In a previous post, Weird!- A Bulling Victim’s Perspective, I wrote about one book from The Weird Series by Erin Frankel. The book Weird! is written from the perspective of the victim in a bullying situation. Today, I’ll be focusing on the second book in the series: Dare! This book is written from the bystander’s point of view. Like before, this school counseling lesson was used with my fourth grade friends.
One thing I really love about the series is the parallel story line. The main character, Jayla, is often seen standing nearby in the first book. In Dare!, we are given the opportunity to learn more about what Jayla was really thinking when she saw and heard Sam bullying Louisa. We even discover that Jayla was so scared that when Sam “dared” her to say or do mean things to Louisa- she would. She doesn’t like feeling used and thinks about some of the things she wants to say to Sam. Readers are reminded of different episodes in the first book, but this time they’re from Jayla’s perspective. She soon realizes that doing nothing is unfair to Louisa and to herself. She decides to make her own “dare” by standing up for Louisa even though she is scared. She prepared herself with responses to give just in case Sam lashed out at her for saying how she really felt.
When Louisa went back to being herself, she acted like she didn’t care if Sam called her weird. Jayla acted like she wasn’t scared along with some other bystanders. Like Louisa, she noticed that Sam began to leave her alone.
Like the first book, Dare! has notes from the main character after the story. Jayla has the Courage Club. Her activities include a discussion of feelings. Jayla felt bad when she just stood by and did nothing. For this activity, the students think of words other than “bad” to describe how they might feel in a bullying situation. There are a few sentences for students to complete with another word for bad. Jayla felt good when she finally stood up for Louisa. Students now think of words other than “good” to fill the blanks in a few sentences. There is also a brief reminder about the difference between telling and tattling. I used these activities for our discussion after reading the book.
The Courage Club also includes a discussion about being prepared to stick up for someone who is being bullied. I created this activity sheet to use with my fourth graders to close out the lesson. In order to be prepared, the students wrote statements they can make or actions they can take when they see or hear someone being bullied. The students were able to share their ideas with their classmates before we concluded the lesson.
Click the picture below to print a copy of the activity sheet.
Louisa had her polka dots which represented being who you are- Never lose your polka dots. In Dare!, Jayla has stars. The author reminds students- “…your brightest star shines from within.” Hmmm, I see hearts on Sam’s shirt at the end of this book… Tune in later for a post about the book Tough! to learn more!
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