Cruel Schools: A Lesson Plan on Bullying

(printed version)


   Lesson Plan I:  Nellie Deutsch "Cruel Schools"


    Section 1 – Background





Cruel Schools: Bullying behavior in school



Grade level

6-8, 9-12

Set up time and class time

three class periods

Type of lesson

Internet and class activities and face-to-face discussions on social and communicative life skills. The students work collaboratively while learning to apply decision making techniques


A video clip introduces a real life situation as a result of bullying behavior. Students learn to become aware of the dangers of bullying behavior in school, solve problems and are ready to make character change as they learn about the importance of caring about others.


   Section 2 – Focus


Essential questions the lesson will answer

What environmental and external factors affect individual and community health?

What is the primary problem students are answering?

How do peer relationships affect health (e.g., name calling, prejudice, exclusiveness, discrimination, risk-taking behaviors)?

Internet resources to be used to  help students (a problem solving animated story about Lisa) (learning about how the bully and victims feel and solutions to wrong choices) (resource links just for kids) (Don't suffer in silence video)

What's wrong with bullying? A thinkquest

The objectives for the lesson clearly stated and need to be measurable

1.      Describe the continuum of violence

2.      Identify ways to personally make a difference in their school

3.      State and carry out the basics of research and data collection

4.      Gain experience in drawing conclusions and summarizing concepts

5.      Participate in group/team activity to solve problems

The educational skills, benchmarks or content area standards are stated and could relate to State Technology Standards

Subject area: Health

Standards: Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health

Benchmarks: Knows potential signs of self-and other directed violence

Benchmark: Knows the various possible  causes of conflict among youth in schools and communities, and strategies to manage conflict

Benchmark: Knows how refusal and negotiation skills can be used to enhance health

Subject area: Life Skills- Thinking and Reasoning

Standard: Understands and applies basic principles of logic and reasoning

Benchmarks: Understands that personal values influence the types of conclusions people make

Benchmark: Recognizes situations in which a variety of conclusions can be drawn from the same information (situation)

Subject area: Life Skills-Thinking and Reasoning

Standard: Applies decision-making techniques

Benchmarks:  Identifies situations in the community and in one's personal life in which a decision is required

Benchmark: Identifies the values underlying the alternatives at are considered and the criteria that will be used to make a decision among the alternatives

Benchmark: Make decisions based on data obtained and the criteria identified

Subject Area: Language Arts

Standard: Gathers and uses information for research purposes

Benchmarks: Gathers data for research topics from interviews (asks relevant questions, makes notes of responses, complies responses)

Benchmark: Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways (outlines, notes, etc.)

A list of materials required for the lesson  included

1. Large bulletin board paper (for discussion sessions)

2. Pencil/pens/markers (for discussion sessions)

3. Computers, Internet access, word processing, Excel and other productivity tools

4. Student survey on bullying and violence handout

5. Reality matters, Cruel School's facts handout

6. Continuum of violence handout

Internet resources are cited by Web addresses as well as URL (address)

1. Worksheet: Student Survey on Bullying and Violence handout

2. Worksheet: Reality Matters, Cruel Schools Facts handout

3. Worksheet: Continuum of Violence handout


4. Standards and Benchmarks: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning


   Section 3 – Procedures and Activities


Procedures listed as a narrative step-by-step

1. To provide a great introduction of the lesson to your students, click on play to watch the overview of Cruel Schools: play (download the free realplayer)

2. As a class, talk about what it means to be a "bully"

3. Have students think of words that might be associated with a "bully" (examples: loud, mean, popular, etc.) Write these words on the board or overhead.

4. Have students think of words that might be associated with a "victim" (examples: weak, different, studious, etc.) Write these words on the board or overhead.

5. Place additional vocabulary words (attached list of 10) on the board, overhead or in hand out form. Have students work in assigned groups of two. Try to pair up students who might not usually choose to work together. Have them define the 10 vocabulary words. Using a dictionary or computer, the paired groups should write their definitions on paper or handout.

Note: By pairing students who might not usually work together, you are creating an assignment within your assignment. Watch how students try to get to know each other. How do they work on building a new relationship? After the class has completed the vocabulary, ask the students how they felt about getting to know someone they might not have known before the assignment. Other questions might be: When you know a little bit about someone, does it change your view about that person? Why? Is it easy to make new friends?

6. After students have written their definitions, have each group give their definition of one vocabulary word to the class. These definitions can be placed on the board or overhead.

7. Once students have an understanding of the word "bully" or "bullying", introduce the Student Survey on Bullying.

8. Student Survey on Bullying and Violence- Part Two-Second Lesson

Print copies of both handouts for this segment of the lesson: Reality Matters, Cruel Schools Facts and The Student Survey on Bullying and Violence.

9. Introduce the facts handout first, review the details with the class, and ask the students how they feel about their school. Where does our school stack up against these facts? Do our students and teachers feel safe? Let's take a look at bullying at our school.

10. Next, introduce the survey form and instruct the students on how to administer the survey, The Student Survey on Bullying and Violence. They can do this during class time and as additional homework. They are to survey 3 students and 2 adults (on campus). Students will need 5 copies of the survey. They will only need to note if the person surveyed is a student or an adult, and that the person has not answered the survey for another student.

