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					                       Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                 By Teresa Burke

1. Title:
                                Introducing Principled Nonviolence
                                  The Popular Bully
                                         By Teresa Burke
2.               Grade level                     Class size                  Time/Duration
                 Fifth Grade                      25 – 35               7 - 12 Session/45 min.

1. Subject:
                           Language Arts
                           Character Education
                           Conflict Resolution

2. Goals:

        a. To introduce students to the idea of taking responsibility for social change in the school;
        b. To develop students‟ understanding of the goals of ahimsa as a power for change;
        c. To give students a preliminary understanding of the process of ahimsa as a means to
           conflict resolution;
        d. To introduce students to the skills of ahimsa as a means of social change;
        e. To help students develop an appreciation for the power of ahimsa in their personal lives.

                        a) Students will continue their journey into the field of nonviolence,
                           beginning to understand the idea of principled nonviolence; and
                           awakening their appreciation of ahimsa as a means to effect social
                           change in their immediate environment;
                        b) Students will deepen their understanding of the vocabulary of
                           nonviolence, thus allowing them to absorb new information about
                           the means and end of conflict resolution in their own lives, as a
                           prelude to the next lesson, a simulated injustice/civil disobedience
                           situation with direct consequences.

3. Objectives:
     a. Students will read and discuss the book My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig and Abigail
     b. Students will read the story Simon‟s Hook, by Karen Gedig Burnett.
     c. Students will engage in an interactive discussion about bullying at their school in a free
         and engaged manner
     d. Students will complete a worksheet on bullying from the book, A Bully Free Classroom by
         Allan L. Beane, PhD

                       Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                 By Teresa Burke

         e. Students will read, study and perform a play called, The Popular Bully by Teresa Burke.
            (See CAUTION note for teachers.)
         f. Students will read the book, Our Gandhi retold by V. Mylo Schaaf from Gandhi the Man
            by Eknath Easwaran.
         g. Students will break down the components of the play to identify the process of Ahimsa as
            demonstrated by the characters.
         h. Students will engage in a discussion of the goals of Ahimsa, as they perceived them in the
            performance of the play.
         i. Students will write a persuasive essay stating their position on whether the conflict
            resolution approach in the play could be realistically carried out at their school
   4. Standards:

Language Arts Fifth Grade
2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)

Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They describe and connect the
essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives of the text by using their knowledge of text
structure, organization, and purpose.

Structural Features of Informational Materials
 2.2 Analyze text that is organized in sequential or chronological order.

Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
 2.3 Discern main ideas and concepts presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence
that supports those ideas.
 2.4 Draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them with textual
evidence and prior knowledge.

Expository Critique
2.5 Distinguish facts, supported inferences, and opinions in text.

3.0 Literary Response and Analysis

2.4 Write persuasive letters or compositions:
a. State a clear position in support of a proposal.
b. Support a position with relevant evidence.
c. Follow a simple organizational pattern.
d. Address reader concerns.

Written and Oral English Language Conventions
1.0 Written and Oral English Language Conventions

Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions appropriate to this
grade level.
                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

 Sentence Structure
 1.1 Identify and correctly use prepositional phrases, appositives, and independent and
dependent clauses; use transitions and conjunctions to connect ideas.

1.2 Identify and correctly use verbs that are often misused (e.g., lie/ lay, sit/ set, rise/ raise),
modifiers, and pronouns.

 1.3 Use a colon to separate hours and minutes and to introduce a list; use quotation marks
around the exact words of a speaker and titles of poems, songs, short stories, and so forth.

1.4. Use correct capitalization.

1.5 Spell roots, suffixes, prefixes, contractions, and syllable constructions correctly.

Listening and Speaking

1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies

Students deliver focused, coherent presentations that convey ideas clearly and relate to the
background and interests of the audience. They evaluate the content of oral communication.

1.1 Ask questions that seek information not already discussed.
1.2 Interpret a speaker's verbal and nonverbal messages, purposes, and perspectives.
1.3 Make inferences or draw conclusions based on an oral report.

Organization and Delivery of Oral Communication
1.4 Select a focus, organizational structure, and point of view for an oral presentation.
1.5 Clarify and support spoken ideas with evidence and examples.
1.6 Engage the audience with appropriate verbal cues, facial expressions, and gestures.

 Analysis and Evaluation of Oral and Media Communications
 1.7 Identify, analyze, and critique persuasive techniques (e.g., promises, dares, flattery,
glittering generalities); identify logical fallacies used in oral presentations.

2.0 Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)

Students deliver well-organized formal presentations employing traditional rhetorical strategies
(e.g., narration, exposition, persuasion, description). Student speaking demonstrates a
command of standard American English and the organizational and delivery strategies outlined
in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0.
                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

 Using the speaking strategies of grade five outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0,

 2.2 Deliver informative presentations about an important idea, issue, or event by the following
a.     Frame questions to direct the investigation.
b.     Establish a controlling idea or topic.
c.     Develop the topic with simple facts, details, examples, and explanations.

 2.3 Deliver oral responses to literature:
a.     Summarize significant events and details.
b.     Articulate an understanding of several ideas or images communicated by the literary
c.     Use examples or textual evidence from the work to support conclusions.

