Tuesday, November 29, 2011

learning from others

One piece of advice that new teachers often get is to observe master teachers and learn from them. This is good advice! You've been in your classroom for a few months now, and you have a routine down. Now might be the time to work with your principal to secure a substitute and spend some time in your colleagues' classrooms. Maybe you'd like to observe a teacher at your grade level or in your department. Or maybe you've heard such great things about the innovative teaching of someone way on the other side of the building. Many principals are very amenable to facilitating a day for new teachers to observe the most effective teachers in the building. But even if you can't schedule an entire day away from your classroom, perhaps you can work ahead to use your prep time a few days to observe.

Observing another teacher's class can provide you a chance to see how other teachers run their classroom, and provide an opportunity for you to reflect on your own. More than just meeting and talking with your grade level or department colleagues, you get to see them in action. It can be wonderful professional development for you. I know I learn something every time I'm in a teacher's classroom. It can be most helpful if you go in with some sort of frame for the observation - are you looking for classroom management ideas? How the teacher works with small groups? Maybe transitions are a tricky time for you and you want to observe how other teachers deal with transitions. Are you looking for ideas to work with EL students? Wait time? Questioning and/or discussion techniques? There are lots of things you can consider in prep for an observation. And though not necessary, a framing question for your observation may help you come away with more specific take-aways.

And yes, you did lots of observing during your practica and student teaching. However, this is an opportunity to observe teaching knowing the exact context of your classroom. This will make observations more focused and helpful, because you can have in mind all of your students and your content and your instructional practices as you observe. Plus, it can help you understand your school community better - when you see more teachers in action, you better understand the culture of the school,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MN American Indian Texts, Part 2

For this second installment of information on Native American texts to incorporate into ELA classrooms (or social studies, for that matter), we're focused on specific texts. Some of the resources from the previous post also include text suggestions, but here we're focused specifically on texts to use with students. So...

The MN Historical Society is a great site in general, and also has some resources available.

Braided Lives: An Anthology of Multicultural American Writing does not just include texts by and about MN Native Americans, but has some wonderful stories and poems to incorporate.

NCTE has a resource for 7-12 teachers, Roots and Branches: A Resource of Native American Literature, focused on using Native American Literature effectively.

Lessons from Turtle Island: Native Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms, by Guy Jones and Sally Moomaw is a resource for primary teachers.

University of Illinois Assistant Professor Debbie Reese maintains a blog focusing on American Indians in children's literature. Though her resources are not necessarily particular to MN American Indian groups (she's tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo in New Mexico), there are some great book and resource lists at her site. There are some additional resources listed on the University of Illinois website for Education and Social Science Library.

Noted author Joseph Bruchac's website has links to selected poems written and read by the author. He has many short stories and books that are about Minnesota American Indian populations, though not all fit.  

The Minnesota Humanities Center has many resources available on this topic. Again, several of these texts are not specific to MN Native Americans. But there are some good resources.

The MN Indian Education site on MDE has some curriculum frameworks and lesson plan ideas that might be helpful.

Birchbark Books has some great texts available in store and online.

Some additional text ideas are below. Note that many of the texts listed in Picture Books would be appropriate for older readers, particularly the texts of selected poems and stories.

Picture Books:
  • All the Stars in the Sky: Native Stories from the Heavens, by C.J. Taylor
  • Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story, by S.D. Nelson
  • Boozhoo: Come Play with Us, by Fond du Lac Headstart
  • The Boy & His Mud, by Paul Goble
  • Dance in a Buffalo Skull, by Zitkala-Sa
  • Do All Indians Live in Tipis? by the National Museum of the American Indian
  • Enduring Wisdom: Sayings From Native Americans, selected by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
  • Fearless John - The Legend of John Beargrease, by Kelly Emerling Rauzi
  • The Gift Horse: A Lakota Story, by S.D. Nelson
  • The Good Path: Ojibwe Learning and Activity Book for Kids, by Thomas Peacock
  • Hiawatha and Megissogwon, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking, by Laura Waterman Wittstock
  • Lakota Sioux Children and Elders Talk Together, by E. Barrie Kavasch
  • Lana's Lakota Moons, by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
  • The Legend of the Lady Slipper, by Lise Lunge-Larsen
  • The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway, by Edward Benton-Banai
  • A Native American Thought of It: Amazing Inventions and Innovations, by Rocky Landon
  • The Ojibwe, by Michelle Levin
  • Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering, by Gordon Regguinti
  • Shinebiss: An Ojibwe Legend, by Nancy Van Laan
  • Shota and the Star Quilt, by Margaret Bateson-Hill
  • The Star People: A Lakota Story, by S.D. Nelson
  • Taku Wadaka He? (What Do You See?) by Joanne Zacharias
  • When the Rain Sings: Poems by Young Native Americans, edited by the National Museum of the American Indian
Young Adult Books:
  • The Birchbark House (and series), by Louise Erdrich
  • From the Deep Woods to Civilization, by Charles Eastman
  • Growing Up Native American: Stories of Oppression and Survival, of Heritage Denied and Reclaimed, edited by Patricia Riley
  • The Journey of Crazy Horse, by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • My Indian Boyhood, by Luther Standing Bear
  • Night Flying Woman, by Ignatia Broker
  • North Country: The Making of Minnesota, by Mary Lethert Wingerd

