Cool Things to Do If a Bully’s Bugging You: 50 Classroom Activities to Help Elementary Students

Catherine DePino. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, 113 pp.

Bullying prevention is a relevant topic in elementary schools that deserves much more than discussion. It requires student engagement, strategies, and the opportunity to practice what to do and say if a student is being bullied. The author of Cool Things to Do If a Bully’s Bugging You: 50 Classroom Activities to Help Elementary Students goes one step further and also explores how students can “transfer the knowledge about positive things to do to prevent and deal with bullying to all areas of their lives.”

The book’s format is very resourceful in that each of the 50 classroom activities is outlined for whole, small, and individual group instruction. Thus, the activities are quite flexible based on the need of the student, educator, and particular situation at hand.

In addition to promoting citizenship and character education, the activities reinforce language arts (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) and social studies curricular standards. Therefore, an educator could integrate an activity into a lesson plan to support a curricular need while also addressing a bullying concern. Another helpful formatting tool is the “Cool Quiz” at the end of each chapter, which is designed to assess understanding of the topic and to lead further discussion.

The activities in Cool Things to Do present a variety of opportunities for students to explore how to react to a bully, such as having rehearsed and prepared responses, knowing how and when to ask for help, and using body language when feeling uncomfortable or threatened. The book also explores how to creatively work through the impact of bullying experiences. For example, creating a comic strip where the superhero defeats a bully can provide students with a feeling of empowerment.

This book is a helpful resource that can be used in a variety of ways at the elementary level. Principals, counselors, classroom teachers, and parents will appreciate the helpful strategies presented. Unfortunately, bullying is a topic that school personnel must be prepared to address swiftly. This book supplies readers with a multitude of developmentally appropriate activities to provide assistance and reinforce the victim’s self-worth.

Reviewed by Julie Bloss, principal of Grove Early Childhood Center in Grove, Oklahoma.

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