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Banding together against bullying

Shannon Park Elementary School fifth graders hand out bullying awareness bracelets after making a presentation last week.

Fifth graders at Shannon Park Elementary School hope a few strands of orange cotton will help remind their classmates and students around the school that it's not OK to pick on other kids.

The students made the bracelets as part of their annual winter party late last year and presented them to students around the school last week along with lessons about bullying. The style of the lesson depended on the age of the students. One group of fifth graders made a video. Another group played a game of Simon Says.

The project is part of a growing tradition among Shannon Park fifth graders to focus the winter party on community service rather than simply eating snacks and playing games.

"We try to help the kids get a feel for being part of a bigger community," said teacher Carol Anderson.

The fifth graders were in charge of coming up with presentation ideas that were appropriate for the grade level to which they presented.

The students asked everyone they talked to to wear orange last Friday in recognition of bullying.

The fifth graders didn't get any specific lessons on bullying to prepare them for last week's presentations, although they went through programs on the subject last year as fourth graders.

Anderson said the presentations went over well. Younger students tend to look up to fifth graders, and Anderson said it's good for them to get used to the idea of being role models.

"We got a lot of positive feedback from the first grade teachers," she said. "They were good enough to do a lot of follow-up conversation and some activities with it, too."