1. Home
  2. Whole Selves I
  3. Unit 1: I Matter
  4. Telling a Trusted Adult and Bystander Skills

Telling a Trusted Adult and Bystander Skills

Materials and Preparation

Curriculum Provided Materials:

  • For Teacher Use:
    • One copy of “Student Friendly Objectives”
    • “Reserved for Trusted Adult” sign from Lesson 6
  • For Student Use:
    • One Exit Ticket

Teacher Materials:

  • Dry erase board and markers
  • Document camera

Preparation Notes:

  • Print and display “Student Friendly Objectives”
  • Print and cut another copy of the “Reserved for Trusted Adult” sign, front and back. Laminate the front and back separately so that both can be displayed and read by students simultaneously.
  • The second activity calls for a minimum of three teachers. Ensure that you have enough people to facilitate the role-play effectively.
  • If students use communication devices, pre-program a phrase such as, “I have been bullied, I need help.” for use in the role-play.
  • Consider the group and do any pre-teaching that may be necessary to help learners move through the activity successfully.
  • Read through the content of the lesson and practice role-playing with your co-teachers. Think through the steps of the role-play and ensure that the demonstration matches the expectations at your school for helping students who are facing bullying.
  • Print one Exit Ticket for each student.

Supplemental Materials:

  • N/A

Lesson Information

Lesson Telling a Trusted Adult and Bystander Skills Unit I  Matter
Lesson Number and Type 7 – Visual/ Auditory Approximate Length 45 Minutes



V1.2.3 Explain what to do if someone is being bullied. (HBO 3, 9)V1.5.10 Describe what to do if oneself or someone else is being bullied. (HBO 3, 7)

S4.2.4 Demonstrate how to effectively tell a trusted adult when feeling threatened or harmed.

MEH4.2.4 Demonstrate how to effectively tell a trusted adult when feeling threatened or harmed.

Objective(s) Students will be able to develop a safety plan for dealing with a bully.Students will be able to identify ways to help others if they are being bullied, teased, or harassed.
Student Friendly Objective(s) I can talk to a trusted adult about bullying.I can help others who are bullied.
Transition Goals  N/A
Evidence/Assessments Demonstration of skills in role-playExit 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: “We also learned how to stand up to a bully. Would anyone like to come up and demonstrate to the class how to stand up to a bully?”

Allow one or two student volunteers to demonstrate. Point out their self-confidence skills (standing up tall, communicating clearly, facing the person etc.) Congratulate students on the success of their role-play.

Say: “Today we are going to learn more skills to help us deal with bullies.”

Introduction and Activity One  (20 minutes)

1. Say: “The first skill we will practice today is talking to a trusted adult about bullying. If you are bullied, you need to talk to a trusted adult. You need to say exactly what happened.” Present the “Reserved for Trusted Adult” sign and read the back aloud. Pull out the two additional “Reserved for Trusted Adult” signs (one front, one back) and hang them prominently in the room. Students will reference these when they practice the role-play you are about to demonstrate.2. Say: “I will show you what to do in a role-play. In this role-play, I will pretend that I was being bullied by a classmate named Joey. In the role-play I will tell [name of co-teacher] that I was bullied. I will tell them exactly what happened, just like the sign says. Let’s say “lights, camera, action” to show that this is just a role-play. It is just pretend. Lights, camera, action.”

3. Do a role-play similar to the following script:

Teacher 1: Hey [name of teacher 2], can I talk to you about something?
Teacher 2: Of course, what’s going on?
Teacher 1: Joey called me stupid.
Teacher 2: That is not okay. That is bullying. I am going to speak with Joey right now. Are you okay?
Teacher 1: I’m okay. Can I hang here for a minute?
Teacher 2: Of course, take as long as you need. Thank you so much for telling me. You did the right thing.
Teacher 1: Cut! [Model applause]

4. Say: “The next thing that would happen is the teacher would talk with Joey. He/she would tell Joey that what he did was not allowed. The teacher would also tell other teachers about what happened so that they would know to keep an eye out for any bullying in the future. The teachers would work with Joey to help him learn not to bully anyone else. The teachers would also let your parents know about what happened so that they can help you at home.”