Here are some Ojibwe Teaching Resources, Distributed to teachers attending the Minnesota Writing Project 2011 Fall Reunion Workshop, 9/24/2011. All credit to the list below goes to the MWP. Some of these are repeats from the above list, but include annotation information. You can find additional resources at the MWP page for the Fall Workshop dedicated to MN American Indian texts.

Baraga, Frederic. A Dictionary of the Ojibway Language. (St. Paul, Borealis Books) Compiled nearly 150 years ago, this dictionary remains the most comprehensive and accurate lexicon available of the Ojibway language. This edition features a new foreword by John D. Nichols.
Bergstrom, Amy, Linda Miller Cleary and Thomas D. Peacock. The Seventh Generation: Native Students Speak about Finding the Good Path. (Charleston,W.V., ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, 2003). From back cover:  In this book, written especially for today’s Native youth, the authors share what they learned from these remarkable young people through their stories of success and failure. Interspersed throughout the book are short fictional “teaching stories” meant to illustrate common dilemmas faced by Native youth and the characters’ responses to them. Discussion questions are included to help youth use the stories as starting points for voicing their own concerns and experiences and for considering how they, too, might find the Good Path.
Broker, Ignatia. Night Flying Woman: An Ojibway Narrative. (St. Paul, Borealis Books, 1983).  With the art of a practiced storyteller, Ignatia Broker recounts the life of her great-great-grandmother, Night Flying Woman, who was born in the mid-19th century and lived during a chaotic time of enormous change, uprootings, and loss for the Minnesota Ojibway. But this story also tells of her people's great strength and continuity.
Densmore, Frances. Chippewa Customs. (St. Paul, Borealis Books, 1979).  This is an authoritative source for the tribal history, customs, legends, traditions, art, music, economy, and leisure activities of the Ojibwe people. It includes a new introduction by Nina Marchetti Archabal.
Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House. (New York: Hyperion Paperbacks for Children, 1999). This beloved National Book Award finalist tells the story of a young Ojibwe girl living on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.
Frances Densmore and Brenda J. Child. Strength of the Earth: The Classic Guide to Ojibwe Uses of Native Plants. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2006). From a pioneering ethnographer, an invaluable recording of how early-twentieth-century Ojibwe women used wild plants in their everyday lives.
Grover, Linda Legarde. The Dance Boots. Athens, GA. University of Georgia Press. 2010. Winner of Flannery O’ Connor Award for Short Fiction 2010. From inside cover: With its attention to the Ojibwe language, customs, and history, this unique collection of riveting stories illuminates the very nature of storytelling. The Dance Boots narrates a century’s progression of Native Americans making choices and compromises, often dictated by a white majority, as they try to balance survival, tribal traditions, and obligations to future generations.
Kenney, Dave. Northern Lights: The Stories of Minnesota’s Past. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2003). Read the stories of Minnesota's past through lively text and colorful illustrations of artifacts from the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. Northern Lights provides an entertaining overview of Minnesota history that is stimulating reading for all ages. Written at a sixth-grade level, Northern Lights is one of the few state history texts created by a historical society. In addition to this Student Edition, an Annotated Teacher’s Edition and Classroom Resources workbook are also available.
Loew, Patty. Native People of Wisconsin. (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 2003). Native People of Wisconsin, the fifth text in the New Badger History series for upper elementary and middle school students, focuses on the Indian Nations in the state: the Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Ojibwe, Oneida, Mohican Nation, Stockbridge-Munsee Band, and the Brothertown Indians. Patty Loew has followed the same structure she used in "Indian Nations of Wisconsin", her book for general audiences, in which she provided chapters on Early History and European Arrivals, then devoted the remaining chapters to each of the Indian Nations in Wisconsin today.
McNally, Michael D. Ojibwe Singers: Hymns, Grief, and a Native Culture in Motion. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2009) Author Michael McNally considers the cultural processes through which Native American peoples have made room for their cultural identity within the confines of colonialism.
Nichols, John and Earl Nyholm.  A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe  ( Minneapolis, Mn. University of Minnesota Press, 1995). The most up-to-date resource for those interested in the linguistic and cultural heritage of the Anishinaabe, A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe contains more than 7,000 of the most frequently used Ojibwe words. Presented in Ojibwe-English and English-Ojibwe sections, this dictionary spells words to reflect their actual pronunciation with a direct match between the letters used and the speech sounds of Ojibwe. It contains many ancient words and meanings as well as language added in the twentieth century. The most widely used modern standard writing system for Ojibwe is used throughout, and some of the key objects of Ojibwe life are authentically illustrated by coauthor and artist Earl Nyholm … an essential reference for all students of Ojibwe culture, history, language, and literature.
Peacock, Thomas and Marlene Wisuri, The Four Hills of Life: Ojibwe Wisdom. (Afton, MN: Afton Press, 2006). From cover:  The Four Hills of Life is a wise and beautiful story about the path we walk through the seasons of life, from springtime of youth through the winter of old age. The hills we climb along the way are the challenges we face and the responsibilities we accept. The path is not always wasy; some of us lose our way. We question the meaning of life. But when we walk the Good Path – when we commit to values and fulfill our goals – the meaning of life finds us. Through engaging text, illustrations, and activities designed especially for kids, The Four Hills of Life shows how everything in creation follows this path in the great circle of life. It is a timeless Ojibwe teaching for all young readers.
