Know Your Class­matesTM

Mini Fact: Know Your Class­mates Day is Fri­day, Oct. 26.

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Your Daily Break -

Oc­to­ber is Na­tional Bul­ly­ing Preven­tion Month. The Mini Page talked with ex­perts at Beyond Dif­fer­ences, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that works to stop bul­ly­ing be­fore it hap­pens, about a pro­gram called Know Your Class­matesTM.

Although Know Your Class­mates is a pro­gram for mid­dle school­ers, its mes­sages are im­por­tant for el­e­men­tary stu­dents to learn, too.

What is so­cial iso­la­tion?

Some kids feel left out or in­vis­i­ble when they’re at school. They might feel lonely and dif­fer­ent from ev­ery­one else. This is called so­cial

iso­la­tion.

When you think about it, we’re all dif­fer­ent from each other!

What makes you, you?

Your fam­ily’s tra­di­tions

Your race

Your gen­der

The things you like to do

Your re­li­gion

What else?

If you make a list of these and other parts of your iden­tity, then com­pare it to an­other stu­dent’s, they might be very dif­fer­ent. Or you might have a lot in com­mon. But in­stead of be­ing afraid of or mean to peo­ple who seem dif­fer­ent, we can get to know them and learn about their back­grounds and tra­di­tions.

Who be­longs? Who doesn’t?

Have you ever been left out? How­did that make you feel? The Know Your Class­mates pro­gram asks kids to think about what it means to “be­long.”

For ex­am­ple:

Would you rather be part of the “in” group or be an out­sider?

Do you go along with oth­ers who ex­clude cer­tain class­mates?

How would you feel af­ter a week, a month or a whole school year of be­ing iso­lated from oth­ers in your class?

What are stereo­types?

A stereotype is an idea that peo­ple have about a group or thing that may not be true. For ex­am­ple, some peo­ple think all kids with Asian an­ces­tors are re­ally smart.

But some­times stereo­types are hurt­ful. Some­times peo­ple judge oth­ers un­fairly based on race, gen­der or other char­ac­ter­is­tics be­fore they even know the per­son. These judg­ments are called bi­ases.

Do you think you’ve ever been stereo­typed by oth­ers? Were the stereo­types pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive?

Do you have bi­ases against cer­tain peo­ple or groups?

How can you over­come your bi­ases?

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