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The Bully Asleep


  • pg 1
									SEAL and Literacy Anti-Bullying

                             The Bully Asleep

                       One afternoon, when grassy
                    Scents through the classroom crept,
                        Bill Craddock laid his head
                       Down on the desk, and slept.

                       The children came round him,
                         Jimmy, Roger, and Jane;
                        They lifted his head timidly
                           And let it sink again.

                   ‘Look, he’s gone sound asleep, Miss’,
                             Said Jimmy Adair,
                     ‘He stays up all the night, you see,
                          His mother doesn’t care’.

                      ‘Stand away from him, children’
                       Miss Andrews stooped to see.
                          ‘Yes he’s asleep, go on
                      With your writing and let him be.’

                  ‘Now’s a good chance whispered Jimmy;
                    And he snatched Bill’s pen and hid it.
                      ‘Kick him under the desk, hard;
                         He won’t know who did it.

                      ‘Fill all his pockets with rubbish –
                          Paper, apple cores, chalk?
                          So they plotted, while Jane
                          Sat wide-eyed at their talk.

                           Not caring, not hearing
                         Bill Craddock he slept on;
                         Lips parted, eyes closed –
                              Their cruelty gone.

                    ‘Stick him with pins!’ muttered Roger
                         ‘Ink down his neck! said Jim.
                          But Jane tearful and foolish,
                            Wanted to comfort him.

                                  John Walsh
SEAL and Literacy Anti-Bullying

Warm Up/Preparation

Walking in space: slowly, relaxed, at peace with yourself and everyone else.
Gradually work through a series of states of increasing emotional concern.

Stage 0 – relaxed, easy, untroubled, and content
Stage 1 – slightly uncomfortable, you feel out of place here, with these
people but you know you can’t leave, you think others don’t like or accept you
Stage 2 – people are definitely unfriendly, they disapprove of you, and some
have given you quite hostile looks
Stage 3 – you actually sense that the others are hostile and possibly mean to
do you harm, there is no one to befriend you, you are looking for a way out
but there is none.

Close your eyes. There is something in your life that is currently looming large
– a feeling, relationship or event perhaps. Think about this ‘thing’; focus on it.
As you breathe feel the weight of the thing – or feel lifted by it. Be honest
about how the ‘thing’ makes you feel physically – how does it make you feel in
the feet, ankles, knees, stomach, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, head
and face? How do you wear the presence of this ‘thing’ on your face? Walk
around the room ‘wearing’ this feeling. Slowly exaggerate the features of your
state. Don’t look at anyone else.

Stop. Half the group relax and watch. Other half - close your eyes,
concentrate and begin to walk on the instruction – build the exaggeration


Going Further

Two drawings. (i) draw the feeling of being confident/valued (ii) draw the
feeling of being alone/worthless.

In threes show and explain your drawings. If you’re listening, try to listen really
well and respond with a question or comment.

Choose two states: one happy/one unhappy from the ones you have heard
about and discussed. Make a physical tableau of that drawing/mood – trying
to capture the ‘essence’ of each. Find a way of moving slowly, degree by
degree from one state to the other and then back again eg sad-happy-sad or
happy-sad-happy. The movement should be slow and ‘agreed’ – by
concentrating you should be able to do this together so that you start and
finish together at the same time. This exercise is often called, ‘The Essence

See some of those – use the ‘gallery’ method -half the group take up their
tableaux the other half watch or see volunteer trios in turn.

SEAL and Literacy Anti-Bullying

The Bully Asleep

Hand out the poem, ‘The Bully Asleep’ by John Walsh.

Reading exercises. Take the poem for a walk. When you get to the end go
back to the beginning – read continuously.

Change direction:      (i) at the end of each line
                       (ii) at each punctuation mark

Groups of 5 or 6. Prepare a reading – changing voices, number of voices, you
can repeat words/phrases

Reading in a Circle:

       Conducted Reading. Conductor in circle directs the reading in terms of
       volume. Add a second conductor to direct pace of the reading if you

(Evaluate reading activities)

What’s the Beef?

What sort of ‘bully’ is Bill Craddock? It’s not easy to tell from the poem alone
but we need to establish that he is bullying and that there are reasons – not
excuses – why the boys (Jimmy and Roger) want to take their revenge whilst
he sleeps.

Possible ways:

Teacher in Role. Asks the class – whilst Bill is absent – about Bill’s
behaviour. Who has been bullied? What can the group do together?


Hot seat Jimmy or Roger. Get them to talk about their treatment at Bill’s


Tableau. Show Bill bullying one or both of the boys. You can invent some
‘friends’ for Bill. Ask groups (of 6 or 7) to show you three sequential pictures.
The moment before the bullying incident, the moment of the bullying and the
moment afterwards.

Any of these will foreground the central issue – that Bill is a bully and that
there are children in the class who have been hurt or terrorised by him.
SEAL and Literacy Anti-Bullying

Poem Moment in Tableau

Form groups of 5. (4s are OK – omit Roger)

Look carefully at the poem and choose a moment from the poem to enact in a
tableau. The moment should be set in the classroom.

You can use people in the following ‘roles’ – Bill, Jimmy (Adair), Roger, Jane,
Miss Andrews. We’re looking for a high quality, dramatic tableau – think detail:
hands, direction of eye-line, facial expression, distant and proximity are key
aspects in interpreting the tableau.

