On Wednesday, September 26th the Canadian Red Cross hosted a live twitter chat about the effects of bullying and strategies to help prevent it. I decided to get some students involved at St. Malachy’s Memorial High School with the carefully crafted help of a few friends. Our Department Head of English, Mr. Chris Stacey employed the assistance of a group of Grade 12 students to participate in this very important exercise during Anti-Bullying awareness week. Because Chris and his students use Twitter regularly as a learning resource and teaching tool, the experiment made perfect sense for us. Also involved in our Anti-Bullying Awareness session on Tuesday was Mr. Philip Sweezey (District Technology Mentor), Mr. Mathew Garey (Guidance Counselor), and Mrs. Christina Barrington (Library Learning Commons- PBL Facilitator.
We used our newly updated Library Learning Commons to host the session and utilized our Apple I-Pad cart and other technology to get started. Our lesson began with my overview of the event and some follow up information on protocols and processes for the ‘tweet-off”. This set the stage for Mr. Stacey to introduce the concept of ”Twitter Poems” and an opportunity to read, reflect and outline our idea! We challenged the students to write twitter poems about Harassment or in simpler terms ‘ Bullying”. Rather than trivialize the issue, we required the students to use complex language to express ideas about various forms of Harassment in 140 characters or less. Although it is not quite finished yet, I thought I’d share it with you before Anti-Harassment week comes to an end. Students are still working on the actual structure of the poem, but the tweets themselves are pretty evocative. Try to think of it as one piece.
A special thanks to Mr. Stacey and his class for having the courage to participate in this event while raising awareness of Anti-Bullying week through the use of and creation of ”Twitter Poems” .
Fear and vulnerability – The bully and the victim – A fine line divides the two.
@Candy falls and with it spirits. Kids dash for fist fulls of joy. One waits @ the back, empty hands full of disappointment.
@His small, empty hands contract into fists as he picks up the shattered pieces of his heart.
@Hector the wrecking-ball beats, bashes & bruises. Hector’s metal-mouth crashes, cuts & criticizes. Hector the wrecking-ball swings alone.
@I just watched. Everyone just watched. He picked a fifth grader today. I knew him. I did nothing. Everyone did nothing.
@Flightless sparrows tweet in monochrome and tears as piercing tongues throw their hopes to blackness.
@He took it until he couldn’t take it any longer. What a shame. He will be missed.
@STOP and listen to the silence of tears. STOP and give a smile of warmth. STOP and wake up to your actions and stand.
@Words flow from his mouth, crashing around her like a hurricane. Her eyes absorb the current and reflect in their own way.
@The stalwart observer watches in silence as the beast rips apart his quarry, afraid to stand, afraid for himself, not others.
@Body seized by societal expectations. Finger twitches, raises, points. Face trembles out laughter. For freedom my sinful soul is wanting.
@The bully stands alone as the violence unfolds before him; what he once gave he now receives.
@Words like lego build, but they tremble and fall, leaving emotional & physical scars on the feet of dreamers.
@In a hand with fingers that curl towards themselves holds the center of his palm, the calm of what is not outstretched.
@Keep the light on for those who are in the dark, the ones who let the words cut deep; guide them through the raging storm.
@Two redwoods in the forest, above all else stealing sun. In time one falls from its rotten wood and sun shines again.
@A blade, dulled by the sand of unity amongst us.