We all know by now that the expression “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, words hurt and the hurt they cause can take much longer to heal than a few bumps and bruises. Getting kids to understand the power their words hold, however, is a tricky process. The story I’m Rubber, You’re Glue, part of the new self-worth series from iStoryBooks, seeks to make the process a little easier.
Start the lesson by asking students to explain what a put-down is. Then have students share whether they’ve ever been called a name. Have students give examples of the names they’ve been called and how being called a name made them feel. If students don’t have any examples or don’t feel comfortable sharing them, ask students how they would feel if someone said they were stupid, called them four eyes, or used another put-down.
Introducing the Story
Ask students if they’ve ever heard the saying, “I’m rubber you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces of me and sticks to you.” If they haven’t, take a moment to explain to students what the phrase means.
Next, show students the cover of the story. Tell them you’re going to read a story about a girl who is called names by a boy. Ask students to predict how the girl might feel during the story. Also have students predict what the girl might do after the boy calls her a name.
Reading the Story
Read through the story with students. Pause throughout the story to ask students how the girl is feeling and whether they agree with what the boy does.
After Reading the Story
After reading the story, ask students to briefly summarize what happened. Then ask students to explain how they think the boy felt at the end of the story. Did he learn this lesson? If so, what lesson did he learn?
Extending the Story
Once you have finished the story and students have discussed it, ask students to share about a time when they have called someone a name. On pieces of masking tape or white labels, write the names that students say they have called others. Stick those names on your students, and then ask students how it feels to have the names bounce back and stick to them.
For each name that is stuck to a student, have the student say one nice thing about someone in the classroom. After each nice thing the student says, remove one of the names.
Finishing the Lesson
As you round up the lesson, take some time to talk to students about why it’s not okay to put people down. Make a list of hurtful words and kind words to hang up in the classroom as a reminder. Throughout the school year, as students use hurtful words, you can point to the list and remind them to use kind words around others.