If you don’t want to cast all the school characters then look for a more abstract
interpretation of your chosen detail or line. Eg choose two or three characters
and use more than one actor to represent different/conflicting moods or
feelings in the characters. All 4/5 actors can represent one of the characters if
you want – as long as the tableau represents a moment from the action in the

Show these pieces and use the comment starters to give feedback to each
group (perhaps)

Tableau Stories

Stay in the same group. This tableau will be your starting and finishing
position. Look at the lines,

‘He stays up all the night, you see,
       His mother doesn’t care.’

As a group you need to devise a tableau that represents these lines about
Bill’s home life. When it’s devised work on a presentation that starts with the
classroom scene, ‘melts’ in slow motion into the ‘home’ picture and then melts
again back into the classroom.

‘Home’ – Three Word Plays

Now focus on the ‘home’ tableau. Devise and improvised a scene of Billy’s
home life – bring that picture to life – stress no physical violence when
working with the children. Invent the characters and let’s see them interacting.
The scene should start and end in the same tableau. The group should devise
a short scene or play in which they may only use 3 words. These words can
be used repeatedly and by the different characters. (Talk about Forum
Theatre possibilities eg put Miss Andrews into the scene – knock at the door!!)

SEAL and Literacy Anti-Bullying

When we’ve seen them everyone leaves their group of five and finds a space
on their own. Walk around avoiding people until asked to ‘contact’. Pair up
quickly and swap ‘champagne moments’ from the work so far – it could be
from the early exercises, the tableaux or the improvisation – something you’ve
seen or participated in that you judge to be useful – something that you will
‘keep’ and use in school.

Character Exploration

In space stop. Sit down. Think yourself into one of the following characters
from the poem: Jimmy, Jane or Miss Andrews. Think about your home life, the
people close to you. How do others see you? How do you see yourself? Think
about where you live, what you enjoy, what you want in life – most important –
what do you think of Bill Craddock? Think up a sentence that captures your
feelings about him. Rehearse that sentence over and over in your head. Walk
around the room. Exchange your line with others.

Mutter – speak – shout – speak – mutter – whisper – silence.

Stand eyes closed – whisper your sentence – if you are tapped on the
shoulder say your sentence out load – over and over – until you hear
someone else saying theirs – listen carefully to others’ lines – Can you identify
the character speaking? Think about what you have heard and which interest
you most.

Form a circle. In the circle there are 3 chairs. Ask someone to nominate a
sentence/character they’re interested in and why. That person sits on the Miss
Andrews, Jimmy or Jane chair in the middle of the circle. Everyone else
sits/stands around the outside in a circle.

One of the characters is nominated to start by saying his/her line again. This
time the other characters in the circle respond to that line. They can ask
questions, comment or make a point of their own. If the talk falters the
character who began should repeat the starter line.

Now the starter moves on to one of the other two characters. However, this
time the people in the circle may intervene. By raising hands you can
comment on something someone has said or you can ask the ‘starter’ a

Now go on to the 3rd character to start. This time anyone from the group – at
any time – can stand up and replace any of the three characters. Once they
sit down the talk must stop until the new actor speaks his/her starter line and
then it continues. People may still ask questions of characters or comment on
them by raising their hand.

SEAL and Literacy Anti-Bullying

Group now looks at the references to Roger in the poem. What is his attitude
to Bill Craddock? What can we learn about Roger from the poem? Try to
make the group look in detail at the references eg What does ‘muttered’ imply
in the final stanza?

Teacher or Teaching Assistant works in role as Roger from the poem.
Children in circle watch as teacher does a very simple mime of Roger at
home/away from school – doing what he enjoys eg computer game, fishing.

When mime is finished group guess what it was and ask him questions about
himself. They don’t ask about school or Bill or anything in the poem. You want
the group to get to know Roger and to like him.

Now add another chair in the circle. This can be for anyone who wants to ask
Roger questions about Bill, his attitude to Bill, any stories he has about Bill.
BUT the person who sits down to ask the questions must introduce
him/herself and give his/her perspective eg Mr Harmer, Head Teacher; Mrs
Parker, Roger’s mother etc

This is a really important phase in this unit if you choose to do it. Roger is
‘everyman’ in this poem – wanting to be in with the crowd, wanting revenge on
Bill but probably not willing to take him on – even – perhaps – someone who
is a potential bully himself.

Tie/Blazer focus.

Teacher in role. Calls class together. Shows them the school tie. You expect
that they’ve heard what’s happened from the talk in the playground. You can
imagine how everyone is feeling. Just in case there is anyone who hasn’t
heard what’s happened you’re going to ask them what they know about the
incident. You’re going to go round the circle –everyone is going to tell the truth
and can add just one piece of information to the growing picture of what
happened. You can defer if you feel that you can’t add anything. Remember
each person adds just ONE piece of information. Teacher can record each
addition on flip chart so that a picture of what has happened is built up slowly.
Important that no-one starts talking out of turn or shouts out.

The Empty Place (a slightly different version of School Tie above)

Form groups of 3 or 4.

Set up the table and chair. This is the bully’s place. This belongs to Bill
SEAL and Literacy Anti-Bullying

This place in the class is empty. Billy has not been at school since before
summer half term.

You all know why Billy has been absent from school. Some of you were
actually witnesses to what happened to him that evening after school.

Opposite the table and chair is a child’s training shoe – Bill’s trainer.

Witnesses: Miss Andrews, Mr/s Craddock (Bill’s mother/father)

Appeals Committee.
The group is an appeals committee.

Billy Craddock has been excluded from school for bullying. His mother is here
to appeal the decision to exclude him permanently from school.

Mick Connell                                              September 2007

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