A chance encounter with a powerful children’s book led a third grade Jaindl Elementary School teacher to initiate anti-bullying lessons that encompass subjects ranging from reading and writing to art and music.
The book is called “One” by Kathyn Otoshi and it’s a simple story about the color Red who bullies Blue until the number One stands up to Red.
Third grade teacher Kristin Patselas said she came across the book at a Barnes & Noble book store and was captivated by it. “I thought it was very powerful and I wanted to share that with the students,” Patselas said. She and other Jaindl educators worked it into the curriculum.
In the book, the color Red starts bullying the color Blue as the other colors do nothing. Then the Number One comes along and won’t be bullied, saying “If someone is mean and picks on me, I, for One, stand up and say, No.” After that other colors are willing to stand up to Red and they all turn into growing numbers.
The book ends: “Sometimes it takes just One.”
The message is in keeping with anti-bullying efforts nationwide that are placing more emphasis on how bystanders can help stop bullying.
After reading the book, Patselas’ students wrote tips on round paper on how to handle bullies and posted them in the hallway. “They were able to make a lot of personal connections,” she said.
For instance, one pupil, Skyye, gave this advice: “I can tell the bully to stop being mean to people. And if you do that I will be your friend.”
Another student, Darius, wrote: “Our strategy is remember to include everyone.”
Jaindl music teacher, Lauren Kostovick, said fifth-grade students who read “One” worked with her on creating a “sound story” using musical instruments to act out the story. “They respond really well to it,” Kostovick said.
And the theme fits in with ongoing school lessons, Jaindl Principal Diane Schantz said. “One of the things we really stress is getting along and conflict resolution,” she said.