The following is a narration of the activity…but you can download the lesson plan below…it is much more clear and organized :)
Description of Activity:
Basically, I cut out a generic paperdoll for each student–we have a diecut of this at school, but you could also run off copies and have the kids cut them out (example here). Then I give the kids about 20 minutes to create a paperdoll that looks like them. This is another great way to practice using classroom materials, you could even bring in fabric, scrapbook paper etc…
After everyone is finished, we come together and talk about being kind to each other. I have used the book “You are Special” by Max Lucado, but I’m sure there are other books that would fit (suggestions?). Now that I think about it it might be helpful to have a video clip to show the class too. Talking about what it looks like to be kind and unkind, how it feels to be bullied. Then we all take our paper dolls and pass them around the circle until I say stop. Then I tell the kids to rip the doll just a little bit. This is like calling someone a mean name. Note: the kids will be SUPER hesitant to do this, so it is important that you have a doll too so you can show them. Then we pass the dolls around again. STOP. Now crumple the doll a little bit. This is like leaving someone out who is different than you. Show the kids, let them do it, then pass again. STOP. Make a small tear somewhere else on the doll. This is like teasing someone or making fun of how they look. Pass out a pencil to each student, pass the dolls again. STOP. Make a mark somewhere on the doll with the pencil. This is like saying nasty or mean things about someone behind their backs. Pass, STOP. Make another mark on the doll. This is like listening to a friend saying something mean and not doing anything about it.
By this time the doll is in pretty sorry shape, have the kids continue to pass and stop when they get their own doll back. Now we have a conversation about how much time and effort they put into their doll, and how they fell now. This is a great time for kids to reflect on how this is like being unkind.
Now, I pass out tape and erasers and tell the kids to “fix” their dolls to try to make them look as good as they were before. After a few minutes, of course it is clear that they can’t. We continue the conversation about how our words are powerful and we can’t take them back, they will always leave marks and scars.