Have you seen ReadWriteThink's resources on Get Ready for National Bullying Prevention Month? There are several activities and related resources, including recommended web sites for additional information. One in particular, A Bad Case of Bullying: Using Literature Response Groups, is in the age range you're looking for.
Verizon Thinkfinity Community Manager
If the concept of cyberbullying would be relevent, you might check out the Cyberbullying module of Internet Safety and You. Garfield the Cat hosts the module, which make it especially appealing to your elementary students.
I'm not sure if these would fit your unit, but ReadWriteThink also has a few resources focusing on peace.
You also might want to look at an activity from read-write-think called Moving Toward Acceptance Through Picture Books and Two-Voice Texts. It looks really interesting!
In response to the orginal question - here is a lesson geared to the elementary aged group which deals with these ethical behaviors.
EDSITEment has a lesson that may assist teachers of youger students with this discussion.
As we all know younger students often do well discussing ethical issues indirectly through analogies in a story or film or in this case the fairytale characters of Hans Christian Andersen. The message and story within the Ugly Duckling as well as Andersen's own life experience discussed in this lesson illustrate the experience of bullying in a way our young students can relate to. One of my favorite lines from literature is from this story. I have often recited it to reassure students over the years who may be inclined to think of themselves as victims or otherwise deficient: "It doesn't matter being born in a barnyard as long as you are hatched from a swan's egg."
Lesson Plan Grades 3- 5
Like many of his beloved fictional characters, Hans Christian Andersen
came from humble origins. Born in a one-room house to a shoemaker and
a washerwoman, Andersen lost his father when he was 11 and left home
at age 14 determined to become famous. Teased by school mates for his
awkward appearance and bullied by a teacher who told him his writings
were fit only for the trash can, Andersen persevered with devotion to
his art and ultimately became known throughout the world as a genius
of the literary fairy tale genre.
One application can be found in this lesson's Activity 1:
Ask students to reflect on how the story, The Ugly Duckling, might be
similar or dissimilar to Andersen's own life. Use a Venn diagram to
note the students' observations, with similarities noted in the
overlapping portions of the two circles and differences noted on
opposite non-overlapping sections of the circles.
I work with a non-profit organization with the mission to "inspire a culture of character" in schools across America. We do student, teacher and parent presentations (among other things) at schools across the country that are all based on character education.
Anyway, here's a link for a couple free resources we offer for K-5th grade classrooms. They are short children's books (pdf ebooks to download) that talk about bullying, fairness and caring. You may download them, read them to your class and discuss it afterward.
Hope this is helpful.
Big Mouth Presentations
One way to teach character education especially in regard to bullying and anti bullying is through stories about heroes and leaders, i.e. people who use their strength and power for good rather than for ill.
EDSITEment has a curriculum unit on the question of What Makes a Hero http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/what-makes-hero
We also have curriculum unit on What Made George Washington a Good Military Leader
I currently teach 2nd grade and unfortunately bullying and honesty have become a major issue ths year. My school has a program called "Second Step" that comes with lessons and activities for children to discuss and role-play. It goes up to 6th grade (maybe higher, but I'm not certain). It discusses feeling left out, dealing with bullies and our emotions, etc. The children really seem to respond well to it. I usually do one lesson a week and focus on that topic.
Here is an informative infographic on Student Bullying created by Buckfire Law. It offers some eye-opening statistics related to the frequency of student bullying and the effects of bullying on students. This infographic could be printed, laminated, and posted in a classroom to raise student awareness of the bullying problem in schools.
I use something called the Virtues Project. There are many different ways it can be used in the classroom, or with a counselor. My class picks a "virtue of the week" such as honesty, kindness, or perseverance; then we learn about what it means and what it looks like. We try to catch each other displaying the virtue throughout the week. When you are "caught" you get your name on a virtues gem (just a piece of card stock cut to look like a gem) which is hung up in the classroom. This has worked really well with my middle school boys with high functioning autism. Believe it or not, they really like to see their names on the gems!
My teaching has been at the adult end of the spectrum, so I was unaware of character being taught in the lower grades. But I LOVE the idea.
Components of good character being taught and recognized is, I believe, every bit as important as the traditional subjects math, sciences, history and writing skills, etc, since none of them is worth as much as ALL of them working together - strong character included.
Just as a personal judgment, not enough teaching of character has been taking place in the children's homes. That's not an indictment of individual homes, certainly not of whatever home you might like to hold up as a stellar example. I am grateful for those homes, too. But overall in my personal judgment, emphasis on character in the home is deficient or else we would not have all these bullies in our classrooms, hallways, playgrounds and on the sidewalks leading from home to school.