   5. Summary of lesson:

The subject of bullying as a social problem within the classroom and school is introduced through
children‟s literature. The issue of bullying is explored further before the class performs an original play
about a popular bully. The play is then analyzed in terms of nonviolence as a choice: both on a pragmatic
level and on a principled level. The term, ahimsa, is introduced and discussed via the play and a
children‟s book about Gandhi. The goals of ahimsa are identified as reflected by the play, and the process
of nonviolence presented in the unfolding of the drama is identified, discussed and recorded on the
classroom walls. Students then write a persuasive essay taking a position on whether the nonviolent
approach used in the play could be realistically taken at their school.

CAUTION NOTE FOR TEACHERS: Parental approval or opportunity for pre-reading may be
advisable. The play includes a hunger strike by students, and the concerns of proper nutrition
and/or the prevalence of eating disorders among today’s teens may dissuade some parents from
embracing the materials.

Background for teachers: For a discussion of ahimsa, see Gandhi the Man, by Eknath Easwaran, pages
151 – 154. For greater literacy about the use of nonviolence, see Passion for Peace by Stuart Rees. For a
good description of bullies, see Tongue Fu! At School, by Sam Horn, pages 192 – 193.

   6. Questions to consider:

          Why is bullying an age-old problem?
          Are there new ways to address an old problem?
          What is ahimsa?
          What happens when ahimsa is applied to a bullying situation?
          What is power? How does it affect bullies?
          Who has real power in a peer conflict situation?
                      Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                By Teresa Burke

7. Materials needed:
     a. Worksheets/textbooks
              i. Copies of a survey from A Bully Free Classroom, pages 28 – 30.
             ii. Copies of The Popular Bully, a play by Teresa Burke
     b. Primary or secondary sources
              i. Book: Simon‟s Hook by Karen Gedig Burnett
             ii. Book: My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig and Abigail Marble
            iii. Book: A Bully Free Classroom, by Allan L. Beane, Ph.D., page 28 – 30.
            iv. Play: A Popular Bully, by Teresa Burke (attached)
             v. Book: Our Gandhi, retold by V. Mylo Schaaf from Gandhi the Man by Eknath

8. Vocabulary
      Bullying                             Power
      Nonviolence                          Ahimsa
      Pragmatic nonviolence                Humiliation
      Principled nonviolence               Conversion

9. Interdisciplinary approach: This lesson uses children‟s literature to address key social issues
   dealing with everyday conflicts directly applicable to children‟s lives. It ties in historical facts of
   nonviolent movements around the world to guide the concepts underlying the play. Other
   literature sources around bullying can be incorporated, and more emphasis can be placed on the
   history of nonviolent action to achieve political and social change. The final project is a piece of
   persuasive writing, which can bridge into persuasive writing on other topics.

10. Assessment: Assessment is done informally by evaluating the level to which is student is
    engaged in discussions and performing the play. Informal assessment of worksheet completion
    also focuses on the level of engagement. Formal assessment evaluates the persuasive writing
    piece against the standards, and evaluates the oral presentations against the listening and speaking

11. Instructional Plan:
     Teacher instruction                                                    Student Action
     DAY ONE

         1. Introduction/Hook
         Read aloud the book My Secret Bully. Discuss the subject           Students listen to read-aloud.
         of the book as a whole class. Have the students do a short
         free write on their reactions to the book. Read the book           Students write personal
         Simon‟s Hook. Follow with the same activities. Show the            responses in journals.
         picture of the female stick figures to trigger discussion.

         2. Lesson/Activity

                Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                          By Teresa Burke

        Begin with a whole class discussion of bullying.            Students share knowledge and
         Brainstorm a definition with examples. Using a 1-5          experiences with bullying.
         scale, have students rate on their fingers how big a        Students vote on their fingers
         problem bullying is in schools today. Talk about the        on the scope of bullying as a
         history of bullying, the studies on the problems            problem in their lives.
         bullies encounter in later life, and anecdotal
         information about bullying from your experience or          Students listen while direct
         that of other adults. (Thus emphasizing that old            teaching takes place on the
         solutions are not working and new ones need to be           data regarding the problems
         found.) See A Bully Free Classroom, by Allan L.             bullies encounter later in life.
         Beane, Ph.D.

      Pass out copies of the bullying worksheet for students Students complete the
       to complete. Tally the results and report them out to bullying worksheet
       the class.                                             anonymously. They reflect
                                                              on the class data revealed by
DAY TWO                                                       the worksheet.

        Pass out copies of the play. Do a read through              Students read the play silently
         together as a class. Assign parts (this play works best     or aloud as a class.
         if students are given parts based on their skills, rather
         than allowing them to choose their favorite part. The       Students are assigned parts
         issues are sensitive and personal.)                         and then practice their parts in
                                                                     small groups.
        Students not assigned parts become the audience, the
         stagehands, sound and timing prompters. To begin            Full production of the play is
         practicing, have students with parts practice to the        optional, as is video recorder.
         “audience” in small groups.


        Rehearse the play several times. Videotape the final        Students listen to the
         production when appropriate. Be sure to obtain              biography of Gandhi,
         proper parental consent. Play the video/DVD for the         developing an understanding
         class.                                                      of ahimsa in light of the
                                                                     actions in the play.

        Read Our Gandhi to the students, discussing the             Students participate in an
         concept of non-violence as a way of life, and as an         analysis of the play, offering
         approach in conflict resolution.                            ideas about both the process
                                                                     used by Lisa in the play, and
        Brainstorm as a whole class the components of the           the goals of the characters,
         actions taken by Lisa in the play to resolve the            that is the outcome they
         conflict. Record and post in the classroom. Label           desired.
         this “The Steps of Ahimsa.”
                     Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                               By Teresa Burke

             In a whole class discussion, use Socratic questioning
              to have the student identify the goals of the
              nonviolent actions demonstrated in the play. Record
              and post in the classroom as “The Goals of Ahimsa.”

