Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

A Bad Case of Bullying: Using Literature Response Groups

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


A Bad Case of Bullying: Using Literature Response Groups

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Cranston

Lisa Cranston

Comber, Ontario


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Follow-up sessions


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend and interpret a text read aloud by the teacher

  • Participate in literature response groups, during which they share their ideas and views about the story, gain new insights from their peers, and collaborate to clarify meaning

  • Make personal connections to a story by writing and telling about a time when they experienced a similar situation or emotion as one of the characters

back to top


Session 1

1. Ask students to orally brainstorm some of their favorite foods. Record their ideas on chart paper.

2. Explain that in the story you are about to read, the main character's favorite food is lima beans. Show the students the lima beans.
  • Have you ever tried lima beans? Did you like them?

  • If you haven't tried them, would you like to?
3. Read aloud the book A Bad Case of Stripes. During preselected points during the reading, you may wish to stop and use think-aloud questions. Think-aloud questions provide an opportunity for you to model the thought processes used by proficient readers by demonstrating how to question, predict, and connect the text to prior knowledge. However, stopping too often may disrupt the flow of the story so it is important to use your discretion while reading. Some think-aloud questions for this story include:
  • What do you think will happen when Camilla returns to school? (page 7)

  • Why won't Camilla just ask her dad for some lima beans? (page 13)
4. Following the read-aloud, discuss the story with students.
  • Why do you think Camilla Cream was afraid to have people find out that she liked lima beans? Was she right?

  • What could Camilla's teacher have done to help Camilla deal with the students who were making fun of her?

  • What could Camilla's teacher have done to help the students accept Camilla?

  • Do you think the students in the story were bullying Camilla? Why or why not?
5. After the discussion, have students write their reflections on the story in their journals. Post the class discussion questions on the board or chart paper so that students can refer back to the questions as they write in their journals.

6. Have students meet in their literature response groups. If this is a new activity for them, explain the expectations—they will speak quietly, demonstrate respect for other speakers by listening carefully, not comment until the speaker is finished, and stay on topic. Appoint one student to be the group manager; he or she will contact the teacher if there are any problems following these procedures.

7. In their groups, have students share their journal responses. They do not need to read aloud, but can paraphrase instead. After they have had an opportunity to think about and discuss their personal reflections to the story, pose the following questions to the groups:
  • What is this author trying to say to the reader?

  • What is the lesson from A Bad Case of Stripes?
Have these two questions posted on chart paper at the front of the classroom to help keep the groups on task as they continue their discussions.

8. Have students write a follow-up reflection in their journals based on their group discussions in response to the question, "What do you think is the lesson from A Bad Case of Stripes?"

back to top


Session 2

1. Discuss with students how Camilla's classmates treated her when she arrived at school with a bad case of stripes.

2. Have students brainstorm with a partner all the emotion words they can think of that would describe how Camilla might have felt. Have each pair chose two words from their list, and write each word on a  sticky note to bring to the front of the class. Read the words aloud and sort them to see which emotions appear most frequently. Then record the class list on chart paper.

3. Then have pairs of students brainstorm a list of general emotions. If they are having difficulty, suggest various situations such as, "You thought everyone forgot your birthday (disappointed), but when you got home, everyone was waiting with cake and presents (surprised, excited)."

4. Have students complete the Character Emotions chart by identifying two emotions that they think reflect how each character in the story was feeling. Students should also provide the reasons for their choices of emotions.

5. Have each student choose two emotions from the Character Emotions chart, and write in their journals about a situation in which they have experienced that emotion or a similar situation as the character in the story.

6. Gather students in their literature response groups (same as in previous session), and have them share one or both of their journal entries. Remind students that they should demonstrate respect for their classmates by listening carefully and not making hurtful comments. Assign a new group manager for each group.

7. Following the group discussion, have students complete the Literature Group Discussion Checklist.

back to top


Session 3

1. In this session, students will need access to classroom or school computers with Internet access. Assign or let students select one or more of the online games to work through with a partner:
2. Ask each pair of students to create a hypothetical problem that someone their age might face in school or in the community, and present three possible solutions, only one of which is correct. Students should write and illustrate their hypothetical problem and possible solutions on a situation card (e.g., a large index card), with the correct answer and reason on the back.

3. Combine pairs of students into groups of four. As one set of partners reads their situation card aloud, the other pair provides peer feedback on the clarity of the situation and the possible solutions.

4. Have students edit and revise their cards, and submit a final copy.

back to top


Follow-up sessions

Read aloud one or two situation cards each day, using each as an opportunity to talk about appropriate ways to deal with the problems students may face in school or the community. Focus specifically on the different acceptable behaviors and solutions for dealing with conflict and bullying.

back to top



  • Read other books about accepting people and celebrating our differences (see booklist under Step 1 in Preparation for suggestions). Have students meet in their literature response groups to discuss and reflect on the lessons and characters in the story.

  • Have a group of students use the situation cards created in Session 3 to design a board game. The ReadWriteThink lesson plan, "Technical Reading and Writing Using Board Games" can be modified to fit this purpose, and provides some sample game board designs for students to use.

  • Have students create 'I Like Me' collages. Students can sketch and cut out silhouettes of themselves, and then use newspapers and magazines to create a collage of words and pictures that describe themselves (e.g., favorite foods, sports, music, movies, TV shows). Post the collages in the classroom without including the students' names, and encourage students to do a gallery walk of the display. After four or five days, have students create nametags to display with their collages. Students can then write in their journals about something new or surprising that they learned about one of their classmates.

back to top




  • Observe students while in their literature discussion groups, and review the completed Literature Group Discussion Checklists. As an alternative, you can use a simple "thumbs-up/thumbs-down" response. For example, "thumbs up" if they were listening carefully to others in their group. In addition, you may wish to have your own checklist of the same criteria for the class to record student sharing and listening behavior.

  • Review the students' journals entries; however, keep in mind that responses to literature are personal, and multiple interpretations and responses are often acceptable. Rather than, or in addition to, using a checklist or rubric to evaluate student responses, you may wish to write back to the student in the journal, seeking clarification, giving encouragement, or sharing a similar experience.

  • Do not focus on spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors in the students' journal entries. Instead, you will want to evaluate students' abilities to make connections to the text.
  • Were students able to think of possible solutions to Camilla's problem?

  • Did they have an idea about the moral of the story?

  • Could they describe a situation in which they experienced a similar emotion or situation as one of the characters in the story?
  • When assessing the situation cards created during Session 3, consider the following:
  • Did students describe a problematic situation clearly?

  • Did they present three possible solutions, with one correct answer identifying an acceptable response to the problem?


back to top