Sometimes I wonder who is raising these kids? Even street gangs teach and enforce their own brand of character, so if we don't actively teach our brand, our children could get "Character - Gangsta Style" by default. I would rather see loyalty consciously paired up with doing right things than absorbed as a rationale for "don't snitch." If we don't actively teach it, music videos will.
I just attended a conference on cyber bullying presented by Justin W. Patchin firstname.lastname@example.org, and he currently has two books he co-authored about this subject. He also gave us several websites to explore:
www.thatsnotcool.com exploring digital boundries
I like the Essential 55 ( most of them). Ron Clark does a nice job in his book, though I do not think that it is a reality in most schools to pull off what he did (field trips to practice manners, etc.) as life at school seems to be too standards based. I think that perceived responsibility with the state standards and teacher accountability with state testing scores scares teachers away from spending their valuable time on the importance of manners.
If you still need lessons and ideas, here is my blog: http://lorinda-charactereducation.blogspot.com/
I was a Guidance Tech teaching Character Education in the Cajon Valley Union School District (San Diego County). On the left hand side, scrolling down, you can find I message charts, student contracts... I post items for different ages, and have specific character education lessons listed in the pages. My posts are geared towards self esteem, feelings, same and different, bullying, and conflict resolution. The blog is newish, however updated material is added every week.
I don't have a formal lesson plan for character, but rather teach it everyday, all day to my students.
Everyday there are teachable moments where I go eye-to-eye with a student and tell them I am so very, very proud of them for helping N- to the office (severe asthma issues) or E- with reading (very new to the English language). I also go eye-to-eye when I catch them lying, and stealing.
I gave one particular shy boy a very quiet eye-to-eye regarding his stellar grade on the recent Social Studies test. I watched him walk with a smile and a spring in his step out of class, and reminded myself that this is why I teach; the expression on his face when I told him he got an "A" was emotional income that no other job can give.
I totally agree that character is taught best during those teachable moments. My students have learning disabilities and therefore need direct teaching of not only the virtues but also the terminology that goes along with character traits. Once they have learned the information, then the teachable moments are more meaningful. I am working on lessons that will explicitly teach this vocabulary and then make sure that each child uses that word eight times so that they can own the word. Research shows that is how many times a person has to use a word in order to truly learn it's meaning.
I agree with what others mentioned which is that the best character education doesn't come from a program, in my opinion, but in how we as educators handle the events every day where honesty and ethics come into question. Every teacher should note the role they have in teaching students at all levels the importance of character, etc. no matter their subject matter.
In a SchoolCIO blog, Steven M. Baule, CIO advisor, has written an article about ways Technology Directors and IT personnel in schools can assist in preventing bullying in schools. Check out his comments--Technology and bullying: What have you done to help?
Are there suggestions that Baule gives to IT staff applicable to all teachers and other school staff? Are there ideas you would add to his insights?
Here's an informative article from Tech & Learning titled, "6 Steps to Fight Successfully Against Cyber Bullying," by Janet M. Irvine, SchoolReach CyberBully Hotline Contributor, that provides essential tips for school personnel to prevent cyber bully actions.
I especially liked one part of the article and have posted it here as a reminder that bullying is not going away but handling the situation effectively can lessen the impact.
The author writes, "There will never be a complete 'cure' for bullying and cyber bullying behavior. However, with continuous focus, energy, and commitment, there can be successful management of all forms of bullying, with significant minimization of the number of victims:
What do you think of these essential tips?
Here is another good resource on cyberbullying--Free bullying prevention resources offered--provided by Scenario Learning, developer of safety and compliance solutions for schools and workplaces. They announced in October 2013 that a number of their bullying prevention resources are available at no charge for every school during October and November, in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month.
I just discussed the element of character education with one of our high school students - she is pretty proud of the fact that she does not see discrimination and bullying as a problem at her school. She is also a very positive person with a great outlook on life - she wants to help others by studying to become a psychiatrist - I posted this as a response to our conversation, because I have encouraged her to enter the Maltz Museum Stop the Hate Writing contest : What strategies enable your students to deflect bullies and discrimination?
Also - to address your original context (preschool) - we recently used the lesson of Ferdinand in a daycare setting http://www.thinkfinity.org/groups/neo-art-educators/blog/2013/08/15/smelling-the-flowers
I try to let kids understand their emotions and to know that while others can be unfair and cruel - it doesn't need to define who you are if you find your own way to be happy - also it helps to know that bullies are often hurting in some way that causes them to act out. It's obviously a complex topic for pre-school - but simplifying the equation - to which do you prefer? To be Glad - Sad - Mad usually gets kids to accept GLAD
Here is also a recent picture book that may help- Tug of War by John Burdick -adapted from a Nigerian folktale. Beautiful illustrations.