             Introduce the vocabulary “pragmatic nonviolence”
              and “principled nonviolence.”


        3. Conclusion

        Outline the writing assignment. The students will write a        Students write a persuasive
        persuasive essay taking a position on whether the actions        essay taking a position on
        taken in the play could realistically be accomplished at their   whether the actions taken in
        school.                                                          the play could realistically be
                                                                         accomplished at their school.
        Follow the full writing process. Post and publish the            Papers are then presented to
        finished work. Students are evaluated in their presentations     the class.
        under the listening and speaking standards.

12. Reflection: The application of nonviolence as a principle and historical reality to schoolyard
    bullying may seem like a stretch at first. The play is meant to bridge the distance. It is a new
    approach to an old problem that puts the solution in the hands of students, rather than telling
    students to „report” bullying (often seen as tattling) or “walk away” which most children will
    agree rarely solves the problem long term. The play is not the lesson. The lesson is about the
    principal of nonviolence. Without the social and historical foundation, the play is an isolated
    example, which may not stimulate the kind of thoughtful inquiry intended by the key questions.

13. References of all sources
       a. Primary sources
       b. Secondary sources

                 i. Burnett, Karen Gedig. Simon‟s Hook. Roseville, CA: GR Publishing, 2000
                ii. Ludwig, Trudy and Marble, Abigail. My Secret Bully. Ashland, Oregon:
                    RiverWood Books, 2004
              iii. Beane, Ph.D., Allan L. A Bully Free Classroom. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit
                    Publishing, Inc., 1999
               iv. A Popular Bully. By Teresa Burke, an original play, 2006 (attached)
                v. Easwaran, Ekanth. Gandhi the Man. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press, 1997.
               vi. Retold by Schaaf, Mylo V. Our Gandhi, from Easwaran, Eknath. Gandhi The Man.
                    Tomales, California: Nilgiri Press, 2000
              vii. Rees, Stuart. Passion for Peace. Australia: University of new South Wales, 2003
             viii. Horn, Sam. Tongue Fu! At School. Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2004
               ix. Omer, Haim. Nonviolent Resistance. Cambridge: University of Cambridge, 2004
              Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                        By Teresa Burke

c. Pictures

                      Quic kTime™ and a
                  TIFF (LZW) decompressor
               are needed to s ee this pic ture.

                      Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                By Teresa Burke

                            The Popular Bully
                                        By Teresa Burke

 Teresa Burke 2006. This play is in copyright. Limited permission is granted to teachers to
copy the play for classroom use only. No other reproduction of any part may take place
without written permission.

Author’s Note: Written for pre-teens, this drama involves a hunger strike by children. The
strike involves only one meal of the day, and caution was taken to address the need for
parental guidance and proper nourishment in such a situation. Given concerns of eating
disorders in today’s young people, the author cautions teachers to consider parental
permission or pre-reading.

Setting: An elementary school in California. Placed in an urban area and on a busy
thoroughfare, the school serves a diverse and impoverished population.


Jason – the bully
Alex – his sidekick
Lisa – a very determined fifth grader
Martin – the victim
Sheri – a basketball star
Ms. Woods – fifth grade teacher
Dyanne – a classmate
Nathan – a classmate
10 – 21 other students
Yard Duty #1
Yard Duty #2
Lunch worker #1
Lunch worker #2
Bus Driver
PE teacher – (not a talking part)

Stagehands: 2 - 4

Props: chairs for each student, desks for each student, bucket to hold basketballs, cardboard
bus frame, basketball hoop, telephone, and “Bully Free Zone” sign, door frame, garbage can.

                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

                                    Act I - Thursday
Scene I:   On the playground at morning recess. Martin is playing basketball alone, while
other boys and girls are playing games of football and basketball nearby.

Narrator: It is a normal Thursday at school, and Jason, the school bully, is dominating the
games at recess as usual. Also as usual, the teachers never seem to notice.

Jason: Don‟t kick it that way. You‟ll lose it up on the roof, and then what?

Alex: Whatever! Catch this one! (Alex kicks the ball to a group of boys, including Jason.)

Jason: (Shoving other boys with his elbow, catches the football.) Check it out. Mine again!

Martin: (Mumbling.) So what else is new?

Jason: Heads up! (Jason then kicks the ball, and it lands on the roof.)

Alex: Oh fine! And you were yelling at me!

Jason: Whatever! Let‟s play basketball. (Jason and Alex walk over to Martin. The others follow.)
Hey Martin, let‟s play a game.

Martin: No thanks. I‟m just shootin‟ hoops.

Jason: Yeah, well you can shoot hoops during the game. Me and Alex are captains. I‟ll choose
first. (He grabs the ball from Martin and other students gather round.)

Martin: Hey, that‟s my ball.

Jason: You know the rules. Everybody gets to play. I got first. I choose Damarri.

Alex: I got Sheri. (The boys continue pointing to players and the teams are formed.)

Martin: (Turning to the teacher who is nearby.) Ms. Woods ……? Ah, never mind.

Ms. Woods: (Talking to another teacher.) Did you see the notice about the meeting tomorrow?

(Actors exit. Stagehands bring in table. Students walk in with their chairs.)

Scene II:     The class is sitting at long tables eating lunch in the cafeteria.
                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

Yard Duty I: Room 5B you are dismissed! (The class leaves for the playground.)

