Organizing to End Bullying

In this lesson, students use word work and engaging videos to learn about Jaylen Arnold, a young boy with Tourette syndrome, and how he has overcome bullying by children who did not understand his condition. Students will create posters to help communicate Jaylen's message and develop guidelines for how they can celebrate diversity and reduce bullying in their school.
Grade Level

  • Students will be able to synthesize ideas to celebrate diversity and prevent bullying
  • Students will create an anti-bullying campaign that promotes equality​​​​​

Enduring Understandings:

  • People sometimes perceive others as different, and sometimes it’s hard to accept differences.
  • Taking the time to understand people’s differences is the best way to accept them.
  • Activists give voice to people who have been targets of bias or discrimination.
Essential Questions
  • Why are people who are considered different sometimes treated poorly by other people?
  • Why is it important to understand how I am similar to and different from people around me?
  • How can I be an activist and help other people accept people who are different? 


activist [ak-tuh-vist] (noun) a person who strongly fights for a cause or an issue

autism [aw-tiz-uhm] (noun) a brain condition that causes people to repeat behaviors and have difficulties connecting with others

bullying [bool-ee-ing] (verb) hurting or being mean to someone else over and over again

campaign [kam-peyn] (noun) a plan made to accomplish a goal

diversity [dih-vur-si-tee] (noun) a variety or range of differences (e.g., race, religion, gender, sexual orientations, age)

guideline [gahyd-lahyn] (noun) rule or instruction set up to help reach a goal

Tourette syndrome [too-rett sin-drohm] (noun) a brain condition that causes people to move their bodies or make noises without choosing toSuggested Procedure:



Vocabulary Work

Have groups of students develop a word web for each of the vocabulary words. Word webs are mind maps that promote active learning and help students develop higher-order thinking skills. Students map their thinking in a Frayer model graphic organizer.

  1. Divide the class into small groups of 2 or 3 students.

  2. Review the words and definitions with students.

  3. Give each student a Frayer Model graphic organizer.

  4. Following the directions on the handout, model how to complete the graphic organizer for a sample word.

  5. Assign a word to each group and have them complete the graphic organizers.

  6. When students are finished, display each handout and have the groups present them to the class.

Main Activity

  1. Tell students that they are going to see and hear about a young boy who was bullied because he was different. Provide some background on Jaylen Arnold and on Tourette syndrome and how it affects him. This information can be found on Jaylen’s website.

  2. Show students these two short videos on Jaylen (ABC News, Fox News), then discuss the following questions:

    • What do you know about Jaylen from the videos?
    • According to Jaylen, how is being bullied like crumpling up a piece of paper?
    • What does Jaylen do that makes him an activist? (Remind students of the definition of an activist.)

  3. Place students in small groups. Pass out the Wagon Wheel graphic organizer to all students.

  4. Go over each of the questions, and have each student fill out an organizer. Review students’ wagon wheels for accuracy of information and originality of ideas.

  5. Ask students to brainstorm ways they can help people understand that bullying hurts everyone and why it’s not OK to bully people for being different.

Do Something

Tell students they will be developing a project to help people understand the value of differences and to address the problem of bullying.

  1. Pass out large pieces of paper and markers or crayons to each group of students. Ask students to make a poster supporting Jaylen’s Challenge to stop bullying.

  2. When students have finished, hang each poster around the room. Place a blank piece of paper and a marker next to each poster.

  3. Conduct a carousel review during which each group rotates around the classroom reviewing the other posters and discussing what they see. On the blank pieces of paper, have students share their ideas about the posters and their suggestions for anything that could be added or changed.

  4. Ask group members to return to their own poster, review the suggestions and make any changes they feel are necessary.

  5. Based on the content of the posters, help the whole class develop classroom guidelines on how they will celebrate diversity and reduce bullying.

  6. If time allows, arrange for students to travel to other classrooms to present their posters. They can use some of the techniques documented in Jaylen’s videos and posted on his website. For more tips on how to prepare students to stand up against bullying, see Speak Up at School.




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