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A Bully-Free Classroom Starts with YOU!

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I am so excited to have Rusty May as a guest blogger today!  Just to give you a little bit of background, Rusty May is a counselor who specializes in
helping schools improve the school climate by helping teachers and
students create mutually beneficial educational relationships and by teaching children social skills and problem solving strategies that improve educational outcomes and reduce bullying.

Before moving back home to teach and be near my family, I taught in the Bemidji School District in Bemidji, Minnesota.  While teaching there I was introduced to Rusty’s 1-minute character education videos (thank you Susan Richards) and immediately got signed up to have them in my classroom.  Now five years later, I still subscribe to Rusty’s videos because they have made a huge difference in the lives of my students and the climate of my classroom.

Rusty did not ask that I promote his School Tools TV in this blog post but I can’t keep such a good thing a secret!  His videos are appropriate for grades K-7.  Here are the video topics for a 2-week span (see below).

 Personally, I am a fan of the Wednesday message because it is always a bully tip for the week and it is always very relevant.  At the end of every message he asks a question and these serve as a “spring board” to our morning meeting for the day.

If you’d like to have Rusty’s videos in your classroom or want to learn more about them, click {HERE}!!!  If you have anymore questions about this, please feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you.  Okay, off my pedestal, I bring to you Rusty May and his Classroom Tips for a Bully Free Classroom…

A Bully Free Classroom Starts With You

My first job after completing my school counseling program was teaching
Second Step to 40 classrooms at different schools around my district.
Second Step is a curriculum that uses photos and simple activities to
teach social skills and reduce bullying.

The reason the district leadership created my position was because they’d spent $200,000
to buy Second Step for every classroom in the district and mandated
that it be taught, but the vast majority of teachers never opened the

What I realized was that it doesn’t matter what the program or
curriculum is, if you’re not comfortable doing it, it won’t get done.
There are lots of things you can do to reduce bullying in your classroom
but the key is to find one or two that fit your personality or the kids
will see right through it and you won’t enjoy doing it.

– Morning Meetings: Take time each day to really talk to your kids and
get them to talk to you and to each other. Ask them to check in and tell
you how they’re doing that day so you have a sense of who you need to
keep an eye on. Ask questions about bullying and have people share their
experiences and confront some of the issues as a group.

– Expectations: Take time each day or once a week to remind your class
of what a bully free classroom looks like to you. Take time to talk
about problems and successes you had as a class and areas where you need
to improve.

– Bully Box: Create a Bully Box where kids can put anonymous comments
about what’s happening to them or what they see happening to others.
Because it’s confidential, you get to decide on whether to respond or
not and you’ll know who it is by the handwriting.

– Build A Team: Kids who trust each other don’t hurt each other. Bring
team building activities into your weekly schedule and do things that
get the kids working together. Notice successful interactions and play
them up for all to see.

– Community Service: Shared experiences create healthy environments and
doing things for others builds empathy. Find a way for your class to do a
service activity once a month or every semester. Writing letter to
elderly or having a sister classroom are a few that come to mind.

At the end of the day, it’s all about you. They look to you and will
follow your lead as long as you’re true to yourself and are doing things
that come easily to you and that you believe in.

Thanks Mrs. Olson

1 Comment

  1. Rae

    Great post! Thanks so much for sharing Rusty's videos and website! I've pinned this post and signed up for his newsletter. Hoping to get my district to pay for a subscription for my classroom 🙂

    Mindful Rambles


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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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