Anti-Bullying Project Chief Sunrise School, Northwest Territories
I want to tell you about the week I just spent with students from K’atl’odeeche First Nation at Chief Sunrise School producing an anti-bullying multi-media project. When we got together on Monday morning, all we had was a name, ‘SETS’ANI…the Slavey word that means, ‘be a friend.’ By the end of the week, we’d written and recorded an original song, created an encouraging and exciting game, coloured huge posters and produced a video.
Day #1 – Brainstorming & Breakout Sessions
We started with a brainstorming session and compared our personal experiences. We found there was a lot of common ground when it came to how bullying made each of us feel. For our first breakout session, the kids came up with lists of nice words and mean words and we started making a list on the board.
I set up my camera and recording equipment in a quiet office space and some of the kids came in for a one-on-one interview. Their stories told in their words was the perfect beginning for our video.
One particular idea emerged when a little girl named Claudia described how her initial bullying experience led to a friendship. She concluded her story with, “now we’re BFF’s”
The phrase jumped out at me, and when I mentioned it to the teacher later that day, she told me they’d been using it in their anti-bullying strategy.
Be a good friend
Use a Friendly voice
Find a solution
We started writing lyrics and BFF became a great refrain for the kids to sing/scream in the chorus.
Be a buddy, not a bully
A joke that hurts isn’t funny
Words can build us up big and tall
Or tear us down make us feel small
Day #2/3 – Creating A Game
On the second day, we created a game. The game starts with a stack of cards lying face down on the ground. There is one SETS’ANI card (printed in green) one card with a mean word on it (printed in black) and all the other cards have nice words on them. The kids coloured in the bubble letters of the nice words and we included the Slavey translation below, which was a great way to incorporate their traditional language. For the game, kids take turns picking up a card without showing anyone. When they flip them over, the person with the SETS’ANI card needs to ‘be a friend’ and take the mean word away and replace it with a nice word.
The game highlights how random and unfair bullying is, and how each of us has the right and responsibility to be a good friend and support those around us. The kids had fun taking the bad word away and tearing it up, stomping on it or crumpling it up…cause they knew they didn’t want to keep those bad words around to reuse them!
We wrote a song that had a simple little ‘oh-oh-oh’ part, and of course the big BFF crescendo. Throughout the project, the kids had lots of opportunities to be involved. Colouring the letters of the nice words, creating big BFF posters, being interviewed, singing, acting and playing the SETS’ANI game gave everyone an opportunity to work together. After they learned to play the game we started filming scenes in the classroom and on the playground, so the game was played in the actual environment where bullying often happens.
Day #4/5 Recording & Filming
On Thursday and Friday, I set my portable recording equipment up in the classroom and we recorded a number of takes live off the floor. At the end of the week, I took the tracks into the recording studio and added some vocals and guitar. Once I was finished editing the video, I added a little music for the intro and the ending of the song to fit with the story we were telling.
We ended up with a great finished product, and just as importantly, (in my humble opinion) had an amazing experience through the process. 🙂 After the week we spent together, the teachers and students from Chief Sunrise hosted an official screening. Chief and Council, family members, the RCMP and members of the media attended the event where the students were happy to give interviews after unveiling their video.
Please feel free to share this video with any teachers, schools or students you know who are struggling with bullying or looking for positive solutions to use in their classrooms. Maybe you can adapt the SETS’ANI game to your classroom and discover what word in your language means, ‘Be a Friend’ You can download SETS’ANI HERE.
I hope you enjoy the video and please leave encouraging comments below as I’m passing them all on to the kids!
Hi, my name is Rik Leaf. I love everything I get to do as a Recording Artist, Producer, Slam Poet, and Writer, as I help students discover the unique opportunities their talents, interests, and abilities can provide.
I’m excited to offer teachers and schools my Online Slam Poetry Training Course. I’m sharing the best lessons I developed over the last 10 years teaching slam poetry to thousands of students. And right now I’m offering a 2-week slam poetry email course FREE!
I’m also really excited about the massively successful, Songwriting in Schools Program, and the release of Listen to Our Story / Écoutez Notre Histoire. This album was written and recorded with thousands of First Nations, French Immersion, and English students from across Canada. For a limited time, you can DOWNLOAD this ALBUM FOR FREE!