Archive for the ‘Cliques’ Category

My Mom and Me

It used to be I’d hop out of bed,
So eager to start my day.
But times have changed. I ask my mom,
“Can I stay home from school today?”

I find a lot of grounds,
To justify my stance.
I plead, I beg, I frown,
I do a little dance.

“My ears, they ache. My tummy’s sore.”
I blow my nose and cough some more.
“What are these spots upon my chest?”
I wheeze. I sneeze. I do my best.

My Mom sits down beside my bed.
“You are not sick.” I turn bright red.
I know she hates it when I lie.
She’d understand if she knew why.

So should I tell her of my woes?
And will it change things if she knows?
I fear she’ll only make things worse.
If I don’t tell her, I think I’ll burst.

And so I tell her of the clique.
The girls who say that I’m a “geek”.
I tell of giggles,
The whispers,
The rumors.
I talk of their spite,
They cruel sense of humor.

And …

It feels so good to vent.
Although it’s so private.
I talk and talk.
My Mom’s very quiet.

She says to me gently,
“I’m terribly sorry.”
We hug and we cry.
We go over my story.

Together we look at the things we can do.
I’m no longer alone; we have a plan too.
I think I can face being teased and harassed.
With Mom on my side, my power is vast

by Andrea Wilson

Topics for Discussion:

  • The narrator doesn’t want to go to school because she will encounter the clique. What other effects could the experience of being bullied have on a person?
  • Why is it so important to tell a trusted adult about being bullied?
  • What is social or relational bullying? How does a clique ostracize a child?
  • What are some helpful thing adults can do. How can they “make things worse”?

Classroom Activities:

  • In small groups, come up with a “plan” to help the narrator.
  • Turn the poem into a song.
  • Continue the poem by repeating “It used to be …” and “But times have changed …” as they are used in the first stanza. This time use them to demonstrate what she has learned.
    • For example:
      It used to be I’d shake with fear,
      Whenever they’d come my way.
      But times have changed; when they come near,
      I simply walk away.

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My Gang

Join my gang and you will see,
We’ll have such fun, I guarantee.
See that nerd, the one who’s shy?
I bet that we can make him cry.

He deserves it.
I don’t care.
The kid’s a jerk.
He’s not all there.

Over there is Marylou.
I tell you what we’re gonna do.
Start a rumor, let it spread.
I bet her face will turn beet red.

She’s upset?
That’s just too bad.
The girl’s a wimp,
So don’t get sad.

And now let’s have some fun with Kit.
I’ll whisper “Kit”, then laugh at it.
She, who thinks she’s one of us,
She’ll look all hurt and make a fuss.

My, oh my!
The girl is nuts.
She peed her pants
And puked her guts!

Me, mean?

I am stronger than the rest.
Smarter, braver. I’m the best.
I don’t owe them. They owe me.
They had it coming, don’t you see?

Join my gang,
And you will be,
Protected, safe.
‘Cause you’re with me.

by Andrea Wilson

Topics for discussion:

  • The bully is exerting pressure to have the reader join his/her clique. What advantages are there in joining a clique?
  • Disadvantages? Would you join? What would happen if you decline?
  • It is often hard to resist peer pressure. How do you judge when to “go along” with the gang and when not to?
  • How do bullies feel about themselves? What arguments does the bully in the poem use to justify his behavior?

Classroom Activities:

  • Read the poem like a chant, adding a background drumbeat.
  • Pretend you are the bully’s psychologist and that you have discovered what circumstances contributed to making the bully behave so unkindly. Write down your “professional” opinion. How can you help him/her?
  • In small groups, practice answering the bully. Come to a consensus on the best response.

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Belinda Bates is a bully
A bossy, belligerent bully.
Though a beauty and bright,
She’s so full of spite,
But adults don’t know she’s a bully

“On please let me help, Miss O’ Neal”
“What a lovely tie, Mister Beal.”
She’s as sweet as canned spinach,
A fake to the finish,
Yet grown-ups are sure she’s for real.

But …

If they’d walk out on the playground
On any given day,
They’d see Miss Bates in action,
And much to their dismay,
They’d see …

A shy girl is shunned and she’s teased,
Her brother is kicked in the knees,
Another called “Fatso”
Her clique?
They all laughed so.
Such pain she inflicts with great ease.

But …

I can see it happen.
And I know it isn’t right.
I can tell a teacher,
And refuse to watch a fight.
I can help the shy girl.
Lift her brother to her feet.
Call Fatso by his real name,
and refuse to join the clique.

I can even be nice to Belinda,
For I’m sure there is something wrong.
I think she is really unhappy.
Let’s see if we can’t get along.

by Andrea Wilson

Topics for discussion:

  • Why are adults often not aware of a bully’s behavior and how does a bully manage to pass undetected?

  • Describe different types of bullying: physical, verbal, relational or social. How do they manifest themselves?

  • What are cliques? When do cliques become a problem?

  • What roles can an onlooker play?

  • When should you intervene and how?

  • What might be the underlying causes of bullying behavior

  • What is empathy?

Classroom activities:

  • Using the first stanza as an example, practice using alliteration to write a stanza about bullying.

  • Using the phrase “She’s as sweet as canned spinach” as an example, write examples of similes to describe bullies.

  • Explore empathy by finding possible explanations (not justifications) for Belinda’s behavior.

  • Try methods of intervening by role-playing.

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