Peacock, Thomas and Marlene Wisuri, The Good Path: Ojibwe Learning and Activity Book for Kids. (Afton, MN: Afton Press, 2002). Children of all cultures journey through time with the Ojibwe people as their guide to the Good Path and its nine universal lessons of courage, cooperation, and honor. Through traditional native tales, hear about Grandmother Moon, the mysterious Megis shell, and the souls of plants and animals. Through Ojibwe history, learn how trading posts, treaties, and warfare affected Native Americans. Through activities designed especially for children, discover fun ways to follow the Good Path's timeless wisdom every day.
Peacock, Thomas and Marlene Wisuri. To Be Free: Understanding and Eliminating Racism. (Afton, MN: Afton Press, 2010). Imagine if we were free of racism--free from the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual toll that it takes on both racists and those subjected to racism. Imagine to be free . Many people of color deal with the reality of racism in all its forms on a daily basis--in stores, in schools, at work, on the bus, while watching television, listening to music, browsing the Internet, or reading magazines and newspapers. They can't pretend it go away because it is always there in all its ugliness before them. What if, however, we decided to acknowledge racism and talk about ways of preventing, reducing, and alleviating it? And what if we began the discussion among young people, before they solidify their beliefs about people and other races? 'To Be Free' is written to help facilitate that discussion.
Peacock, Thomas and Marlene Wisuri. Ojibwe: Wasa-Inaabidaa: We Look in All Direction. (Afton, MN: Afton Press, 2002). “A story of land-based cultures in Indian Country. It is also an amazing and wondrous set of stories told by those who dearly love their history and peoples – a great gift to us all: the scattered and dispersed leaves of our stories brought together with this generation’s faces and living words” – Winona LaDuke from back cover.
Truer, Anton, et al.  Awesiinyensag - dibaajimowinan ji-gikinoo'amaageng.  (Minneapolis, Mn. Wiigwaas Press, 2011). A monolingual Ojibwe young reader named Minnesota’s Best Read for 2011 by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, Minnesota’s official selection to represent all publications in the state for 2011. Awesiinyensag presents original stories, written in Anishinaabemowin, that delight readers and language learners with the antics of animals who playfully deal with situations familiar to children in all cultures. Suitable for all ages, this book can be read aloud, assigned to classes, shared at language tables, gifted to elders, and enjoyed by those curious about the language and all who love Anishinaabemowin. Authored by a team of twelve and richly illustrated by Ojibwe artist Wesley Ballinger, Awesiinyensag will be the first in a series created to encourage learning Anishinaabemowin, the language of Ojibwe people. 
Truer, Anton. Ojibwe in Minnesota. St. Paul, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2010. From back cover: Anton Truer traces thousands of years of the complicated history of the Ojibwe people – their economy, culture, and clan system and how these have changed throughout time, perhaps most dramatically with the arrival of Europeans into Minnesota territory.
Treuer, Anton, Ed. Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales and Oral Histories (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001) Fifty-seven Ojibwe Indian tales collected from Anishinaabe elders, reproduced in Ojibwe and in English translation.
Vennum, Thomas. The Ojibwa Dance Drum: Its History and Construction. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2009). Initially published in 1982 in the Smithsonian Folklife Series, Thomas Vennum's The Ojibwa Dance Drum is widely recognized as a significant ethnography of woodland Indians." This edition features an afterword by Rick St. Germaine.
Vennum, Thomas, Jr. Wild Rice and the Ojibway People. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1988). Examines in detail the technology of harvesting and processing the grain, the important place of wild rice in Ojibway ceremony and legend, including the rich social life of the traditional rice camps, and the volatile issues of treaty rights.
Vizenor, Gerald. The Everlasting Sky: Voices of the Anishinabe People. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2000). Vizenor's classic first book provides a unique view of reservation life in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the early days of the American Indian Movement.
Vizenor, Gerald. Summer in the Spring: Anishinaabe Lyric Poems and Stories, New Edition. (Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993). This anthology, illustrated with tribal pictomyths and helpfully annotated, includes translations and a glossary of the Anishinaabe words in which the poems and stories originally were spoken.
Walker, Niki, Life in an Anishinabe Camp. (New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2003) Beautiful artwork illuminates the daily lives of the Anishinabe, or 'first people', also known as the Chippewa or Ojibwa. Living in the Western Great Lakes region, the Anishinabe adapted to each season by changing camp locations to better suit the changing weather. Text describes clan life, different camps for different seasons, how wigwams and other dwellings were built, hunting, clothing, celebrations, and the roles of men and women.
Warren, William W. History of the Ojibway People: Second Edition. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2009). William Warren's History of the Ojibway People, written in 1852 and first published in 1885, is perhaps the most important history of the Ojibway (Chippewa) ever written. The edited, annotated second edition contains an introduction by Theresa Schenck.
White, Bruce. We are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2009). A fascinating history of the Ojibwe people at home in the Minnesota landscape through 1950-as told through more than 200 vivid photographs. This book was a winner of the 2008 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Leadership in History Awards.

