“No Name Calling Week,” created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster, is now in its 6th year and gaining momentum. Barnes & Noble, and over 40 national partners, including a generous grant from Cisco Systems, made this year’s week possible.
As the website notes, No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel entitled “The Misfits” by popular author, James Howe (available on Amazon.com). The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the “Gang of Five” (as they are known) creates a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. Though they lose the election, they win the support of the school’s principal for their cause and their idea for a “No Name-Calling Day” at school.
The project seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.
The project is targeted at grades K through 12. The project includes a resource guide which includes an overview of the campaign, instructions for organizing and publicizing No Name-Calling Week in individual schools, lesson plans and other curricular material, and further resources for those interested in extending the experience. The project also includes a 27-minute video about name-calling targeting grades 5-8. The video is accompanied by a Teacher Resource Book that includes teaching ideas and fact sheets. In addition to the resource materials and video, stickers and posters are available to support the program.
Hats off to Barnes & Noble for featuring No Name Calling Week events in its stores throughout the country for the entire month of January. Also kudos to Cisco for funding and GLSEN for its leadership in keeping this wonderful tradition alive in raising kids’ awareness about name calling, a key component of bullying and cyberbullying.