Activities exploring bullying

In this section you will find drama and writing ideas for you to do with your class.

The drama and role play ideas here ask the children to imagine empathising with or being characters from No Kidding. This creates a safe distance from their own classroom experience so you can explore this sensitive topic more effectively.

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Writing to Bally and Billy

Bally was bullying Billy, even though they were supposed to be friends.

Every time they did the Fun Time show Bally would call Billy names, play tricks on her and tease her over and over to make the audience laugh. Nobody deserves to be bullied ever.

You helped Bally and Billy to sort things out and you made Bally realise what she was doing was wrong.

  • Can you write a letter to Bally to help her remember what she needs to do and say to be a good friend to Billy?
  • Can you write a letter to Billy to help her remember what she could say to Bally if she starts to bully her again and remind Billy about who she could talk to?

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Role on the wall

Make life size outlines of Bally and Billy by drawing around children on two very large pieces of paper (newsprint end roll or sugar paper taped together). This could be coloured in or made into a collage either later or before the next stage.

Ask the children to think of words or phrases describing Billy or Bally’s characters. These are then written directly onto the drawing or stuck on with post-its. The teacher can also write them in with a marker pen, taking direction from the children.

Key questions:

  • What words could you use to describe the characters at the start of the story?
  • What words or sentences would you add to the outline of the characters by the end of the drama?
  • Can you imagine what Bally was thinking when she teased Billy?
  • Can you imagine what Billy was feeling when Bally was bullying her?

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What is bullying?

Here is a list of common behaviours that your class may recognise. These behaviours are bullying if they are done over and over again on purpose to someone.

  • Name calling, not just calling someone nasty names but also calling their family names too.
  • Physically hurting someone by hitting, kicking, biting, scratching, pushing, tripping someone on purpose.
  • Leaving someone out, not allowing them to play or join in a game.
  • Talking about someone behind their back and saying things that are not true.
  • Giving someone ‘nasty eyes’, is when someone glares or gives you threatening looks.

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Freeze frames and scenes

Ask your class to get into pairs decide who will be Billy and who will be Bally. Give them a few minutes to create a freeze frame of Bally and Billy based on one of the above bullying scenarios or one they can remember from the drama. Ask the children to present them all together and hold by counting 3, 2, 1 freeze. While the class freeze you briefly pass around the class saying what you can see regarding body language, facial expression, status, possible ‘story lines’.

Sit the class in a semi circle and ask for volunteers to present their freeze frames. Can the rest of the group watch and tell who is Bally and who is Bally in the images? How? What do they think is going on in the picture? Ask the children to imaging speech bubbles coming from the Billy and Bally’s mouths. What are they saying? If this proves fruitful then you could move onto ‘thought bubbles’ too.

If they are confident in this exercise you could ask each pair to extend their freeze frame and bring it to life for a very short moment of drama that ends with another freeze frame. These scenes and freeze frames should provide lots of material for further discussion and help you to find out what your class feels about the bullying behaviors mentioned above.

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Role play

Role-play activities are a great way for children to practice what they could say in real life – scenarios where role-play may come in handy include:

  • Standing up for yourself (Billy stands up to Bally)
  • Saying No (Billy refuses to join in with Bally’s jokes)
  • Telling someone else/a teacher (as a bystander of Bally’s behaviour)

To begin with these role plays could be in pairs and improvised rather than ‘performed.’ Set a time limit for their improvisations and bring the class together to report back in role as Billy, Bally or another character they have included in their role play.

Questions:

  • So would any of the Billy’s like to share with us how it went, standing up to Bally?
  • Can any of the Bally’s tell us how it felt when Billy told you how she was feeling?
  • Were there any grown-ups or other friends in your role play who would like to share what happened?

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Hot-seating

A child/grown up is sat on a chair facing the rest of the class. They are asked to pretend to be either Billy, or Bally, or a bystander.

The rest of the children then questions and the person in the hot seat have to answer in character. Give the children time to prepare the questions and be prepared to model being in the hot seat yourself. An item of clothing or a hat to represent Billy and Bally will help everyone understand when someone is in role.

Questions could include:

  • Bally, why did you play all those tricks on Billy?
  • Billy, how did you feel when Bally played all those tricks on you?
  • Why did you laugh when Bally played a trick on Billy?

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Forum theatre

In this activity the teacher allows the children to try out different strategies as different characters to support Billy and to help Bally see what she has done to hurt Billy. It involves a certain amount of improvising on the teacher’s part. The objective should be very clear: To help a child to be in role as friend or family member of either Billy or Bally in order to, show support, give advice and to explain consequences.

Ask the children to think about if they were Billy or Bally’s mum, dad, teacher or friend what would they say to them?

When they’ve had time to think about this ask if anybody would like to come and talk to Billy or Bally. Explain you (teacher) will be playing Billy or Bally and they are to talk to you as if they were in character as mum, dad etc. You, in character as Billy or Bally could be doing something like trying a trick or tidying up before saying to the child in role “Did you want to talk to me about anything?” and then you respond to their comments in the moment. Try making it a little challenging if their ideas to solve Billy and Bally’s problems are too simplistic or aggressive.

You can ask the child in role with you to shout ‘freeze’ any time they want the role play to stop, in order to get advice from the rest of the class or to step down and let someone else have a go.

 

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