Being An Ally

Grades 3-4 (can be adapted for younger/older students)

Anthony Wayne Local Schools (Waterville Primary)
Whitehouse, OH / Sara

Jillian Ranazzi, School Counselor

Bullying Prevention: How to be an Ally

Photo of kids petting a dog


Students will understand the concept of the bullying triangle (bully/victim/bystander).

Students will recognize the difference between a bystander and an ally.

Students will learn and apply responsive strategies to teasing or bullying situations.


Bullying triangle poster or drawing on the board

Situation cards for acting out the bullying triangle (teacher made or purchased)

A board or flip chart and markers

A book (such as Tough from the Weird series) about bullying


Define the roles shown in the bullying triangle. Define bullying (unwanted and aggressive behavior that is repeated, intentional, and happens with an imbalance of power). Review the four types of bullying (physical, verbal, social, and cyber) and give examples of each.

Look at the bullying triangle and ask, “Which person has the most power?” Many children will answer that the bully has the most power. Say, “We are going to check this answer by doing a little role playing with Sara. I need two student volunteers.”

Choose two volunteers, one to be the victim, and one to be the bully. Tell each one secretly who they are representing, but do not tell the rest of the class. Use Sara to act as the bystander.

Give the bully and the victim a card with a situation on it (e.g., who gets to use the swings first, etc.).
The victim will then approach the bully and Sara and ask to play with them. The bully will say “No!” and turn his back to the victim.

Ask the class to identify the bully, victim, and the bystander. Again ask, “Who has the most power?”
Answers will vary, but some should see that actually Sara has the most power in this situation as the bystander because she could allow the victim to play with them even though the bully has said no. Brainstorm with the class as to what each person should do. Write ideas on the board or flip chart. If time allows, act out those different ways to handle the situation.

Focus on the bystander. Ask, “What qualities make Sara a Bucket Filler rather than a Bucket Dipper?”

Answers will include such things as that she is kind, caring, helpful, etc. Ask, “Based on those qualities, would Sara allow someone to be bullied or teased? What could she do to stop the bullying and make the situation better for the victim?” Answers will be that Sara would not allow these hurtful things to go on.

If Sara decides to stand up for the victim or to get help, the bystander (Sara) becomes the ally.   
Ask, “What could Sara do to be an ally rather than a bystander?” Answers might be that she can make sure that the victim feels comfortable at school, that she can ask the victim to play with the group or with her alone, or she could also get help from an adult if she felt uncomfortable doing it herself. Emphasize that getting help for yourself in handling a situation is NOT the same thing as tattling.

Ask for volunteers to act out the bullying triangle with a different situation, taking turns to act as allies.

Read a book about a bullying situation (such as Tough.) Ask students how they can tell it is a true bullying situation rather than just teasing or Bucket Dipping. Ask them to identify each member of the triangle: bully, victim, bystander. Ask them what different types of bullying (physical, verbal, social, or cyber) that they see in the story. Ask students about the bystander and how she became an ally rather than just a bystander.


Use an informal test to see if students understand the three members of the bullying triangle AND if they understand the difference between a bystander and an ally. Track the number of bullying referrals made to the office.

Meet individually or in small groups with students who were absent for the lesson or who seem to be
struggling with any part of bullying and how to handle it.

For a Printable PDF of this Lesson Plan, download this file: AP-LessonPlan-BeingAnAlly

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