Author: Peggy Moss
Summary: A girl witnesses some children being ignored, teased and bullied at school. Although she watches these incidents, she never does these things herself. When one day she becomes the target of teasing, she realizes that being a silent bystander isn’t enough.
WITS LEADerS Connection: Act, Seek help
- Select your province to see learning outcomes for this lesson.
- The book has a simple title: Say Something. When is it easy to say something? With friends and family, when playing a game. When is it hard to say something? In front of a large group, in front of adults, when we are afraid.
- How do you feel when you are brave or confident? Energetic, positive, happy. How do you feel when you are afraid? Heart races, face flushes, stomach hurts.
- Read the quotation on the first page of the book: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” Discuss the following questions:
- What does this quote mean to you?
- How does a mosquito make a difference? What other small things can have an impact? Splinters, bee’s stingers, raindrops.
- Why do you think the book starts with a quote?
QUESTIONS DURING THE READING
- Write the statements below on chart paper or project them onto a whiteboard. During the reading, pause after each scenario and ask students to share observations about the main character according to each of the statement headings:
- What she sees…
- What she thinks…
- What she feels…
- What she says…
- What she does…
- At the beginning of the book, the storyteller talks about students in her school who get “picked on all the time.” Why do you think these students get picked on? How do you think they feel? What do you think the other children are feeling while this happening?
- Why might someone ignore or just watch teasing or bullying take place without saying something?
- The girl acts and reacts in several different ways in response to what she sees and feels. What actions are helpful in the story? What actions are not? Helpful actions: seeking help from the big brother, sitting next to the girl who always sits alone. Non-helpful actions: always watching and walking on the other side of the hallway.
- When the other children laugh at her, the storyteller wishes she could disappear. Why do you think she felt like disappearing?
- How does the storyteller feel when the children at the next table just watch her getting teased even though she believes they feel sorry for her?
- When the storyteller talks with her brother she is trying to seek help. He suggests that the kids at the next table in the lunchroom “didn’t do anything” to make her mad.
- Do you agree?
- What other actions would have been more helpful while she was being teased?
- What could the brother do to help his sister?
- After this event the storyteller decides to sit next to the girl who “always sits alone.” Why? What changes do you predict for the storyteller now that she has chosen a helpful action?
- “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.” After reading the story what does this quote mean to you now?
1. SAY SOMETHING
- Read aloud the strategies at the back of the book that suggest what to say when you see someone being teased and then create a t-chart with two headings:
Brainstorm strategies with students to fill in the chart, using the following questions:
- Can you recall a situation when someone was being bullied or teased?
- What could you try saying or doing in order to be a helpful bystander?
2. BULLY CIRCLE POSTER
Show the Bully Circle Poster to your students and then review the illustrations of Say Something to determine who played each role identified on the poster.
Discuss the common roles children play in a bullying incident and how people can sometimes intentionally change roles, as was seen with the main character in this book.
3. THE BYSTANDER QUIZ
Project the Bystander Quiz onto a white board and poll students for their responses to the questions.
Share the correct responses to the quiz with your students and discuss the important role bystanders can play as witnesses to teasing or bullying.
- Distribute the See-Feel-Act handout to students and ask them to think of times when they have seen someone ignored or teased.
- Ask students to fill in the handout by describing what they saw, how it made them feel and how they could act in a helpful way.
5. TAKE A STAND
- Distribute a blank sheet of paper to students and ask them to trace an outline of their foot onto the paper.
- Next, ask students to describe with words or pictures how they can “take a stand” when they witness teasing or bullying.
6. THE OTHER PERSON’S SHOES
- Distribute a blank sheet of paper to each student in your class and ask them to trace an outline of their foot and fill it with words or pictures describing a situation in which someone was ignored or teased.
- Assemble students in groups of four and have them take turns describing the scenario in their foot outline. Once everyone has had a chance to speak, ask students to pass their paper to each member of their group. The group members should write actions or strategies outside the outline that would be helpful in the described scenario.
- Post the feet on a bulletin board as a visual reminder of helpful actions.
7. SEE SOMETHING? SAY SOMETHING!
- Distribute the See Something? Say Something! handout to students and ask them to cut out the rectangle according to the symbols. Next, have them fold down the flaps along the fold line.
- Ask students to write a phrase on each flap, beginning with “When I see…” E.g. When I see someone being ignored..
- Next, ask students to lift each flap and write actions that would be helpful in the described scenario underneath it. Once complete, students will be able to read the scenarios described, lift the scenario’s corresponding flap and find helpful actions underneath it. See illustration below.