Want to rev up your character education efforts?

Then check out the Auto-B-Good Six Pillar Storybook Series.  Using cute cars as the core characters, these 44-page stories by Phillip Walton are fuel-injected with valuable life lessons.  Each of the six storybooks comes with an Activity Guide download that includes comprehension questions, vocabulary building and other enrichment activities, as well as creative thinking and writing prompts.

One book, EJ and the Bully: A Lesson in Respect, targets a timely topic. EJ knows that running for class president won’t be easy because Warren, the class bully, is also gunning for the position.  Warren plays dirty by splashing mud on EJ, tearing down campaign posters, and verbally disrespecting him.  When EJ decides to drop out of the race, it’s his friend Derek who gives him a strategy for dealing with Warren’s bullying behaviors:  Talk, walk, then tell.

After a read-aloud and reflective discussion, give students an energy boost by doing the Chicken Dance using these lyrics:

If a bully bothers you,
and you don’t know what to do,
out at recess or in school,
Talk, Walk, Then Tell  (as you clap four times).

We use this technique at Westwood with great success.  We encourage our students to tell one another how bullying behaviors make them feel using “I” statements:  “I feel scared when you call me names.  I need you to stop.”  If the bullying behavior persists, the student should walk away, preferably toward an adult because it’s not likely that the aggressor will follow.  If the bullying still doesn’t stop, we tell students to report it to a trusted adult.  In worst-case scenarios, we have a stay-away agreement that we can put into place to keep our students safe.

If your students want more from these four-wheeled friends, they are also available in an animated DVD series and on Turbo Booster Affirmation Cards.

Barbara Gruener is a school counselor at Westwood Elementary in Friendswood, Texas, a winner of the 2009 CEP National School of Character Award.