By Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja
Cyberbullying happens every day. Harsh words and damaging photos exchanged through texts, email, or social media can result in humiliation, broken friendships, punishment at school, and even legal prosecution. In some cases, online harassment has contributed to teen suicide and a number of other behavioral and emotional problems. Faced with this frightening phenomenon, parents, educators, and teens are looking for information and advice. Words Wound is a school-based curriculum designed to give educators the tools to teach students how to use technology to combat cruelty and promote kindness.
The program consists of a book for teens called Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral. Each student should have their own copy of the book to utilize during class sessions—and to take home and read—to complete instructional activities. For educators, there is a Leader’s Guide to accompany this book. This is free to download, available in PDF format from the Free Spirit Publishing website or from Amazon to download to a Kindle device.
The curriculum can be covered in a variety of ways and can be customized to your schedule, class period duration, and school-specific goals. As an example, each chapter might be covered in seven 40-minute sessions (shorter or longer as needed). For homework prior to each session, students will be asked to read the chapter that will be discussed. The teacher will begin the lesson by providing a brief overview of the concepts covered (see the Overview and Objectives in the Leader’s Guide). Next, students will complete the “Fill in the Blank” activity included in the Leader’s Guide. The teacher might then pose several questions for discussion to the larger group (again, some examples are included in each chapter’s “Think About It, Talk About It” section). In addition, the Leader’s Guide includes two suggestions for activities that could be completed during each chapter module or as homework following the session. There is also a 10-point multiple-choice quiz corresponding to each chapter that can be administered at the conclusion of the discussion.
Suggested order of session activities:
– Introduce the topic(s) to be discussed, and ensure that students have done their assigned readings
– Have students complete the “Fill in the Blank” activity from the Leader’s Guide (they can use their book for this)
– Engage in classroom discussion about the chapter
– Address any questions students bring up about the material
– Complete the group activity that students can work through to continue to assimilate the material (specific ideas are offered in the main book and in the Leader’s Guide)
– Administer the “Make Your Choice” quiz included in the Leader’s Guide to assess the student’s level of comprehension of information (this can be open- or closed-book)
Please feel free to adapt to your needs! We’ve also created pre– and post-tests that we make freely available to schools that are interested in measuring the overall impact of the curriculum. They are short (7 minute) surveys designed to assess behaviors in, and perceptions about, cyberbullying before and after completing the Words Wound curriculum. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for access to these online instruments.
For a printable version of this, Download PDF.