For as long as we put children in large groups together, bullying will almost always be a problem that needs attention. But sometimes inspiring our students to do the right thing can be a challenge, even when they want to do the right thing. Many times, students are actually so unnerved by what they are seeing or experiencing that they are unable to figure out exactly what they should do.
These writing prompts will help students to think about some great action steps they can take to help combat bullying, whether in the classroom, on the playground, in the lunch room, or even in their neighborhood outside of school hours.
These writing prompts to combat bullying actually go significantly past the issue of bullying. They will teach your students how and when to show empathy to others, even when dealing with the behaviors of bullies around them. They will also show students how to stay safe when confronted with bullying circumstances. What a great way for teachers to open a dialogue and show their students that they are always available as support for the difficult times as well as the easy ones!
Table of Contents
Writing Prompts to Help Students Identify Bullying
- How can you tell the difference between teasing and bullying? How would you help to diffuse the situation in each case?
- How can you identify when teasing is crossing the line into bullying?
- What do you think is the difference between physical, verbal, and psychological bullying?
- What kind of behaviors do you think will lead to bullying? (For example: harsh words, pushing, posturing)
- Can shunning or excluding others be a form of bullying? Explain your thoughts.
- How is gossiping or spreading rumors a form of bullying? How can you prevent this from happening?
Writing Prompts for Students Who Witness Bullying
- When you see someone being bullied, how does it make you feel? How should you work through those feelings?
- Many times, the students being bullied aren’t the only ones feeling fear. How can you work through your fear when you see another person being bullied?
- How can you show support to students who are being bullied by others?
- How do you know when it’s the right time to get a teacher’s (or other adult’s) help when you witness a potential bullying experience?
- What are ways that you can inadvertently give the bully more power when you witness a bullying situation?
Writing Prompts for Students Who Are Bullied
- Do you think it is right when someone tells you that you need to “tough it out” when somebody bullies you?
- What are some ways you can protect yourself from a bully without putting yourself more at risk?
- What could make you afraid to go to a teacher or other adult for help? How can you get past the fear of going to someone for help?
- Is it ever appropriate to fight back? What can happen if you do?
- In what ways could you actually try to encourage the bully and make them feel better instead of letting them continue to bully you? How can you do this without putting yourself more at risk? When should you not try to do this and instead seek out help?
- In what ways can you choose to not engage the bully’s tactics? Are there ways you can turn the bullying around or at least stop it?
Writing Prompts for Students Who are Tempted to Bully Others
- When you feel like you are about to do something unkind, try to think about how you would feel if another person did that to you. How can you make your mind make this change of direction?
- When you start feeling your emotions (or anger) getting out of control, what are some ways you can pull back and get that control back? (Examples: count to ten, take a physical step back, take some breaths, just walk away)
- If you struggled with bullying, how could you drum up the courage to talk to a teacher, counselor, or other adult to seek out help for your behavior?
- What are some thoughts you can identify that cause you to bully certain people? How can you work through those thoughts to turn them to more positive thoughts? (When you choose to do this writing prompt, it is a great way to help students to understand why some people bully and some great ways to help others to share empathy and healing with others!)
- How can you make past bullying offenses right? How can you restore relationships? How important is sincerity?
Writing Prompts to Show Students How to Seek Out Help From Teachers
- How can you help someone that has been bullied to be brave enough to seek out help without fear of repercussions?
- In what ways do you think it would be helpful to go with a bullied student to a teacher?
- What are some criteria you would consider before you felt comfortable going to a teacher, counselor, or other adult to seek help?
- What books or shows could you recommend to your teacher or counselor that really helped you to deal with bullying issues?
- When would it be a good time for you to talk to a teacher/counselor on behalf of a friend who is dealing with a bully and afraid to say anything? How could you keep this conversation with the teacher/counselor discreet?
Writing Prompts That Help Students Encourage Bullies to be Kind
- What are some ways you can befriend a bully when they are not in a bullying situation?
- How do you think a bully could change their attitude if they knew that you cared for them and how they feel?
- If you are kind to a bully and they do not respond well, can you take the blame for not succeeding? (This is a good exercise to show students that they should always do the right thing, but cannot always expect the right result to happen. They are only responsible for their own actions and not the actions of others!)
- How can a bully choosing not to bully others show much greater strength than bullying? How can you communicate that to someone who is bullying others?
- When is the best time to encourage a bully to be kind? When might it be a bad time?
Writing Prompts About Becoming an Anti-Bullying Advocate
- How can you make others that have been bullied feel better about themselves?
- How can you show bullied people to have more of a sense of self-worth?
- If you know the bully well, try to think about things in their life that could explain their behavior. How can you come alongside them and encourage them to handle their difficulties/stress in a better way?
- What are some ways you can recognize someone has been bullied by their behavior? (Examples: overly anxious, not participating in activities that they normally do, not talking or communicating as much as they normally do)
- What are some ways you can help bullied people open up about their experience? (Examples: bring up a tv show that addressed a bullying situation and get their opinion on it if they watched it, bring up a book passage in the same way, make sure they realize that you will truly listen–this is done by listening to them in “less important” matters)
- How can you make sure bullied students don’t blame themselves for being bullied?
- Why is the buddy system one of the best ways to combat bullying? How can you help encourage others to make sure this is a regular event at your school?
- How does gaining confidence help both the bullied and the bully?
- What are some ways we can all be a positive influence to everyone we come in contact with on a daily basis?
For Further Reading
The first recommendation I have for you in addition to writing prompts to combat bullying is a book to work through with your students/kids. This book is simply the best on the market right now because it is written by a school counselor in North Carolina, USA, and it has very succinct points as well as exercises for you to work out with your students/kids. By the time they are finished working through this book, they will be able to adequately work through bullying issues that they encounter with confidence and emotional maturity.
Click on the book or title to learn more or purchase!
For teachers, the best book I have found is The Essential Guide to Bullying: Prevention And Intervention. It tends to deal best with the issues most teachers face on a regular basis without being overly trite or long winded–just a perfect treatment of an issue we deal with frequently with ways to help make our classroom run more smoothly!
The best part of this book is that it is a collaborative effort with a school social worker (Cindy Miller) with the co-creator of the film, Bully (Cynthia Lowen).
For more information on the film, Bully, check out this YouTube video:
These writing prompts to combat bullying are a pretty good start to get students to think about their part in bullying and overall classroom emotional health. Most students will find themselves in some of these circumstances, and it is so helpful to help them to think through these issues before they occur. Many students cannot think on their feet, especially in stressful situations (actually the same can be said for adults!).
Let me know how these writing prompts to combat bullying have helped you with your students, or even in your household. What other things have you done? Please share with me in the comments!