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Saturday, July 7, 2012

About Wonder

I finished reading Wonder, by RJ Palacio.  The story of Auggie made me cry... and made me cheer! I loved it...one of the parts I loved was the precepts Palacio included in the story...which I want to make into pictures and frame to put up around my classroom.  Here is the list:

Precepts = rules about really important things!

  1. "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." —Dr. Wayne Dyer
  2. "Your deeds are your monuments." —Inscription on ancient Egyptian tomb
  3. "Have no friends not equal to yourself." —Confucius
  4. "Fortune favors the bold." —Virgil
  5. "No man is an island, entire of itself." —John Donne
  6. "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." —James Thurber
  7. "Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much." —Blaise Pascal
  8. "What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful." —Sappho
  9. "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can." —John Wesley
  10. "Just follow the day and reach for the sun." —The Polyphonic Spree
  11. "Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world." —Auggie Pullman
The story made me think a lot about why bullying happens, what we can do to stop it, how we can take a stand.

Here are 5 shocking facts about bullying from the "Do Something" about Bullying Website:
  • 56% of students have personally felt some sort of bullying at school. Between 4th and 8th grade in particular, 90% of students are victims of bullying.

  • The most common reason cited for being harassed is a student's appearance or body size. 2 out of 5 teens feel that they are bullied because of the way that they look.

  • 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% percent of the time.

  • A victim of bullying is twice as likely to take his or her own life compared to someone who is not a victim.

  • One out of 10 students drop out of school because they are bullied.

I don't want to fill this post with spoilers for those of you who haven't read Wonder, but in case you haven't noticed, bullying is a bigtime problem right now.  So I Wondered what I can do to make a difference...based on the fact that most students are victims of bullying between 4th and 8th grade, I think one of the things I can do is be aware of this "epidemic" and do something about students who experience bullying.  I find it alarming that 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying. 

Where ever I land at the beginning of the school year, I will work hard to make sure that bullying is addressed and minimalized.  I think one of the best ways to do this will be to build community relations within the classroom from the start.  If you have any great books to recommend for helping build community, let me know.  Two of my favorites are How Full is Your Bucket and Enemy Pie.  I have previously used both as Read Alouds to start off the year.  You can hear both read by clicking the links (How Full on Youtube and Enemy Pie on Storyline Online). 

Let's take a stand against bullying...and "choose kind"!

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