Breaking down bullying by building
up Personal Pride!
The Super Me—To the Rescue program, makes children aware that their superpowers of empathy and positivity are stronger than a bully’s apathy and negativity.
This program doesn’t prevent bullying; it empowers children to prevent bullying.
It does this by providing them with insights into their emotional intelligence which they use to understand the complex social and emotional elements of bullying. In other words, by believing in their fortitude, resilience, and kindness.
The key is to care about our children and teach them how to care about themselves and each other. This means helping them to discover the essential traits and behaviors that define their true value, helping them develop the character skills they need to form strong, good character, and engaging them in learning experiences that help them overcome the tactics and pitfalls of bullying.
OVERVIEW (Grades 5–8, 45–60 min. sessions)
Super Me is a six-session residency: five days of lessons and art making, and one day of presentations (optional, seventh session for professional development). Students read five stories with examples of conflicts and resolutions and then participate in guided social activities that provide experiential learning of the lessons exemplified in the stories. Throughout the program, students create personal, Superpower Treasure Chests. With each lesson, they choose fantasy superpowers and actual superpowers and portray them on their treasure chest in colorful illustrations with written descriptions and inspirational quotes. They also are encouraged to fill their treasure chest with items that represent important moments in their lives and who they are as a person. These items are supplemented with handouts about their personal value, how to understand bullying, prevent it when possible, and resolve it peacefully if it happens. Click here to view additional program info and videos.
Supporting Story: The New Swing King
At the core of bullying is the heart of the individual. To reach the hearts of
our children this lesson cuts through all the hype and superficiality of
materialism, popularity, fashion, selfies, and “likes.” Students learn how to
engage in these social dynamics in a healthy way by learning to decode
their pitfalls. This is done by engaging them in activities, such as Putting
The “YOU” In Val-YOU-Able, which help them discover the essential traits
and actions that define their true value. The program helps our children
first to understand how and why they are truly valuable (as opposed to
materialism, popularity, and fashion), and then to actually feel valuable.
This positive sense of self serves as the foundation that helps them to learn how to value others.
“When you feel good about yourself, you have the power to help others feel good too.”
– Paul Rodriguez
Supporting Story: Rodro the Weirdo
Too often children fear and make fun of things that they do not understand. The assumption is; because it is different, it is bad. To counter this, we have to expose children to physical, social, and cultural differences at a young age so that experiencing differences becomes good/interesting instead of bad/unsettling. This program engages students in guided social activities, such as How’s That Hurting Me, to help them think about and understand people and traits that are different from what they are used to. When they learn early on that they need not be afraid of people who are different, fear and insecurity are alleviated and replaced with appreciation and acceptance. The YOU-nique lesson teaches children that they are special because they are different and unique, but more significantly, if they use their uniqueness to help others, they are important!
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s much more important to be nice!”
– Gary Marshall
Session-3: Breaking Down Bullying!
Supporting Story: A Good Day at School
Most people think that bullies are bad kids, plain and simple. Unfortunately, bullying behavior is much more complicated than that. In this program students participate in guided social activities, like Sour Milk, to gain direct insight into why bullies bully. Discovering and discussing insights like cycles of behavior, helps children to understand bullying. This provides them with the tools they need to decipher bullying tactics, stand up to intimidation, avoid being manipulated, conquer negativity, avoid behaving like a bully, and maybe even help a troubled kid to avoid becoming a bully. This is a case of, “What kids do know, can help them.”
“After all, how strong do you have to be to pick on someone’s weakness?”
– Paul Rodriguez
Session-4: From Bystander to Up-stander
Supporting Story: Pick Me Last!
Bullies cause trouble, victims get hurt, and bystanders stand by and watch, but up-standers take action to help. Like so many of the complex aspects of bullying, the role of the bystander can be difficult to understand without thoughtful discussion and engagement. This lesson helps children understand their power as an up-stander with the refrain, “Don’t stand-by, stand-up!” This catchphrase from the activity by the same name engages children in practicing different up-stander conflict resolution techniques using positive and safe methods to help resolve bullying encounters.
“Up-standing is outstanding!”
– Paul Rodriguez
Session-5: Positive Self-Respect
Supporting Story: Let’s All Play!
When you disrespect others, you disrespect yourself. This
is the vital distinction between Positive Self-Esteem and
Positive Self-Respect. The best athlete can have excellent
Self-Esteem and make fun of a lesser athlete but not with
Positive Self-Respect. This activity uses empathy to help
children combine respect, self-respect, and self-esteem
into a powerful tool they can use to be a good person and
overcome bullying. Positive Self-Respect enables caring
about oneself and others, leads to appreciating and helping
others, can prevent negative confrontations, and can
prevent kids from becoming bullies.
“Learning to respect others is a lesson in self-respect. So, teach yourself to respect yourself." – Paul Rodriguez
Session-6: Super Me Presentations
The final day presentation of the Super Me Treasure Chests has several functions. In addition to the occasion for students to take pride in their creativity, this oral presentation also provides essential insights into students' comprehension of the lessons that can be assessed to document students’ learning, as well as their general sense of self-identity. Students also gain vital insights into understanding and appreciating their peers. These insights can help to prevent bullying.
SCHEDULING: School, Community, and Private Sessions
The Super Me— To the Rescue, Anti-Bully Program is purposefully and carefully designed as a six-day residency for schools or six sessions for community and private settings. This reflects the findings of my extensive research into the varied and complex aspects of bullying. (A seventh session for professional development may be added.) This six-session model provides a practical and useful foundation for children to use when coping with the many challenges of bullying. Although, the six-session model delivers the most comprehensive learning experience and tangible results, the sessions may also be booked individually. These individual sessions may be used as a tool to complement and strengthen other anti-bully programs or activities. Because direct personal participation in the lessons and activities is vital the program is not available for assemblies, only for the classroom. It is also available for community groups of 30 or less and private sessions of up to 3 children.