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This is Our House: How to Be An Ally Activity

This is Our House

dove-handsIn this activity, suitable for preschool through primary grades, children learn to empathize with how it feels to be bullied and learn ways to be an ally and support the victim.

"This house is mine," declares George as he stakes claim to a large cardboard box and then ruthlessly excludes everybody else because they are girls or small, or wear glasses, have red hair or are twins. The author, Michael Rosen, writes, "Our attitudes about who's okay and who's not get formed when we are very young. I've watch how some children carve out space for themselves using the language of discrimination. This book is a way of looking at that." This lighthearted, funny book helps children see the unfairness in exclusion. Don't be surprised if your young audience doesn't start protesting George's actions all on its own, saying: "That's not fair."after each child is rejected.  This book was an American Bookseller "Pick of the List" selection

Objective: To learn how to be an ally

Grade Level: Preschool, Kindergarten and Primary

Preparation:

Have  markers, glue, paper squares about six inches by six inches, and a long sheet of mural type paper or if possible, a large cardboard box such as a refrigerator or stove comes in. Alternatively build a large box from several sheets of cardboard or a group of cardboard boxes. See other alternatives in the Follow Up below.


Introduction:

Whole group discussionThis is Our House

Opening Questions: Have you ever been bullied by someone? What did it look like? What did it feel like? Set up a large box like in the book or create a play center. Ask: Who should be allowed to play here?

Read the book This is Our House by Michael Rosen.

During reading:

  • After each exclusion, ask: Is George being fair?
  • How do you think the child who couldn't play felt?
  • What should the children do?

After reading:

  • How did the children teach George to be fair?
  • What else could they have done?
  • What could you do if this happened to you?
  • Do you think George will play fairly next time?
  • Is it fair to tell someone they can't play with you?

Introduce the terms bully, victim, and  ally. Make a chart with those three words at the top. Identify the bully in the book then make a list of the things the bully George did. Under victim, make a list of how George's actions made the victim feel. Under ally, make a list of the things other children did to get the bully to stop. Ask the children how they think the allies felt.

After discussing the children's ideas, share the following possible ways they could help someone being bullied. Which ones were used in the book? Which ones seem easy to do? Which ones seem hard to do?

  • Get help if you see someone being bullied.
  • At first: Ignore the bully and ask the victim to walk away with you.
  • If that doesn’t work: Go to a parent or teacher
  • If there are no adults around: Gather your friends and stay close to the bullied person. Say "This is our friend."
  • If the bully becomes violent: Yell, scream, attract the attention of as many people as you can and move away.
  • If it is too dangerous: Stay away but watch what happens closely so you can be a good witness. Remember names, the place, the time and what the bully said.

Pass out the squares of paper, markers, and crayons.


DIRECTIONS

On your square write one thing you can do to stop bullying and draw a picture showing how you will do it (Preschoolers can just draw a picture). Join your square with others to create an Anti-Bully Quilt by gluing it to the mural paper. Hang the mural in a prominent place in the classroom. [If a box is available, cut out doors and windows to create a "House" then have them glue the squares to the box.]


Follow up:

With the children create a set of rules for using the "House" or if no box is available, rules for using the play area, learning center, the playground, or even a tent so that no one will be bullied. You may also want to read Vivian Paley's You Can't Say You Can't Play and consider some of her ideas for developing positive play experiences.

This is our house in a tent


Memories can be powerful? Do you remember being excluded or bullied as a young child?

We love getting your feedback and comments.

Teach Peace Now
Teach Peace Now
We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.

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