(Martin and Jason both head for the bucket where Martin has left his basketball. Jason grabs the ball

Martin: Hey, that‟s mine!

Jason: (Pushes his chest out at Martin to scare him.) Come and get it then! (Jason takes the ball and
joins Alex and others walking quickly to the playground.)

Lisa: (Walking up behind Martin.) Martin, what‟s up?

Martin: Oh nothing.

Lisa: Why do you let that Jason bully you? You should stick up for yourself?

Martin: Right. Like how? Fighting? I‟d get killed.

Lisa: Yeah, he‟s a big dude. Why don‟t you tell someone?

Martin: Right again. How many times has he told me on the bus that he‟d bust my lip if I tried
to blame him for anything?

Lisa: Yeah, I just try to stay away from him.

Martin: If only it was that easy. (They walk out to the playground. Lisa goes off to play basketball
with Sheri and Dyanne. Martin stands alone.)

(Stagehands bring bus front to the table.)

Scene III:     The students are entering the bus to go home after school.

Narrator: After another day at school, the students take a school bus home. Jason‟s behavior
continues, typical of every day.

Jason: Move back, Martin. Me an‟ Alex sit in the exit row. (Martin moves a row back.)

Alex: How‟d you get the football back?

Jason: Mr. Carter brought it to the classroom. I guess somebody went up and got it. Ms.
Woods knew it was mine.

                        Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                  By Teresa Burke

Alex: Doesn‟t hurt you bein‟ teacher‟s pet.

Jason: I like Ms. Woods, she‟s cool.

Alex: Just „cause she gives you the answers!

Jason: She does not. She just likes to help, that‟s all. She knows I‟m special. (Grins.)

Alex: Man, you got it made. Football, teacher‟s pet, plus you get out of all the hard stuff!

Jason: Whatever! Did you see Sheri today? She looked good, and man she‟s got game! I hope
she‟s on fire for our first game.

Martin: (Sitting two rows behind, he turns to talk to Nathan next to him.) I like Ms. Woods, too, but
why does Jason get all the attention? She is always helping him. She probably doesn‟t even
know I‟m in her class.

Nathan: I know what you mean. The other day, I thought she was looking at me, but she was
looking right past me. I‟m not sure she even knew I was there.

Sheri: (To Jason as she walks down the aisle to her seat.) Hey, what‟s up? Got your football back?
You owe me, you know. It‟s thanks to me you got it back!

Jason: What? Huh? How?

Sheri: (laughing with her friends, Lisa and Dyanne) Yeah, we saw the whole thing, and we got Mr.
Carter to go up after it. He‟s pretty cool, you know.

Jason: Yeah, to you! He thinks you‟re so righteous.

Sheri: We are, and I‟m still waiting for my “thank you.” (Laughs nervously and moves down the
aisle, smiling at Martin and Nathan.)

Dyanne: (Turning to Sheri as they sit down.) I don‟t know why you help him, he doesn‟t even say
“thank you.”

Lisa: It never hurts to do something nice.

Sheri: Yeah, plus he‟s the best on the team and he‟s so cool. Anyway, it helps to stay on his
good side. He‟s not somebody you want to mess with.

Dyanne: I know what you mean.
                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

Lisa: Yep (nodding her head with emphasis.)

(Students sit down and other students come in with their chairs.)

                                    Act II - Friday
Scene I: Fifth grade classroom, social studies lesson.

Narrator: It is now Friday, and the students have been studying Colonial American and the
Revolutionary War. Their teacher has been comparing and contrasting famous people and
beliefs from then and now. The students pay close attention, since, they sense she is building
up to something.

Ms. Woods: The idea Martin Luther King had of using nonviolence to change the world, the
idea that Mahatma Gandhi called Ahimsa: would it have worked for the Patriots in Colonial
America? We will never know. The British used violence in the Boston Massacre and
unarmed people were killed. Other injustices existed as well: the Stamp Act, the Quartering
Act. The colonists were taxed without representation in the government. They were not
treated as equals. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, “ said Dr. King in his
Letter from the Birmingham City Jail in April of 1963. In the same letter, he told us that the
biggest problem he faced in his time was not the people who actively opposed him, but those
who were more dedicated to keeping “order” than to working for justice. You know. “Law and
Order.” Were there colonists who were willing to tolerate injustice just because they were
afraid that their own place in the order of things might change?

How many of you have failed to act in the face of injustice, because you didn‟t want everyone
staring at you? How many of you have failed to help someone who was being treated unfairly,
because you didn‟t want to lose friends? How many of you have failed to stop unfairness,
because you were afraid it wasn‟t cool? How many of you have stood by and watched bullying
take place, because it was your „supposed‟ friends doing the bullying? How many of us in life
have failed to do what is right because fighting was the only option we knew? Think about this
as you line up for lunch. (The class lines up at the door for lunch. Sheri is in front of Nathan with her

Jason: Why is everyone so quiet? It‟s just another boring lesson? Big deal. (He pushes his chest
out to scare Nathan, then cuts in front of him in line. The students all put their heads down, not looking
at each other.) Hey Sheri, you ready for our first game? We gotta go in there strong!

Sheri: (Smiles funny.) Yeah, we‟ll get „em.

                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

(The students walk uncomfortably off stage, taking their chairs.)

Scene II: Recess after lunch.

(Students are walking out the playground.)

