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.
One could say that the Super Me program prevents bullying. However, it would be more accurate to say that the program empowers kids to prevent bullying. It does this by helping them develop essential Social-Emotional and Executive Function skills.
The key is to care about our children and teach them how to care about themselves and each other. This means guiding them on their journey to discover the essential traits and behaviors that define their true value. It means fortifying that value and engaging them in learning experiences that help them overcome the tactics and pitfalls of bullying. The goal is to prevent bullying behavior and the problems it causes rather than cope with the damage to our children after it happens.
OVERVIEW (Ages 7-12, 45–60 min. sessions)
The Super Me to the Rescue program is a series of interactive lessons and artmaking. (There are options for professional development, presentations, and a gallery show.) The program capitalizes on the popularity of comic book superheroes as positive role models for children to be inspired by and learn from. This inspiration is strengthened by six stories that provide examples of small acts of everyday heroism. Following these examples, participants chose fantasy superpowers and their actual superpowers (based on their best character skills) to create a Super Me superhero. These powers are also incorporated into creating their costume (cape, mask, and other accessories depending on the number of sessions). During the program, students develop their personal value and an understanding of why bullies bully. They learn to prevent bullying in the first place, resolve it peacefully if it happens, and in extreme cases to defend themselves from physical injury.
Session-1: Introduction: Peace Avenger
(Self-awareness & Social Awareness)
Supporting Text: Superhero Quotes
This session engages children in an anti-bullying trivia game based on quotes from their favorite superheroes. Students volunteer to represent their heroes and wield their symbolic peacekeeping props as they discuss inspirational messages such as—
“We all know the truth; more connects us than separates us.”
Along the way, they learn the everyday superpowers that make all fantasy superpowers possible; a good heart filled with compassion, righteousness, kindness, and a desire to help those in need. After celebrating the moral wisdom of fantasy icons, we connect with real-life superheroes like Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi. This emphasizes the program’s ultimate message that there is a hero inside all of us. Finally, a student is chosen to come on stage and show that she/he is worthy to lift Mjollnir, Thor’s legendary hammer of goodness.
Session-2: YOU-nique (Self-awareness)
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. This way experiencing differences becomes good/interesting instead of bad/unsettling. This lesson engages students in the guided social activity, 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 don't have to be afraid of people who are different, fear and insecurity are 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: Val-YOU-Able (Self-management)
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. These activities help them discover the
essential traits and actions that define who they are. The program helps
our children first to understand how and why they are truly valuable
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 superpower to help others feel good too.”
– Paul Rodriguez
Session-4: Breaking Down Bullying (Responsible Decision Making)
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. For example, sometimes good kids are reacting to bad situations. 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 avoid becoming a bully. This is a case of, “What kids do know, can help them.”
“It doesn’t make you strong when you pick on someone’s weakness?”
– Paul Rodriguez
Session-5: Positive Self-Respect (Understanding Bullying)
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: From Bystander to Up-stander (Social Awareness)
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. These techniques use positive and safe methods to help resolve bullying encounters.
“If you see something bad, mind your own business and say something good!”
– Paul Rodriguez
Session-7: Non-Violence & Self-defense (Anti-Bullying Strategies)
Supporting Story: Kung Fu Peace of Mind
The lessons from this story are as important as the title, Kung Fu Peace of Mind. In order to have a healthy mind, our children need to have “peace” of mind. Peace of mind comes from many factors, external and internal. Externally, our children have to know that we care for them, and internally, they must believe that they are worth being cared about. This enables them to develop a solid sense of personal value. That value, in turn, gives them the confidence they need to stand up for themselves.
Bullying is complex. There is no easy solution, and there is no way to avoid it completely. What we can do is give our children the skills to try to prevent it, avoid it when possible, resolve it peacefully when they can, and make sure they can defend themselves from physical injury when they can’t. The more they can do for themselves, the more they can preserve their “peace” of mind.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke
The Super Me to the Rescue program is anchored in the six book-based lessons but it can be expanded. Options for additional sessions include additional academic lessons, art-making, presentations, a gallery exhibit, and professional development. To discuss the options that best fit your child or students, please contact Rodro to set up a consultation. – Thanks