Managedmoms.com reader and school teacher, Lisa Walton, asked me if she could write this week’s post about an important initiative happening this week called No Name Calling Week. With all of the articles that I see about the problems with bullying, I readily agreed that this is a good topic to write about. So read on for some good information on what to do if this becomes an issue at your child’s school or at your kid’s after-school activity location, because it can happen anywhere and at any time.
Sticks and stones
may break our bones,
will break our spirit.
THE HISTORY OF THE NO NAME-CALLING WEEK PROJECT (www.nonamecallingweek.org)
“No Name-Calling Week” was inspired by a young adult novel entitled “The Misfits” by popular author, James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the “Gang of Five” (as they are known) create a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. The No-Name Party in the end, wins the support of the school’s principal for their cause and their idea for a “No Name-Calling Day” at school.
Motivated by this simple, yet powerful idea, the No Name-Calling Week Coalition, created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children’s publishing, consisting of over 40 national partner organizations, organized an actual No Name-Calling Week in schools across the nation. The project seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.
Ideas for Celebrating No Name-Calling Week
Wondering how you can participate in “No Name-Calling Week” events for this year? Here is a list of hands-on and ready-to-use ideas for ways to take part in eliminating name-calling and bullying. These can be done at your school, community center, neighborhood, youth group, or even in your own family.
- Have students/children write any names they’ve been called that made them feel bad on paper, and then together shred those papers and dispose of them.
- Have children cover a large cut-out of a person with post-it notes that list names that make people feel good or that people like to be called.
- Simplify the ideas behind No Name-Calling Week into easy-to-use phrases such as “We don’t say that,” or “We don’t do that.” Model using these phrases when name-calling or bullying occurs so that they become entrenched in the culture of the school, community or household.
- Create posters and display them on bulletin boards, in the hallways, or in the cafeteria of school or places in your community.
- Read poetry or stories that show positive behavior, kindness and tolerance.
- Wear/Pass Out heart stickers that remind people to “Be Kind.”
- Create name-tags with their given name to remind everyone to call people what they ask to be called, not by other names.
- Assign each day of the week as a theme day for one of the “Pillars of Character.” Encourage students/children to wear the color of the day.
- Make bracelets to represent a commitment to not call names.
- Create “Kindness (Paper) Chains” to string around the building, school, or house.
- Have coaches or PE teachers discuss sportsmanship
- Involve parents & friends by informing them of No Name-Calling Week and encouraging them to share their own ideas with their children about how people should treat each other.
- Let children produce and star in skits, poems, stories and puppet shows for a No Name-Calling Week show that they can present at school, at home or in the community.
Books for Children & Teens Related to Name-Calling
About the Author…Lisa Walton:
Lisa Walton–Parenting tips
Valley Teacher and Mother
Lisa Walton has been a teacher in the Valley for over 18 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University; and Master’s Degree in Special Education from Arizona State University. She currently works as an itinerant teacher, collaborating with regular education teachers in the public schools.