More to come in the future, but I hope this gives you some ideas to start. Leave a comment if you know of other fantastic resources about or by Minnesota American Indians!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

MN American Indian texts, Part 1

Minnesota Teachers are really interested right now in resources available to meet the ELA standards around texts written by and about Minnesota American Indians. Though there have previously been some standards relating to MN American Indian texts, it has not been as explicit as it is now. Because schools need to be meeting the new standards next academic year, teachers are working on compiling resources now to begin making shifts in their curriculum to match the new standards. These standards relate mostly to grades 4 and 6-12.

Here are the specific standards at those grade levels:

Grade 4:
Standard Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures, including American Indian. 
Standard Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account, including those by or about Minnesota American Indians, of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Grade 6: 

Standard Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres including those by and about Minnesota American Indians (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics. 
Standard Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events, including events related to Minnesota American Indians, with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

Grade 7:

Standard Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal, including those in stories, poems, and historical novels of Minnesota American Indians, of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history. 
Standard Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic including topics about Minnesota American Indians; shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts. 
Standard    Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
a.      Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal, including those in stories, poems, and historical novels of Minnesota American Indians, of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history”).

Grade 8:
Standard Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, including stories, poems, and historical novels of Minnesota American Indians, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new. 
Standard Analyze a case in which two or more texts, including one text by or about Minnesota American Indians or other diverse cultures, provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.

Grades 9-10: Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare or how a Minnesota American Indian author uses oral tradition to create works of literature).

Grades 11-12: Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including American Indian and other diverse cultures’ texts and how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics. 

