Bullies & Friends
The Lesson Plan
Themes: Bullying, Friendships, Problem-solving
Subjects: Language Arts, Visual Arts
Students will be able to:
- identify and discuss elements of the story
- make and confirm predictions
- discuss bullying and chart ways to stop bullies
- discuss new vocabulary words
- discuss friendship
- identify a special place
- chart paper and markers
- Goggles Response Sheet for each student
- Goggles Art Project: prepare supplies to make eyeglasses: paper or egg-carton
- Take a picture walk, stopping before the page on which Peter is punched.
- predictions of what will happen in the story.
- the setting and characters: are they familiar from other Keats books?
- the words goggles, gasped, hideout, bully. Demonstrate a gasp, then ask the students to show what a gasp looks like and sounds like. Let them know that you will ask them to identify the bullies after reading the story.
- how good readers can see and hear in their heads what the words in the story are describing.
- Stop several times to discuss whether the students’ story predictions were correct.
- When Archie gasps, ask the students to remember what a gasp looks and sounds like.
- After reading about the older boy punching Peter, have the students make new predictions.
- Discuss the problem the characters have and how they could solve it.
- Discuss how the characters solved their problem.
- Why was it smarter for Peter and Archie to use their brains instead of their fists?
- Who were the bullies? How did the author make it clear they were bullies? What did the bullies do?
- Ask the students to recall the sequence of events. Record the events on chart paper.
- On separate chart paper, make a list of things the characters could have done to stop the bullies. Lead the discussion carefully into the importance of out-thinking a bully and not fighting him.
- Do girls ever act like bullies? Do they behave differently than boys?
- What could you say to a friend if you feel left out or if they are not treating you nicely?
- Which adult should you talk to if you need help with a bully or even a friend who is not being nice?
- Introduce the subject of safe places.
- Why did Peter and Archie run home? Did they felt safe at home? Ask: Do you have a special place in your house that you like to go to when you want to feel safe?
- Distribute the Goggles Response Sheet. Have the students draw a picture of their favorite place at home. Encourage kindergartners to attempt to label the picture; encourage first-graders to write two full sentences to describe the picture.
- Distribute the art materials. Students make and decorate their own pair of “goggles.”
- When they are finished decorating, they can do a goggles parade around the room. Then they sit in a circle and talk about their favorite place or hideout at home or in their neighborhood.
Why We Like It
- The lesson plan has clear objectives: It involves the children in thinking about bullying and how to deal with bullies while teaching important reading and interpersonal skills. I love the way that friendship is an important discussion topic. I added some questions to include girls and the particular ways they can bully.
- The Goggles Response Sheet is a great way for children to respond in writing. The sheets can be compiled into a class book titled “My Favorite Place” or “A Place I Feel Safe.”
- The serious lesson ends on a lighter note, with an opportunity for the children to be creative and make their work unique. Ezra would have loved it!
This lesson plan can be used independently or included in the schedule of lessons and activities developed by the PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) for National Bullying Prevention Month. PACER offers educator toolkits and action plans to bring its anti-bullying message in the classroom.
- October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and this lesson, adapted from “Lesson Plans for Goggles by Ezra Jack Keats” (Easy Literacy), lets children explore the complex subject and discuss ways to handle the problem.
- Then, get out the sparkles! Everyone makes and decorates their own pair of goggles—a very Keatsian touch.