Ms. Woods: Jason, can I talk to you a minute? (Jason goes over to talk to her. She is smiling and
nodding at him. They stand quietly talking)

Lisa: (Walking past Jason and Ms. Woods.) Alex, come on. We need the practice before the game
tomorrow (motioning to Alex to play basketball.)

Alex: (glances at Jason.) Okay – you‟re on.

Lisa: Come on, Martin. Join us.

Martin: Huh? Who me?

Lisa: Yeah, you. Let‟s see what you can do. (They start playing basketball, joined by Nathan, Sheri
and Dyanne and others. The game starts.)

(Jason comes over and joins the game. Ms. Woods exits.)

Jason: Martin, Ms. Woods wants you.

Martin: Huh?

Jason: She said for you to meet her at the classroom. (Martin looks puzzled, but follows Ms. Woods.
Nathan gives Jason a serious look.)

Lisa: Where‟s Martin going?

Alex: Jason told him Ms. Woods wanted him. Probably just to get rid of him. (Laughs. Lisa
looks at Jason, then where Martin walked out. Jason laughs.)

Jason: Don‟t worry about that loser. Come on! We‟re running out of time. (He passes the ball to
Lisa and they move off stage.)

Scene III: Outside the classroom

Martin: Ms. Woods, you wanted to see me?

Ms. Woods: No, Martin, I didn‟t.
                        Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                  By Teresa Burke

Martin: But, J……

Ms. Woods: Martin? What happened? Did someone send you over here?

Martin: No, Ms. Woods. Never mind.

Ms. Woods: Okay Martin, but if there is something wrong, I can‟t help if you don‟t tell me.

Martin: Yes, Ms. Woods.

Ms. Woods: Martin, let me ask you a question. (Martin pauses.) What did you think about our
compare and contrast lesson and the idea of Ahimsa?

Martin: Ahi…… What?

Ms. Woods: You know, using nonviolence to help people change - like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin: (stuttering), YYYeeeaaahhh, I I I gguueess it would work.

Ms. Woods: (laughs) I didn‟t mean to put you on the spot, Martin, but I‟ve really been thinking
about what it could mean for us, for students, right here, right now. That‟s why I‟m asking a
few students to think about it. Anyway, you go on to recess. How‟s your Mom doing with the
new baby?

Martin: Just fine, Ms. Woods. See ya. (He leaves.)

                           Act III – Friday night
Scene I: It is evening. Students are at home. Lisa calls Nathan on the

(Stagehands bring in table and telephone.)

Narrator: Lisa has been upset about Jason‟s bullying and the Ahimsa lesson has caused her to
think a great deal. She is troubled enough to call Friday night and check in with some of her
                        Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                  By Teresa Burke

Lisa: Nathan? It‟s me, Lisa. Listen, I know this is kind of weird, but just listen to me for a
minute, okay?

Nathan: What? Huh? O.K.

Lisa: After Ms. Woods‟ lesson, I‟ve been thinkin‟ about Jason. None of us want to admit it, but
he‟s a bully. He especially picks on Martin. We all just stand around and let it happen. It‟s
exactly what Ms. Woods was talking about. I‟m thinking about trying to do something about it.

Nathan: Whoa! What are you crazy? I‟m not messin‟ with Jason. That guy‟s crazy. I don‟t
want to die.

Lisa: Whatever! I‟m not asking anybody to be with me on this, but I‟m done with not talkin‟
about it. We all act like nothin‟s wrong. Bullying isn‟t right, and we all know it. Anyway, I‟m
just checkin‟ with a couple people, and I know you sit with Martin on the bus.

Nathan: Martin‟s okay. We‟re not friends or anything, but he‟s okay.

Lisa: Well, think about it. I really want it to stop. I‟m gonna call Sheri, too. (She hangs up the

Scene II: Same evening. Lisa calls Sheri

Lisa: Hey, Sher!

Sheri: Hi, Lisa! What‟s up? You stressin‟ about this decimal division, too?

Lisa: Yeah, a little, but that‟s not why I called. I‟ve been thinking about Jason.

Sheri: You think about him all you want! He‟s not mine. I‟d rather have nothin‟ to do with

Lisa: That‟s what I‟m talkin‟ „bout.

Sheri: What?

Lisa: What if none of us had anything to do with him? He‟s such a bully, and no one does
anything about it. Isn‟t that exactly what Ms. Woods was talking about with Ahimsa?

                        Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                  By Teresa Burke

Sheri: I DON‟T know! But I do know that I‟m not messin‟ with him. I mean Martin is okay,
and he probably doesn‟t deserve to be treated so bad, but he‟s not my problem. I‟m gonna just
play basketball and get through the year. I got enough without havin‟ Jason mad at me.

Lisa: Sounds to me like everyone is just afraid of him.

Sheri: Everyone is – that‟s because we‟re not stupid. Anyone who‟s not afraid of Jason is nuts!

Lisa: Call me „nuts‟ then. I think everyone‟s tired of it, but since Martin takes most of it, no one
else does anything. What if there was no Martin, and Jason treated us that way? We have to be
the change we want to see in the world. Martin can‟t do it. He would be pounded.

Sheri: Whatever! I‟ve got to finish my homework.

Lisa: Yeah, okay. See ya. (Hangs up phone.)

Scene III: Same night. Lisa calls Alex.

Lisa: Hey, Alex, this is Lisa.

Alex: Lisa, who?

Lisa: Lisa from school, you moron! How many Lisas do you know? Never mind. Listen, I‟m
calling about Jason.

Alex: What about Jason?

