Battling Bullying (5-8)


This 3-tiered lesson might be an interesting and engaging introduction to any exploration of bullying, conflict-resolution, and designing solutions to encourage empathy and understanding. 

Grade Range: 5-8
Text SetBringing an End to Bullying

  • Primary: Overcoming Obstacles
  • Other: Loss of Innocence, Coming of Age

Curricular Connections

  • ELA
  • Social Studies
  • Psychology
  • Health/PE

Primary Common Core Connection

  • ELA Reading Informational Text Standards .1, .2, .7 and .9
  • ELA Writing Standard .9
  • ELA Speaking and Listening Standards .1-.3


Bullying, Identity, Empathy, Conflict-Resolution

Guiding Question

Is bullying really a problem, or is it just a part of growing up? If bullying is the problem, how might my actions be the solution? 

Goal and Rationale

Students must develop the understanding that their words and actions have power. As students engage with the text, media, and language they are exposed to on a daily basis, they must consider the impact and weight language has on the speaker’s message and the audience’s interpretation. 

Throughout these lessons, students must not only present claims, but also offer clear and relevant supporting evidence in both written and spoken communication.

This lesson is presented in 3-tiers, however the teacher has the option of implementing any or all of the tiers that work best with his/her goals, students, available time, and class structure.

Materials Needed

Provided by NEWSELA: 

External Resources:

  • The Power of Words
  • Student Bullying  
  • The Bullying Experiment

Lesson Elements

Tier I

  1. As students enter the classroom, the teacher shows the following video to students: The Power of Words.
  2. The teacher then poses the following questions – What IS bullying?  How do you respond to bullying? – Students take approximately 3 minutes to reflect upon this question. They might journal their responses, pair-share with another student to discuss their initial thinking, or chart responses as a class.
  3. Students then read Mexico Says It’s Time to Stop the Bullying. Each student reads the article at his/her individual accessibility level and uses the Newsela annotation feature to make notes in the margin.
     Tip: Use annotations to infuse targeted and probing questions for students directly into the document!
  4. Following the reading, the teacher facilitates a class wide exploration of the infographic – Student Bullying  
    NOTE: This element of the lesson is a collaborative activity so that the infographic is accessible to all levels of readers within your classroom.
  5. The teacher then engages the students in a Socratic Seminar or similarly structured discussion, centering on the prompt below. The students discuss their responses, continually providing text-based, media-based, and infographic-based evidence and justification for their claims. They build upon the ideas of others, question, and challenge thinking throughout the discussion.
    Is bullying REALLY a problem or just a part of growing up?

Tier II

  1. Students read A School’s “Peace Room” Aims to Stop Fighting in the Halls. Each student reads the article at his/her individual accessibility level and uses the Newsela annotation feature to take notes in the margin. 
  2. Following this, the teacher questions students to consider how a “Peace Room” might impact both bullies and their victims. What did the Peace Room provide for Marquita and Aaliyah when they were on the verge of fighting? What might encourage bullies and their victims to seek out the Peace Room? What might prevent them from doing so? Students share their thinking through reflective journaling, a pair share, or a class discussion.
  3. The teacher then calls students to consider how we respond to bullying, once again. After a brief share-out, the teacher shows the following video and then debriefs with the class, asking for them to share their reflections: The Bullying Experiment
  4. Either in small groups of 2-3 or individually, the students consider ways in which they might propose a bullying prevention program that highlights restorative justice, as seen in the “Peace Room” article. Students are given approximately 20 minutes to complete the following task:
    You are on the school’s restorative justice team and commit to combating the growing bullying issue in the school. Using evidence from the articles and media we have reviewed, develop a proposal for a bullying prevention program. Be prepared to present this to the school leadership committee!
  5. Students should be given the opportunity to share their proposals with classmates. This might be accomplished through a modified jigsaw, gallery walk, or posting to class blogs/website.

Tier III

  1. As a final task, students commit to taking action again bullying in their own way. Students identify an area of focus and actions they will take throughout the next month (or an appropriate amount of time, at the teacher’s discretion). Throughout this process, students might keep a reflective journal, blog, video log, etc. to chronicle their actions, thoughts, and progress.  


  • Buckfire & Buckfire, PC. "Student Bullying." Student Bullying in United States Statistics and Facts. Buckfire & Buckfire, PC, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.
  • Concerned Children's Advertisers. "The Power Of The Words." YouTube. YouTube, 23 June 2009. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.
  • FouseyTUBE. "THE BULLYING EXPERIMENT!" YouTube. YouTube, 1 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.   
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