Words can hurt. Relational and emotional bullying can bruise your heart and stick with you longterm, psychologically. This lesson uses two apples to illustrate that hurtful words can cause lasting, devastating, and hidden damage.
British teacher and creator of the lesson, Rosie Dutton instructor at Relax Kids Tamworth, states,”When people are bullied, especially children, they feel horrible inside and sometimes don’t show or tell others how they are feeling.”
How I would teach the lesson:
- Show the class two apples that look the same (one of which has been previously dropped several times before class).
- Next, ask the students to describe the two apples. They’ll note that although there may be minor differences between the apples, both are essentially identical. They won’t notice that one has been dropped, because the bruising happens beneath the surface of the waxy apple skin.
- Announce how much you dislike the dropped apple, call it a name or put-down, and toss it dismissively on the floor. Say that because you don’t like it, neither should the students.
- One by one, encourage them to call the apple names and toss it to the ground as well.
- Now, take the second apple and tell the students that it’s the ‘good’ one. Encourage the students to give the apple compliments and treat it with care.
- Ask the students to compare the apples again. It’s likely that there won’t be a dramatic change in their initial observations; the apples will still look relatively similar. It’s hard to see the damage caused by the drops from the outside.
- Finally, cut both apples open. You’ll notice immediately that the second apple is fresh, juicy, and unblemished, while the first, ‘bullied’ apple is bruised, soft, and discoloured.
- Ask the students to reflect on how this exercise might apply to bullying. You might even want to ask them if they want to eat the bruised apple. Many may react with disgust. Ask them to reflect upon their contribution to making the apple bruised and brown. We all did this…why shouldn’t we value it? When we call people names, reject them, or send the message that they are lacking, we are dropping them and bruising them like we did this apple. Even though the damage isn’t apparent on the outside, it is very destructive on the inside.
Leave a comment below to share how you used and adapted this lesson for your classroom! I always get inspired by people’s stories and the things they do. You might just inspire someone today!
Feel free to check out the rest of my website for my blog, additional tangible challenge ideas, journal template, videos-links, bios to cool people who influenced the challenge with their ideas, and the science behind the SABI challenge (peer-reviewed journal articles linked).