Lisa: I‟m tired of his bullying everyone. I‟m ready to do something to stop it.

Alex: Why are you telling me? I got Jason‟s back you know.

Lisa: Whatever. I don‟t know why I called you. (Hangs up.)

(Lisa and Alex exit. Students enter the room bringing in chairs.)

                                 Act IV - Monday
Scene I: The class is leaving with the PE teacher. Lisa stays behind to talk to
Ms. Woods while the other students exit.

                          Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                    By Teresa Burke

Narrator: As the class follows the PE teacher out on Monday morning, Lisa stays behind to tell
Ms. Woods about a plan she has developed after talking with her parents over the weekend.

Lisa: Ms. Woods, I want to do something here at school about someone who is a bully.
Something based on this Ahimsa idea.

Ms. Woods: (smiles) Wow! Good for you, Lisa. I‟d be happy to help, and remember there are
four basic steps to a nonviolent approach to change a person‟s thinking. The first is to make
sure you have all the facts. The second is to negotiate. The third is to prepare yourself. The
fourth is direct action. Remember also that success is based on unity with other people, and that
the goal is to really change the bully for the better.

Lisa: Okay, and I‟ve talked a lot to my parents. I really think the students need to handle this
one, Ms. Woods. I have a plan, and I‟d like to explain it to you. (The two of them walk off quietly

Scene II: Outside, near the classroom after recess in the morning.

(Stagehands set up desks, chairs and doorframe.)

(Martin is first in line. Lisa, Jason and Alex arrive at the same time from different directions.)

Narrator: The students are lining up to enter the classroom in the morning, and the word of
Lisa‟s phone calls has gotten around. Jason learned of it on the bus this morning.

Jason: (walks up to Lisa) I‟ve heard what you‟re up to, Lisa. You better not try messin‟ with me.
I‟ll see you after school.

Lisa: (Determined and unafraid.) I‟m not messin‟ with anybody, but I‟m gonna do what I think is

Jason: Whatever. Just watch your back. (Jason turns around to face Alex behind him.)

(Several students nearby look the other way, as if they didn’t hear this. Lisa stares at Alex. Alex shrugs
his shoulders and smiles at Jason.)

Martin: (Turning to Lisa.) Lisa, you okay?

Lisa: I‟m fine, thanks.

Jason: (Walks around Lisa and cuts in line in front of Martin.) Got a new girlfriend, Martin? Hey
everybody, Martin‟s in looooooove! (Laughs.)

                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

Sheri: Just ignore him, Lisa. (Lisa smiles at Sheri, and they all walk through the doorframe into the

Jason: Love, love, love….. (Laughing loudly.)

Ms. Woods: Jason, that‟s enough. Whatever is going on is not okay with me. Do you
understand? Now, get your math books out, please.

(All students exit. Stagehands move desks together to make long tables for the cafeteria.)

Scene III: The class is entering the cafeteria and picking up their food trays.

Narrator: The students are walking to the cafeteria for lunch. As they enter something
surprising happens. Not everyone notices.

Lunch worker #1: (Pantomimes dishing food onto a tray Lisa is holding.) Here you go!

Lisa: (Pantomimes pulling an empty tray back.) No, thank you. No, thank you. (Lisa is refusing to
take any food on her tray. Lisa walks out with the class to sit down. Her tray is empty.)

Dyanne: Lisa, what are you doing? Are you sick? You‟re going to starve. (The students sit

Lisa: I‟ve decided I will not eat lunch while bullying is going on right in front of us and nothing
is being done to stop it. I can‟t stop it alone, but I can let everyone know how I feel. (The students
all look at each other. They stare at Lisa. Lisa sits there quietly looking into space. The students look
puzzled and some try to eat faster.)

Narrator: Lisa‟s actions make many people uncomfortable. Lisa keeps her calm and stubbornly
does not eat or drink anything at all.

(Students are whispering to each other and pointing at Lisa. Lisa sits calmly and waits until the students
finish and put their trays away.)

Yard Duty #1: Room 5B; thank you for being quiet, you may line up at the door. (The class lines
up to exit.)

Yard Duty #2: Room 5B, you may be excused. (The class walks out to the playground.)

Jason: Hey, Lisa, hungry? Who do you think you are, Gandhi? He was an old man, remember?

                          Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                    By Teresa Burke

Alex: (Laughing too.) Come on, J, let‟s go. (They walk out to the playground.)

Sheri: Lisa, come on. Play basketball with us!

Lisa: Okay. (They run off to a court. Nathan and Dyanne and others join them.)

(They play awhile, and then Lisa walks over to the side.)

Nathan: Lisa, are you okay?

Lisa: Yeah, just tired.

(Stagehands remove chairs.)

                                    Act V – Friday
Scene I: The playground at morning recess

Narrator: It is now Friday, and Lisa has not eaten lunch all week. Many people have tried to
give her food during the day, but she has refused. Her Mom is very supportive of Lisa‟s beliefs
and makes sure that she eats a good breakfast and dinner. Even so, she has stopped playing
basketball at lunch, because she is so tired during the school day. Other students have noticed
and are talking about her.

Jason: Lisa is so dumb. She acts like some hero, but she‟s the only one going hungry. She can‟t
even play basketball anymore. Do you think she‟ll eat at lunch today?

Alex: (With a confused look on his face.) I guess. I don‟t know. She‟s pretty smart usually.

Jason: Starving yourself? That‟s just plain stupid. You don‟t see anyone else doing it, do you?
Whatever. (They start playing basketball with Sheri, Nathan and Dyanne.)

