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Dear Dr. Cherrye,

I’m a public school teacher, and I see lots on contention among students being mean to one another. With so much negatively and division going on in the news, how can we teach children about diversity, unity and multicultural acceptance? I’m so tired of the divisiveness and bullying that’s going on in my classroom.

Dear I’m so tired ..,

You can search online and/or Pinterest for a slew of diversity activities that can be used with your students teaching them how bullying hurts. In particular, I want to share an activity with you that I saw online just the other day. I want to first say that this is not my idea, creation of invention. I do not know who the unknown source is, but I want to give credit to whomever thought of this. It was not me.

Here goes:

Diversity/Bullying Activity

When teaching a child/student about the harms of bullying, a teacher or parent can perform the following activity:

The teacher/parent will give each child a piece of paper. Tell each child to crumple the paper, stomp on it, and really mess it up – BUT do not rip it. Afterward, tell the children to unfold the paper, smooth it out and ask them to take a look at how scarred and dirty the paper is.

Next, tell the children to look at the piece of paper, and tell it how very sorry they are for what they just did to it. Then, the teacher/parent will ask the children to try and fix the paper back like it was.

Hopefully, the children will notice that even though they tried to apologize and fix the paper to its original state, the paper still has scars left behind. Tell the children that the scars will never go away no matter how hard they try to fix the paper back the way it was before.

The teacher/parent should tell the children that this is what happens when their classmates or friends are bullied. Even when they are sorry for how they’ve treated them, the scars are there forever. The teacher/parent will more than likely notice the looks on the kids’ faces, and this should let them know how successful this activity impacted them.

Additional Resources

  1. Teens – Accept and Embrace Diversity – Facilitator Reproducible Activities for Groups & Individuals (Transitional Life Skills for Teens)
  2. Multicultural Teaching: A Handbook of Activities, Information, and Resources (8th Edition)
  3. 101 Bully Prevention Activities Book with CD
  4. How to Be Bully Free® Workbook: Word Searches, Mazes, What-Ifs, and Other Fun Activities for Kids (Bully Free Classroom®)
  5. The Kindness Curriculum: Stop Bullying Before It Starts (NONE)
  6. No Kidding About Bullying: 125 Ready-to-Use Activities to Help Kids Manage Anger, Resolve Conflicts, Build Empathy, and Get Along: Grades 3-6 (Bully Free Classroom®)

Important

I’ve made it my mission to assist parents in resolving the bullying issues their children are suffering. Offering your feedback and suggestions in the comment section could facilitate meaningful dialog on this critical issue among ourselves and I encourage this. I will respond to each comment in a timely way. Should you wish to speak privately with me, please email be at CherryeVasquez@gmail.com, and I will reply promptly.

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4 thoughts on “Crumple up a Piece of Paper

  1. Cande Richardson says:

    Diversity Exercises:
    1. If I were an educator I’d purchase brown eggs, beige eggs and white eggs. I’d give each student an egg to crack to show we may different on the outside but the same on the inside.
    2. Don’t allow students to sit in the same seating daily. The cliques can be stopped in the classroom.
    3. Have students pair up, talk and then write down what they’ve learned about each. What they have in common etc.

    Just a few ideas to try to stop the madness.

    1. Dr. Cherrye says:

      Thank you very much for weighing in on this important topic. I like your input. Yes, this is another great diversity exercise that can be used to help children with the idea of inclusion. I love this one, too.
      Great!

  2. Linda Hales says:

    Oh yes, this seems a fine exercise to induce healthy empathy in children. Children benefit greatly from examples they can relate to and identifying with the crumpled paper seems to stimulate or induce healthy emotion in the child that translates how they relate to and equivocate it to real pain in others. The realization that such damage can be permanent or at least, not fully mitigated, can instill a natural sense of remorse in the child that he/she did not anticipate feeling and become an important teachable moment in life and throughout life. Emotionally relating to others with healthy cause and effect examples without actually hurting another, is teachable at the youngest ages.

    1. Dr. Cherrye says:

      Hi Linda,

      I certainly hope more people (parents and educators) will search for and utilize supplementary activities such as the one included within my post to help dilute the devastating effects of division and disharmony. Doing so would certainly help ward-off prejudices and hatred. I’m looking forward to a day of peace and togetherness worldwide. As adults, we must set the stage and role model the same. It’s certainly my mission to do my part.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda. I appreciate your voice.

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