Right now, the MN Reading Association is planning a symposium for K-12 teachers around this topic, to be held at Tartan High School in Oakdale on Saturday, Feb 18th. The workshops are intended to provide resources for teachers to meet these standards. Registration is not yet opened, but I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, here are some resources for you as you begin looking at incorporating more MN American Indian texts into your curriculum. This post will mostly contain resources for your own professional development in this area, though some are texts/videos/exhibits you can certainly share with students.

To build your own background knowledge on the Minnesota American Indian Tribes, you can visit Minnesota North Star's page compiling the websites for each of the seven Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) reservations and the four Dakota (Sioux) communities. Additional information can be found on the State Indian Affairs website.

The Minnesota Humanities Center is a terrific resource. The exhibit Why Treaties Matter, and the companion website Treaties Matter, is a joint project between the MN Humanities Center, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, and is designed to provide context to the treaties between the US government and the Dakota and Ojibwe Indian Nations. Also on the Center site are videos recording stories of MN Dakota and Ojibwe people about how MN statehood affected their homes, their families, and their future. Additional videos of community members speaking about our Minnesota Narrative can be found here. Resources from past workshops centered on MN American Indians sponsored by the Minnesota Humanities Center are also available,

The Bdote Memory Map on the Minnesota Humanities Center site provides information about Dakota history and the Dakota people. More information about this can be found here.

The following resources were on a handout from the Minnesota Writing Project Fall Workshop, held Sept. 24, 2011.
  • MNVideoVault  (Twin Cities Public Television) The MN Video Vault is a project of Twin Cities Public Television. The Vault contains hundreds of programs from the TPT archives: classic interviews and performances from Nighttimes Variety, Newsnight Minnesota and Almanac as well as a broad cross-section of TPT documentaries. All material in the MN Video Vault is fully searchable. Programs have been broken into segments and tagged with key information to make specific videos easy to locate. In addition, all of the material is closed-captioned and, through advanced search functions, these captions can be searched to locate any word spoken within a program. Finally, many of the video segments will be tagged to relevant Minnesota State Academic Standard benchmarks, to facilitate classroom use. www.mnvideovault.org
  • Surrounded by Beauty Curriculum (Minneapolis Institute of the Arts) This curriculum explores the art of daily life created by American Indian people throughout the United States. Sections include Northeast Woodlands, Mississippi Valley, Plains, Southwest, and Northwest Coast. Students explore history, quotations, photos, and objects that are both functional and beautiful. www.artsmia.org/surrounded-by-beauty/
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.This site provides history, tribal information, special events, government affairs communications, and education materials. FAQs on Ojibwe culture are answered with thoughtful stories from Mille Lacs Band Members.www.millelacsojibwe.org
  • Waasa-Inaabidaa: We Look in All Directions, (Duluth, MN: PBS Eight, WDSE-TV, 2002). This site accompanyies the six-part historical documentary series for public television featuring the history and culture of the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes. Classroom resources include wigwam “storytelling,” community outreach, bibliography/resources, chat room, and glossary.www.ojibwe.org
  • We Shall Remain. (Public Broadcasting System.) This website accompanies the five-part series for public television shows how Native people valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their cultures. We Shall Remain represents an unprecedented collaboration between Native and non-Native filmmakers and involves Native advisors and scholars at all levels of the project. This multimedia site includes behind-the-scenes footage, a section for Native Americans to tell their own video stories, and a teacher’s guide. www.pbs.org/weshallremain
  • Album. (Duluth, MN: PBS Eight, WDSE-TV) This public-television series of historical documentaries celebrates the Lake Superior region’s heritage and history—chronicling the events and people who have shaped this place. www.wdse.org/albumshows.htm
The next post will include specific titles and lists of books as you work with your team, schools, and districts to integrate more texts by and about Minnesota American Indians into your curriculum. More to come...

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Have you visited Thinkfinity yet?

Verizon has partnered with National Geographic Education, AAAS Science Links, Econ Ed Link, Read Write Think, Arts Edge, Smithsonian History Explorer, NCTM Illumination, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Wonderopolis to create a hub of lesson plan ideas, blogs, student interactives, and professional development opportunities. As you can see, the partners in this project are all really top organizations.

One of the greatest parts of the website is that you can search for lesson plans by grade level, subject area, and even specify the partner websites to search, and Thinkfinity does the searching for you.  There is a specific link to 21st Century Skills lessons and activities. I also like the "Today in History" calendar.