(Lisa is standing near the wall.)

Martin: (Walking over to Lisa.) Lisa, what‟s up? Why aren‟t you playing?

Lisa: I‟m trying to make a statement, Martin. I wish other people would be strong enough to
stand up to Jason. I‟m trying to make them think and act together to stop his bullying.

Martin: I‟m really the only one he picks on.

                          Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                    By Teresa Burke

Lisa: If it weren‟t you, it would be one of us. Anyway, bullying is everyone‟s business. Do you
know that kids who are bullies in school often end up committing crimes as grown-ups? I want
to stop Jason from ruining his future, as much as I want to try to make our school a better place

Martin: I‟d join you, but I‟d just get beat up. Plus, my Mom would have a fit.

Lisa: It‟s okay, Martin. It shouldn‟t be just your problem. That‟s what I want people to see.

Scene II: In the cafeteria at lunch.

(Stagehands bring in desks and chairs and set up desks as long tables for the cafeteria.)

Narrator: The students are entering the cafeteria at lunch. Word has spread during the week
and all the students in the class, and many from other classes, know what Lisa is doing. They
are all staring at her. Jason is angry.

Sheri: Over here, Lisa!

(Lisa looks over. Sheri is sitting at a separate table with Nathan, Dyanne and several members of the
basketball team. There is a sign on the wall above the table that says, “Bully Free, Please.”)

Yard Duty #1: It‟s okay, Lisa. You don‟t have to sit with your class. We cleared it with the
principal when your friends decided they wanted to join you.

Lisa: Join me? (She looks confused. Then she notices that everyone at the new table has an empty tray.
She smiles and walks over.)

(Meanwhile, Jason and Alex are sitting with the rest of the class eating.)

Jason: If they think this has anything to do with me, they better think again. Those guys are
crazy. It‟s not my problem. (Grabs cookies from Martin’s tray.)

Martin: Hey, leave that alone!

Jason: Come and get it, Martin! What are you going to do, go call the bully police? (Laughs.)
Hey, Alex, want some cookies? (Opens the bag and shares with Alex. Alex eats the cookies, but looks

Lisa: Did you see what he did? That‟s just wrong.

                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

Sheri: Yeah, but is starving ourselves gonna change the way he treats Martin?

Lisa: It‟s only the first part of my plan. (She leans over and whispers to the group.)

Scene III: Students are getting off the bus at a bus stop at the end of the day.

(Stagehands bring in bus frame.)

Narrator: At the end of the day, the students get off the bus near their apartments. Things are
very tense.

(Alex and Jason exit the bus first. A piece of paper falls on the ground.)

Alex: Jason, what‟s that? Something fell out of your backpack.

Jason: (Reaches down and picks up a note. Stands there reading it and gets a funny look on his face. )
Nothin‟. It ain‟t mine. (Drops the note. The boys walk home.)

Martin: (Picks up the note, reads it.) We like you. You‟re a cool guy. We just don‟t like bullying,
and we want it to stop. (He has an amazed look on his face.)

Bus Driver: Everything okay, Martin?

Martin: Yes, sir. Everything is going to be just fine!

(Stagehands remove bus frame.)

                                 Act VI - Monday
Scene I: Lunchtime in the cafeteria

Narrator: By the following morning, Jason and Alex are the only students not sitting at the
“Bully Free” table. Martin has just joined the group with an empty tray for the first time. The
students cheer him as he joins them.

Jason: (Sitting with Alex at a separate table.) Leave me alone, Alex. I hate this school. There‟s
nothin‟ but idiots here. What do those people think they are? I‟m gonna beat somebody up.
Nobody makes a fool out of me. Man, even basketball‟s no fun. The team‟s a mess. No one
shows up for practice after school. Coach says he is going to cancel the game. It‟s all Lisa‟s
fault. I‟m gonna pound her. (Jason stands and walks over to the “Bully Free” table.)

                           Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                     By Teresa Burke

Lisa: Hi Jason! (Looking friendly.)

Jason: (Growling) I‟ll see you after school. You‟re gonna stop messin‟ things up. (Walks away.)
Come on, Alex. Let‟s get away from these losers.

Alex: Yeah, they all have eating disorders. (Tries to grin, but doesn’t manage it. He walks away with

Scene II: Classroom after lunch.

(Stagehands move desks, so they are no longer in rows.)

Narrator: Jason opens his desk to find a note there. Several students signed it. It says, ”We
believe in you. We just don‟t believe in bullying. We think you are a fabulous basketball
player. Wouldn‟t it be great to have our team back? You can do it! Please change the way you
treat people. Be friendly, include us, compliment us, and show you like us even if we are
different. It will work!

(Jason opens his desk and finds the note. He glances around, but no one is looking at him. He reads it.)

Ms. Woods: Jason, get out your practice book, please. I‟ve asked you three times. Look
around. What is everyone else doing? Is that a note I see?

(Jason tries to hide the note in his desk.)

Jason: Yeah, it‟s a love note from my fans. (Laughs.) Sorry, Ms. Woods, some idiot put it in my

Ms. Woods: We don‟t call people idiots, Jason. Writing notes is not a bad thing if they are nice
ones. Reading them during class is not okay. Give me the note, please.

Jason: (Embarrassed, crumples the note and throws it in the garbage several desks away.)

