Confronting a Bully

Materials and Preparation

Curriculum Provided Materials:

  • For Teacher Use:
    • One copy of “Student Friendly Objectives”
    • One set of “Bullying, Teasing, and Harassment” example cards from Lesson 5
    • One set of “Bullying” signs
  • For Student Use:
    • Student poster (created in Lesson 1)
    • One Exit Ticket

Teacher Materials:

  • Dry erase board and markers
  • Document camera

Preparation Notes:

  • Print and display “Student Friendly Objectives”
  • Print, cut, and laminate two sets of “Bullying” signs.
    • For the first set: laminate together so the front reads STOP and the back lists the three steps
    • For the second set: laminate separately so that both can be displayed and read by students simultaneously
  • If student(s) use(s) a communication device, pre-program the word STOP, or another simple, clear phrase that can be used to stand up to a bully. 
  • Print one Exit Ticket for each student

Supplemental Materials:

  • N/A

NOTE: This lesson calls for teachers to role-play a bullying experience. Think about how your students react when you and co-teachers do role-plays. Take extra steps you think you may need (pre-class conversations, simple social-stories, etc.) to make sure students are clear that you are demonstrating a skill and not actually being a bully.

Lesson Information

Lesson Confronting a Bully Unit I  Matter
Lesson Number and Type 6 – Visual/ Auditory/Kinesthetic Approximate Length 45 Minutes


Standard(s) MEH4.5.3 Demonstrate effective peer resistance skills to avoid or reduce mental and emotional health risk.

MEH4.8.3 Demonstrate effective peer resistance skills to avoid or reduce mental and emotional health risks.

MEH4.8.1 Demonstrate the effective use of verbal and nonverbal communication skills to enhance mental and emotional health.

Objective(s) Students will be able to demonstrate how to stand up to a bully.
Student Friendly Objective(s) I can stand up to a bully.
Transition Goals  N/A
Evidence/Assessments Exit Ticket
Lesson Vocabulary Word(s) No new vocabulary words for this lesson.

Teacher Notes

Review (5 minutes) Say: “During our last lesson, we learned that sometimes people bully, tease, and harass. Bullying, teasing, and harassment are when someone uses words or actions to make you feel sad, scared, or unsafe.”

Say: “Unfortunately sometimes bullying, teasing, and harassment may happen to us or someone around us. Today we are going to learn how to stand up to a bully.”

Introduction and Activity One  (15 minutes) 1. Say: “I am going to do a role-play with [name of co-teacher]. In this role-play, [name of co-teacher] is going to pretend to be a bully.” Bring out stack of “Bullying” words and choose one.

2. Say: “In this role-play, [name of co-teacher] is going to call me this word [hold up selected “bullying” word]. After they do, I am going to say “cut” and ask you what I should do.”

3. Say: “This is a role-play, it is just pretend. [Name of co-teacher] would never say this to me in real life. Let’s say “lights, camera, action” together to show that this is just pretend. Ready? Lights, Camera, Action.”

4. Perform a role-play in which your co-teacher clearly says a mean thing. Say: “Cut!”

5. Ask: “What should I do? What should I say?”

6. On the board, create a list of possible responses. Students should create a simple sentence that clearly and firmly tells the bully to stop.

Examples of strong, clear responses:

    • I am not stupid, I am smart.
    • Do not call me that.
    • I am not ugly, I am beautiful.
    • I am not an idiot. Don’t say that again.
    • Do not call me a loser.
    • Etc.

Note: Students (or co-teachers) may make suggestions that are not clear or firm enough, that escalate the conflict, or shortcut the process of standing up for yourself. Respond in the following ways:

Examples of common responses that need teacher correction.

  • Please don’t call me that. Responses like this one are common, but are too polite for the situation. One does not need to be polite to a bully. Voices and words should be strong and clear.
  • I would fight them. It is normal to feel angry and want to hurt a bully, but fighting has a tendency to escalate the conflict. Fighting back can also cause the victim to get in trouble with teachers who did not see the whole scene. It is important to tell students that, even if they do fight back, they are still not at fault for being bullied. Saying “stop” in a strong, clear voice is the best approach to begin with. Telling a trusted adult comes next.
  • I’m telling a teacher. This is another common response. Telling a teacher is a good idea, and something we will practice. However, when confronting a bully, you want to tell them clearly and firmly to stop.

