METUCHEN – Students and staff at Campbell Elementary School in Metuchen have pledged to do their part to “stomp out bullying.” As a visual symbol of that anti-bullying pledge, each student and staff member signed his or her name on a puzzle piece that connect together to make a single large floor mat that sends the message “Campbell School is coming together to stomp out bullying.”
First grade teacher Tara Lingenfelter taught her class about bullying before they signed the puzzle piece pledge. She began the lesson by showing the students a flat piece of paper and told them that we were going to pretend that the paper represented someone’s heart. Then, she read a book about bullying.
Each time someone in the book said or did something hurtful, she would wrinkle the paper a little bit, so that by the end of the story, the paper was in a crumpled ball. After they finished the book, she asked the students to share different ways they could help someone whose feelings had been hurt. They shared answers like “say you’re sorry” and “play with them.” Each time they would suggest something, Lingenfelter would “unwrinkle” the paper a little to show how doing those things would help someone feel better.
She then asked them whether, after doing all of those nice things, the “heart” was the same as it was in the beginning. They, of course, responded no, observing that the paper was still wrinkled a little. She explained that, although saying you’re sorry and doing nice things for someone whose feelings were hurt can help make them feel better, unfortunately, the damage is already done and will always be there.…even if it is just a little.
In the end, her class discussed ways they could prevent bullying and hurt feelings before they even happen or before anyone’s heart is “wrinkled.” They then signed their anti-bullying mat puzzle piece.
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