers, we have a responsibility to educate children about this hot topic. Bullying is repeated, aggressive behavior involving an imbalance of power. It occurs at all ageChrysanthemums, and we can make a difference when we teach students about acceptance, self-worth and empathy. If children understand these vital concepts at a young age, hopefully bullying incidents will decrease drastically in the upcoming year.

One great book to teach about bullying, feelings and self-worth is Chrysanthemum Teacher Resources Button by Kevin Henkes. As mentioned in the book’s Teacher Resource, which you can view by clicking on the TR circle, Chrysanthemum is a mouse that loves her name until she enters school. She is bullied by all of the other students in her classroom. They continually make fun of her name, how long it is and that it is a type of flower. Every student can relate to the special character, as all children feel nervous about the first days of school and their acceptance. In my classroom, all of the kids enjoy this book because of its bright colors, relatable characters and plot, laughable moments at Chrysanthemum’s home and school, and happy ending. I love this book because it teaches students about feelings (their own and those of others), acceptance of differences and appreciation of their individual uniqueness.


Classroom Activities

Class Discussion: In the classroom, students can go around in a circle and state what they are good at and why they like themselves. This allows them to appreciate their talents and understand self-identity and worth. Students will learn something new about their classmates chrysanthemumas well as make connections with similar likes and talents. Realizing our similarities can allow bullying to decrease as commonalities bring people together.

Writing Activity: To take this book a step further than the invaluable discussion, have students write a paragraph explaining what they like about another classmate, going beyond just a physical compliment (I like your shirt, I like your shoes, etc.). This writing activity allows them to delve deeper into the person and realize there is something to be cherished in all of us!

Themed Days: Our classroom had a whole week about anti-bullying with themed days. Each day we discussed the importance of accepting others, how we can include others and what we can say to help make others feel important and happy. Here is a picture of us “Teaming Up Against Bullying.”

Kids in the Classroom

Ms. Rothermel’s First Grade Class

Through reading this book and discussing its importance, students further understand how we all are different, but we all bring special ideas and uniqueness to the classroom. There is no need to tease, make fun of or hurt classmates just because they may look, sound or act different. When we appreciate others, everyone feels accepted and happier!