Ms. Woods: Jason, that‟s not okay. Go turn your card. Please stop trying to entertain the class.
This is writing time, not comedy central. Now, class, today‟s topic is Ahimsa. How can we
change the world to make it a better place by using non-violence to change the way people
think? We‟re talking about the people who do not treat others the way they want to be treated.
How can we change their thinking? How can we do anything if that person uses violence? Do
we fight back? Doesn‟t that make us just like them? Ten minutes of writing, please. I want to
hear what you think? Begin!

(Students groan, but pantomime beginning to write. Students exit, taking chairs and all but one desk
with them.)
                        Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                  By Teresa Burke

Scene III: Lisa’s house that night

(Stagehands bring in telephone.)

Narrator: Jason had a tough time, but he wrote something too. Only Ms. Woods will ever
know what. Lisa was not on the bus after school. She decided it was safer to get a ride home,
and she called her older brother from the office. Her parents were supporting her, but she
didn‟t think they would if things backfired. She made it home without problems, and then
received an interesting phone call that night.

Lisa: (Picking up the telephone.) Hello?

Alex: Hey, Lisa. It‟s Alex.

Lisa: Whoa! What‟s up?

Alex: I don‟t know how to say this, but I like what you are doing. You really are smart. I feel
like you‟re trying to help Jason. He just doesn‟t get it. He‟s not really a bad guy, you know.
Even if he does pick on people. He just doesn‟t see how it makes them feel. I don‟t want to turn
on him, but ….

Lisa: Thanks for calling, Alex. I really believe in what we‟re doing. Especially if we all help
each other, and try to help him too. I know he‟s not a bad guy. We just need to convince him of

Alex: Yeah, that‟s the part I don‟t get. What can I do? He‟s going to think I stabbed him in the
back no matter what I do.

Lisa: How about if we write him a note and give him a chance to join us too? That way, he‟ll
feel like he‟s with us. It will give him a chance to make the right choice, anyway. If we really
do it right, it might work.

                              Act VII - Tuesday
Scene I: The students are entering the class in the morning.

(Stagehands bring in desks and chairs.)

Narrator: On Tuesday morning, Jason finds another note in his desk. This one says, “You are
my best friend. That will never change. You are a good person – good enough to be nice to

                         Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                   By Teresa Burke

people, including Martin. Today, I am going to sit at the “Bully Free” table and give up my
lunch too. I want you to join us. We believe in you. All of us. If you agree, get an empty tray,
come over to the table, and ask Martin if you can sit next to him. Your friend, Alex.

Jason: Oh man, not again (Pulling out the note from his desk. He looks around. No one is looking at
him. They all seem to be trying to find anywhere else to look, but at him. He gets a suspicious look on his
face, and puts then note quickly in his pocket before Ms. Woods can see it.)

Ms. Woods: Today, we are going to be thinking about how the concept of Ahimsa, as taught by
Gandhi, can be applied in our world. Please take out your journals. We will start by making a
list of the violence we see around us, in videos, video games and on TV. Remember, violence
can be hurting someone else by hurting their body, but it can also be hurting someone through
words or feelings. Violence can also be directed at yourself. People who use drugs are doing
violence to their bodies. Please make a list of the violence you think exists in our world today.

Jason: Ms. Woods? I don‟t feel well; can I go to the office?

Ms. Woods: (Frowns, looking puzzled.) Yes, Jason, go ahead. (Jason leaves, pulling the notes out of
his pocket.)

(Students exit. Stagehands push desks together.)

Scene II: Lunchtime in the cafeteria:

Narrator: After math, the students go to lunch. Except for Jason and Alex, the entire class has
been sitting in the “Bully Free Zone” with empty trays. The first basketball game is next
Monday. No one knows whether there will even be a game. The whole class is looking to see
what happens.

(Students enter while pantomiming empty trays and sit down. Alex enters last.)

Lunch worker #1: If all these kids keep this up, the district budget problems will be solved. We
have 26 fewer lunches to fix every day!

Lunch worker #2: I hope it doesn‟t go on forever. It‟s not good for them.

Lunch worker #1: No, but I think it‟s important. The kids are taking matters into their own
hands, doing something called “Amisha” or something like that.

(Lisa and all of the other students take an empty tray and go to the “Bully Free” table. Alex walks in and
the lunch worker tries to put food on his tray.)

Alex: (Pulling tray away.) Nothing for me, please. Just the tray.
                        Ahimsa Summer Institute 2005 lesson plan
                                  By Teresa Burke

Lunch worker #1: 27 now!

Lunch worker #2: Doesn‟t that leave just one student in the whole class eating lunch? (Just as
Jason comes around the corner from the office. Lunch workers and the class are all staring at him.)

Jason: (He stops, hesitates for a long time, staring back at everyone.) Just an empty tray for me,
please. (He grabs the empty tray and walks to the “Bully Free” table.) Martin, do you mind if I sit
next to you?

(The students all stand up, laughing, grinning and slapping each other and Jason on the back.)

Lisa: (Standing to one side with Alex. Pats Alex on the back and grinning.) We did it! You really
made a difference today, Alex.

Alex: This is SO cool, and I am SO hungry!

Lisa: Not as hungry as I am! Next time, let‟s try a sit-in! (She laughs.)

Narrator: Jason kept finding little notes in his desk and his backpack for months. Sometimes they
included suggestions about words to say to Martin or other people that were nice, but still funny. He
sometimes said or did something that was wrong, but his friends would call him on it every time. He
learned that he had a lot of people who really cared about how he acted and who he was as a person. With
their help, he started to feel like he really was the great person they wanted him to be.


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