MacFarland Intermediate School

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Guidance and Counseling » Guidance Lessons

Guidance Lessons

Welcome to the Guidance Lesson page!

Below you will find information about the monthly guidance lesson topics. The fourth grade curriculum will focus on the different aspects of bullying and how students can become Upstanders. The fifth graders will review the anti-bullying lessons and then focus on Character Education topics.

September (4th & 5th Grade):

How the Counselor Can Help

The focus for this month's lesson is getting to know the counselor. I am introducing myself to all of the 4th grade classes and reconnecting with the 5th graders. Through a game and class discussion students will help me describe the different ways I can be useful to them (e.g. help with friendship problems, talk about different thoughts and feelings, making sure students feel safe, help with test anxiety, provide a place to calm down when school is overwhelming, etc.) I will also explain how students can make an appointment with me when they need my help.

October (4th Grade):

From Bystanders to Upstanders

Throughout October, I will be reviewing the concept of bullying. Students will discuss the three components of bullying, which are as follows:

  • A student or group of students are bullying if they intentionally hurt someone with their words or actions,
  • the actions/words are repeated,
  • and there is a power imbalance between the students bullying and the ones being bullied.

The rest of the lesson will be a discussion about the various roles students play in a bullying situation. An activity will be used to demonstrate that there are almost always one or more bullies, one or more victims and a group of bystanders that all play a role. I will teach students how to be an Upstander instead of a bystander. The list of steps form the acronym STAND and students will have to choose the steps they take based on comfort level and the specific situation. I challenge all students to be an Upstander and stand up to bullying!

  • Say "stop" to the bully (without bullying him or her with words or actions)
  • Take the victim away (maybe invite them to play)
  • Ask other students for help (so the power imbalance is in the victims favor)
  • Notify an adult IMMEDIATELY
  • Do your part to be an Upstander!

October (5th Grade):

Upstanders Curriculum Review

The fourth grade Upstander lessons cover a significant amount of bully-related topics. During the October lesson fifth graders will be playing review jeopardy to refresh their memories in a fun and engaging way. Topics reviewed are as follows: The steps to being an Upstander, the steps to being an Upstander during a case of cyber bullying, the difference between tattling and reporting, the role of empathy for an Upstander, handling a gossip situation and several more. I encourage you to discuss any of these topics with your child!


November (4th Grade):

Gossip as a Form of Verbal Bullying

Bullying is often viewed as a physical altercation between a large boy and a small boy. However, this is not the most common form of bullying (especially at MIS). Both boys and girls can bully by using actions AND words.

The November lesson will address the issue of gossip and how gossip can be a form of bullying. Through interactive classroom activities, students will see how gossip spreads and how it can harm friendships, hurt feelings and damage reputations. Students will also have the opportunity to use the STAND steps to diffuse gossip. Once again students will be challenged to:

Be an Upstander and Stand Up to Bullying!!

November (5th Grade):


December (4th Grade):

Bullying and Prejudice

The focus for the December guidance lesson is about bullying related to prejudice. As a group we will brainstorm reasons why some people do not get along, and sort the reasons into one of two categories (reasonable or prejudice). Once this has been modeled, students will have the opportunity to define the word prejudice so that it is easy to understand.

Example: Prejudice - Deciding to dislike a person/group or to judge a person/group in a negative way BEFORE getting to know them.

Students will then practice recognizing acts of prejudice with characters from Disney films. As always, the lesson will conclude by discussing ways to be an Upstander for people experiencing bullying based on prejudicial views.

December (5th Grade):

Responsibility and Careers

Responsibility is the character Education word of December. Throughout the month we will be discussing the ways fifth graders can demonstrate responsibility. Students will also be introduced to a wide variety of possible career choices and the responsibilities that go with them. At the conclusion of each lesson, students will be provided with the following websites:

Both websites provide information on many different careers including but not limited to: Roles and responsibilities, training/education, salary, skills requires and so much more!

Enjoy the search!

January (4th Grade):

Upstanders and Empathy

The past several lessons have focused on different forms of bullying so students can recognize bullying, understand that it is wrong and want to help a person who is being bullied. During the January lesson, we are going to take a break from this focus and talk about a quality that is important for Upstanders to have.

Empathy - The ability to understand how someone is feeling because you have been in a similar situation or can imagine how you would feel in a similar situation.

Students will be given pictures of people in different settings and with different facial expressions. In groups, students will create short stories that address the following questions: What was the person doing before this picture was taken? How was the person feeling the moment the picture was taken?

Once all groups have shared their stores the class and I will discuss how they were able to do this activity based on a single photograph. The answer is empathy. We will also discuss why it is helpful for Upstanders to experience empathy, specifically during a bullying situation. The overall message is:

Recognizing when someone needs help and helping them makes us feel good!

January (5th Grade):

Learning about Acceptance with Dr. Seuss

During the January guidance lesson, fifth graders will discuss what it means to be accepting of others. This discussion will also address cliques: A small group of people who share something in common. Cliques can be healthy when everyone is welcome to be a part of the group. Cliques are unhealthy when the members exclude others, have unreasonable rules and treat others without respect.

The story, The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss will be used to demonstrate some of the problems with unhealthy cliques. At the end of the lesson, students will play the game Truth, Truth, Lie. Taking the time to learn about one another is the first step to being accepting and a true MacFarland person of Character!

February (4th Grade)

How to Stand Up to Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying has become a common term for students in elementary school through high school. Since students are being introduced to technology earlier and earlier, the March guidance lesson will be focused on cyber bullying and how to be an Upstander when cyber bullying occurs. In order to understand the damage that cyber bullying can do, it is important to remember the lesson from last month. Empathy is a necessary skill when learning about cyber bullying.

Throughout this lesson, students will be exposed to different cyber bullying examples and then challenged to think like an Upstander. Electronic communication allows for wonderful things, but can also be overwhelming. My goal for the end of the month is that every student knows the steps to dealing with cyber bullying and understands the enormous responsibility that comes with having a cell phone, computer access and any other electronic device. All students will receive an internet safety strategy list from me and a new Upstander poster that is specifically for standing up to cyber bullying.

Stop, put down the phone, and walk away from the computer

Take 5 (minutes to relax)

Always save the text, email, etc.

Notify and adult immediately

Do NOT respond.

February (5th Grade)

Cyber Etiquette