7. Once students have generated some suggestions, present the laminated “STOP” sign. Say: “All of these [gesture to the list created on the board] are ways of telling the bully to STOP [pull out sign].

8. Turn the sign over and read the three steps.

9. Take out the two additional laminated “STOP” signs (one front, one back) and hang them prominently in the room. Students will use these for a reference during their role-plays.

10. Once you’ve recorded and processed a few simple responses and looked at the “STOP” sign, repeat the initial role-play. Demonstrate how you would stand up to a bully using one of the phrases that the class created. Once complete, have the class cheer for you and your co-teacher.

The role-play may look something like this:

Teacher 1: Hey [teacher 2], you’re stupid.
Teacher 2 [standing up tall, shoulders back, voice clear]: I am not stupid. I am smart.
Teacher 1: Ugh! [turns away] Teacher 2: Cut! [models applause]

Ask: “How did I do? Was my voice strong? What did you like about the role play?” Encourage students to clearly reflect on the strength and confidence you’ve shown.

Ask: “How do you think it felt to use my voice like that?” Encourage students to reflect on nervousness or fear that can accompany confrontation. Validate these experiences. Reflect that it is difficult but empowering to stand up for what is right.

Activity Two (20 minutes) 1. Have students break into pairs or small groups.

2. Say: “Now, each person is going to practice standing up to a bully in front of your partner [or group]. You do not need to role-play being a bully. I do not need anyone to pretend to be a bully. I only want to hear your strongest, most confident voice. Practice saying [one of the phrases created by the group] in front of your partner [or group]. You will have 5 minutes to practice.”

In their groups, students can use the phrase that they have just seen demonstrated in the role-play, or they can use another phrase that works for them. Again, students do not need to role-play bullying one another, they only need to practice their response. Walk among the students, or position a co-teacher at each group to ensure that students are able to engage in the activity. Coach students through each component of the process; actively encourage confidence skills and their use of a clear, assertive voice. Give students five minutes to practice a few times.

3. Next, offer students the opportunity to practice using this skill in front of the larger group. Say: “You’ve done a great job practicing standing up to a bully. Would anyone like to come up and practice at the front of the class?” Students can stand at the front of the class and confidently say the phrase they practiced in their small group. Give students five minutes for this part of the activity.

4. Next, process the experience with the students. Say: “What did we do today? Encourage students to reflect back what happened in class. Students should note that they watched a role-play about bullying, practiced standing up to a bully. and/or talked about how it feels to stand up to a bully. Encourage each student to reflect back the process of class.

5. Ask: “What did it feel like to practice this skill?” Encourage students to be honest about any emotions that may have emerged.

Note: Learning to be assertive and confident is a life-long process and many students will need many practice experiences before they can develop an assertive, clear, and empowered voice. Be encouraging and enthusiastic about any level of work your students are doing. Emphasize that they are learning a difficult skill.  

Note: It is also possible to successfully conduct a role-play in which a student confronts a teacher who is pretending to be a bully. This can be an empowering and important practice experience, but it is one that requires a delicate touch. Do not try this kind of role-play if you have any concerns that the students in the room do not fully grasp that the situation is pretend.

Conclusion and Exit Ticket  (10 minutes) Pass each student the poster they created during the first four lessons.

Say: “Bullies try to break our self-confidence. They try to break our self-esteem. Look at the poster you’ve created. Does this look like a person who deserves to feel bad? Is this a person who should be called mean names?” Encourage students to say that they do not deserve to be bullied.

Ask: “Why do you think we are learning how to stand up to bullies?”

Allow students time to process. Encourage them to answer the question in their own way. Guide them towards answers like: Because we don’t deserve to feel bad. Because we are important. Because we want to have good self-esteem. Because we are [qualities listed on posters].

Congratulate students on learning how to stand up to a bully!

Pass out the Exit Tickets for students to complete.

Suggested Supplemental Activity(ies) N/A

Student Friendly Objectives

Bullying Signs

Exit Ticket