Friday, February 1, 2013

Trudy Ludwig

My Secret BullyFor today's Friday Find, I am excited to write about one of my favorite authors, Trudy Ludwig.  We all teach lessons on bullying to students, but a  lot of the time the bullying that is going on is relational ("bullying between friends" as I describe it to students).  Don't get me wrong...I love my Bully Beans lesson, but sometimes the strategies we use in teaching this type of bullying do not address problems between friends.  Every year, especially in 4th and 5th grade, my purple mailbox is flooded with notes from students wanting to talk about a problem with a friend.  Most of the time it is something along the lines of:  "Susie stole my friend Sara" or "Susie is hanging out with Sara now and not with me so I don't like it" or  "I'm trying to hang out with my new friend Susie, but Susie's other friend is giving me dirty looks."  And trust me--it's not just girls.  Trudy Ludwig's books address this specific type of bullying and fit right in with the goals and strategies that I'm trying to instill in my 4th and 5th grade students.  My favorite ones are My Secret Bully, Trouble Talk, and, Confessions of a Former Bully.

Confessions of a Former Bully[ CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER BULLY ] by Ludwig, Trudy (Author) Aug-24-10[ Hardcover ]Trouble Talk


My favorite part about Trudy Ludwig's books is that they lend themselves to some excellent discussions.  Usually all I have to do is bring up the topic and students already begin opening up about their personal experiences.  After reading the stories, students are easily able to come up with real life connections, and even come up with some solutions using ideas from the characters.  My favorite types of lessons are the ones that get kids talking.  I always address the fact that this happens between boys and girls, and the funny part is that a lot of the boys start nodding their heads!

As I previously stated, there's not a lot of planning that goes into a lesson using one of these great books.  Usually for classroom guidance, I review what we already know about bullying.  Next, I tell the class that we're going to talk about a type of bullying that isn't as talked about:  bullying between friends.  I have students give me some examples of what "bullying between friends" looks like.  They are easily able to tell me (as they are seeing it happen in their class and at recess!).  It never fails that students will bring up those topics that I get the counseling referrals about:  friends stealing friends, friends spreading rumors, friends ignoring them.  Next, we read one of the stories and have a discussion.  This year, I used Trouble Talk with 4th grade to focus on the gossip and rumors, and My Secret Bully in 5th grade to focus more about "friends stealing friends."  Confessions of a Former Bully is very empowering because it gives the "inside scoop" from a former bully.  I haven't used this one in the classroom yet, but plan to soon!  These books have also lent themselves to some great discussions in individual and small group counseling as well. 

How have you used Trudy Ludwig's books to facilitate discussions on relational aggression?

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