Note: Individual names of those surveyed should not be used. Students should be aware that confidentiality is important so as not to promote reactions from others and to ensure the safety of those being interviewed.

11. Once surveys are complete, have students compile their individual responses. See the example of the spreadsheet to use to help compile and review the results.

12. Individual Reports and Class Summary-Part Three-Summary Lesson

With information gathered from the survey, students write a synopsis of their findings. Have them include their answers to the following questions:

Can one person make a difference? 

If bullying has no audience, can it exist? 

How is empathy the first step to stopping violence? 

How can you become part of the solution to bullying at school?

13. Once students have completed their individual summary, time should begiven for students to voluntarily share their responses with the class. Lead the class in a summarization of their surveys to create a profile of their school. Record the profile of the master survey results and conclusions by using overhead or on a large bulletin paper in classroom

Problems (anticipated)

Students may have problems following the instructions.

The class will be working on different parts of the lesson and at a different pace.

Teacher will have management issues to deal with.

The size of the class may be a problem.

The number of students per computer. Will there be a computer for each team or will there be computers for each student?

Solutions or workarounds (anticipated)

Instructions will have to be very clearly stated.

Each team may need to go over the instructions for clarification. The teacher will have to be on hand to answer questions at all times.

The students will receive checklists for every stage of the lesson to avoid students feeling lost or having nothing to do. The students will have a copy of the students assessment rubric so they will know what is expected of them.

Teachers will have to find out in advance what the situation is in the computer room and work accordingly.

It may be necessary to break the class down in half and work on other areas like discussions in smaller groups in another area. Not everyone will be working on the computers at the same time.

Differentiated instruction accommodations

Older students: These may be advanced and more challenged students

Older students should also prepare a research analysis of the number of reported violence acts in schools over the last five years, ask them to draw conclusions on trends, and/or have them plot a geographical map of the locations. These activities will enhance the school survey. Students can submit their reports to the teacher and selected reports should be shared with others in the class.

Younger students: These may be students who are weak, disadvantaged or learn differently.

Students role play different bullying situations (examples: name calling, teasing, spreading rumors). What are the feelings that are being displayed? Talk about the different solutions to these situations and how an observer can get involved. This may help students prepare for the types of questions they are going to ask adults and their peers.

Follow-up activities

Presentation of work by each team or by individuals by a video, PowerPoint, or a stage play

A research survey at a future date to see if there were less cases of bullying behavior in school as a result of the lessons

Feedback on how students felt about their work on bullying

Extension activities

Students will learn about "The Continuum of Violence". Begin with the Continuum of Violence Handout. Ask each student to use Excel rank the behaviors from least to most violent. Have all students compare their lists, make adjustments and decide on a class consensus.

Then discuss the following: Are all of the acts violent? What makes one act more violent than another? Do you think a person who acts at the low end of the continuum and gets away with it might move up to commit more violent acts? At what point should you tell an adult if you witness these acts?

Create a web site with students and publish students' work.

Produce a play to be staged and seen by the whole school.

Produce a video on the subject of bullying

Supporting activities

Parents and the community should be involved in the project.

Have students interview their parents about bullying and what it was like when they were in school. Were they bullied?  Did they see others bullied? How did they feel about it? How do they feel about it now?

Students may interview family members and neighbors. 


   Section 4 – Assessment/Evaluation


Assessment rubrics

(See the assessment     rubric for the exact points)

Students may be evaluated by using the following four-point rubric:

Four: student has followed all given instructions with full participation in group, class discussions and the five tasks.

Three: student has completed school survey and individual summary with some participation in group and class activities.

Two: student has completed portions of the five-part assignment with limited class involvement.

One: student has completed very little of the required assignments

Note: Each individual section can also be evaluated by giving letter grades or on point system per given section.


   Section 5 – Sources


Sources cited

Health Adventures—Cruel Schools

Are you worried about a bully? Do you wonder when it is the best time to get help? Play Cruel Schools and discover solutions to managing anger, getting help, and stopping the violence in schools.

BBC Education

This is a Bullying Survival Guide which offers guidelines for addressing bullying from school to work. It offers facts, stories, and resources for those wanting to learn more about dealing with bullies.

Bully B'ware Productions

Bully B’ware is a site that offers detailed information about bullying to students, parents, teachers, and administrators. It addresses specifically how to take action against bullying in your school.

ThinkQuest Competition and Online Library













Assessment Rubric on Cruel Schools

C   criteria

5 points

10 points

15 points

20 points



Describe the continuum of violence



A limited description




A limited description




A clear description that was not presented


A creatively presented and clear description



Identify    ways to personally make a difference in school



Identified one way





Identified two ways





Identified four ways





Identified five ways






State and carry out the basics of research and data collection



Used a search engine and one relevant web site



Used search engine and two relevant web sites



Used search engine and three relevant web sites



Used search engine and four relevant web sites




Gain experience in drawing conclusions and summarizing concepts


No conclusions drawn but used some summarizing concepts



One conclusion drawn and some summarizing concepts



Two conclusions drawn and some summarizing concepts



Three or more conclusions drawn and use of summarizing concepts




Participate in team activity to solve problems


Worked in a team but didn't

participate on a regular basis


Worked in a team but didn't help

solve problems


Worked in a team and helped solve many problems



Led  the team activities in

solving problems









Last updated February 7, 2005 by Nellie Deutsch

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