5. Say: “Okay, that’s all for the role-play. Let’s talk about what we saw.”

6. Process briefly with students. Ask: “What just happened? What did you notice about the role-play?” See what students noticed in the role-play that they just watched. Encourage students to reflect back what they saw. You told a teacher about being bullied. Joey was bullying you and you told a teacher.

7. Ask: “What did I say in the role-play?” See if students noticed that you were clear and specific about what happened. You said that Joey was calling you stupid. Say: “It is important to be clear and specific when telling a trusted adult about bullying. I had to say exactly what Joey did so that I could get help.”

8. Next, have students practice the same (or similar) role-plays in small groups.

9. Say: “In your small groups, you will practice telling a teacher about bullying, just like in the role-play. You will have about five minutes to work with your group.”

10. Situate one teacher at each group and have the teacher play the role of the trusted adult. This makes the role-play more authentic and gives the students a chance to practice a bullying disclosure with an actual trusted adult. It also lets teachers practice their responses. Walk among the students to ensure that they understand the directions and are able to practice the skill. Encourage confidence skills and the ability to clearly express a bullying event.

11. Offer students the opportunity to practice using this skill in front of the larger group. Say: “I heard some wonderful work being done in your small groups. Would anyone like to come up to the front and show the class how they talk to a trusted adult about bullying?” Give students five minutes for this.

12. Process with students. Ask: “How did it feel to tell a teacher about a bully?” Talk about how it feels to tell a trusted adult about being bullied.

Note: Check your school policy to make sure that this protocol is consistent with your school’s protocol. It is important to validate the experience of the student who was bullied and to immediately and clearly talk with the person who was bullying. It is sometimes reported that student concerns are brushed aside by teachers who did not see the bullying incident or want their student to learn to stand up for themselves. While standing up for ourselves is a critical skill and one that we are teaching in this lesson, we also want students to be supported in a clear way by trusted adults. Being validated and supported by trusted adults strengthens the relationship between them and the student and shows that bullying is not acceptable in any form.

Activity Two (15 minutes)

1. Say: “We have one more part of class today. For the last part, I want us to think about what to do if we see a friend or classmate being bullied.”2. Ask: “What do you think you should do if you see someone else being bullied?”

3. Write answers on the board. As before, generate a list of suggestions from the students. Guide students toward the understanding that the steps are the same as the steps they’ve already practiced. Explain that you will, first, tell the bully to stop in a confident voice. Next, you will find and tell a trusted adult what happened.

4. Say: “I will show you what to do in a role-play. In this role-play [teacher one] is going to bully [teacher two]. I need a student volunteer to be the one to stand up to the bully and tell the trusted adult. I will play the role of trusted adult.”

5. Ask: “Who would like to volunteer?” If no one volunteers, another teacher will need to play the role of the bystander.

6. Say: “This is just pretend, so let’s say lights, camera, action just like before. Ready? Lights, camera, action.”

7. For the role-play, have [teacher one] and [teacher two] face each other in one part of the room while the volunteer student looks on. Teacher three can stand in another part of the room.

Teacher one: Hey [teacher two] you’re ugly!
Student volunteer: Stop it! Don’t say that to her!
Teacher one: Go away!
Student volunteer: Hey [teacher three], [teacher one] is bullying [teacher two]! She said that [teacher two] was ugly.
Teacher three: Oh no! Okay, I will help.
Teacher three: Cut! [models applause]

8. After role-play, ask students to reflect on what they saw. Give other students the opportunity to practice the role of the student volunteer. Cheer for each student who tries the role-play.

Note: As before, take time to think about students in the class and ensure that all students understand that the role-play is pretend.

Note: Make sure the student knows what to do before the role-play starts. Choose a student who will be able to show the class what to do.

Conclusion and Exit Ticket  (10 minutes)

Repeat the conclusion from Lesson 6. Students will have had the opportunity to practice this conclusion once already.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?”

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].

Conclude the activity by hanging up each poster somewhere visible in the room. Say: “We will hang up these posters to remind us to be our most confident selves. Our self-esteem and our self-confidence is too strong to be broken by bullies.”

Pass out the Exit Tickets for students to complete.

Suggested Supplemental Activity(ies) N/A

Student Friendly Objectives

Exit Ticket