Also, you can search MN specific standards to see what lessons and activities support particular standards at each grade level.

In the time I've played with the site, I've been impressed with what comes up. You can sign up to receive their newsletter highlighting different aspects of the resource and updates to the site. You can follow Thinkfinity on twitter if you're so inclined.

Check it out!

Monday, November 7, 2011

what about the bully?

Our second post about bullying relates to the bully. A reader commented on the last post that there are lots of resources for working with victims of bullies and for bullying prevention programs, but it can be harder to know how to work with the bully in these situations.  I've been working on this post for over a week, and still find myself struggling to locate resources to help teachers learn how to handle the bully in a bullying situation. So here's a first attempt, with more to come I'm certain!

Just last week an article was published regarding some new federal regulations about bullying, specifically to add language to the ESEA Act to protect students from bullying and harassment in all schools and districts, and more explicitly protect LGBT students. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require establishing codes of conduct to prohibit bullying for any reason. This is a hot topic, indeed, and as teachers, we need to be able to identify and work with bullies, not just victims.
Children who bully:
  • May witness physical and verbal violence or aggression at home. They have a positive view of this behavior, and they act aggressively toward other people, including adults.
  • May hit or push other children.
  • Are often physically strong.
  • May or may not be popular with other children around their same age.
  • Have trouble following rules.
  • Show little concern for the feelings of others.
But what can you do when you identify a bully? It's important to immediately intervene, consistently enforcing the consequences of the classroom and school. Once bullying has been reported, it is crucial that the report be taken seriously. It works best to have serious talks with the bully and victim(s) separately to sort out the situation. With the bully, talk with them to identify the root of the bullying, though it is important to note that the bully may deny any wrong-doing. It is likely that the bully feels powerless somewhere in his/her life, and identification of that situation may help in problem-solving the bullying.

When talking with the bully, it is important to reiterate any class and school policies related to bullying and communicate with parents early in the situation, and work together to develop academic and nonacademic positive behavior supports at school and home. Help students see their shared responsibility for the classroom and school culture, and help students individually develop skills around communication, friendship and peer relationships, and management of emotions. It is important to work over time with the bully to acknowledge what was wrong and recognize the consequences of his/her actions. Developing relationships with caring adults can really help in educating bullies about the consequences of their behavior.

None of this is revolutionary advice. I'm still working on compiling more resources for you. In the mean time, check out these resources and links for more info.
PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center
and the off-shoots, Teens Against Bullying and Kids Against Bullying
Free Spirit Press publishes lots of texts around bullying and conflict resolution
Teaching Tolerance also provides resources and classroom activities for teachers
Stop Bullying.gov is the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Resources center for bullying prevention

Here are some picturebooks and novels that deal with bullying that might make for interesting read alouds or independent reading for older students as another way into this important topic.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, written by Patty Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow 
The Ant Bully, written and illustrated by John Nickle
Chrysanthemum, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Hooway for Wodney Wat, written by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
The Hundred Dresses, written by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
The Ugly Duckling, adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Mr. Lincoln's Way, written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
Don't Laugh at Me, written by Glin Dibley, illustrated by Alan Shamblin
Say Something, written by Peggy Moss, illustrated by Lea Lyon
Goggles, written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
King of the Playground, written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor illustrated by Nola Langner Malone
Pinduli, written and illustrated by Janell Cannon
When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry, written and illustrated by Molly Bang (which is less about bullying, but could help in conversations about how to deal with anger)

Crash, by Jerry Spinelli
Jake Drake, Bully Buster, by Andrew Clements
The Misfits, by James Howe
Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully, by James Roy
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
Dog Sense, by Sneed B. Collard
The Meanest Doll in the World, by Ann M. Martin
Blubber, by Judy Blume
Schooled, by Gordon Korman
Feathers, by Jacqueline Woodson
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, by Kimberly Willis Holt
The Truth About Truman School, by Dori Hillestad Butler
This is What I Did, by Ann Dee Ellis
Bullyville, by Francine Prose
Bystander, by James Preller

Feinberg, T. (2003). Bullying prevention and intervention. Principal Leadership, 4(1).
Lyznicki J, et al. (2004). Childhood bullying: Implications for physicians. American Family Physicians, 70(9): 1723-1728.