Developed by Leticia Barr and Elena Sonnino, Education Program Amplifiers for Responsibility.org. Leticia and Elena are former classroom teachers who taught in Washington, D.C. area school systems (Montgomery County Public Schools and Fairfax County, respectively) and combined have over 20 years of classroom teaching experience and providing professional development to teachers.
This lesson was inspired by the lesson that Kyle Schwartz used to understand her students by asking them to complete the sentence: I wish my teacher knew…
Confidence in Your skin = Confidence to Withstand Peer Pressure:
How to help kids deal with peer pressure:
Peer Pressure from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
Books to prompt class discussion or as an extension:
Lead a classroom discussion about peer pressure with these questions for the whole group:
Introduce the idea of mentors and trusted adults as a strategy to cope with difficult situations.
Define what a mentor is and ask students if they feel as if they have anyone in their lives they consider to be a mentor or someone who they look up to as a role model. Teachers can share an anecdote about how having a mentor has helped them during a difficult time or to make a choice. Alternatively, you can read a book (or excerpt) that features a student facing peer pressure.
Ask students to reflect on their own lives – at school and at home. Are there times where they felt influenced to make decisions that were not healthy or responsible? What happened? Was there anything they would do differently now?
(Or: Ask students to reflect on times that they have observed peer pressure in school. What happened?)
Provide an index card to each student. They should write the phrase: I wish my teacher knew…and then complete the sentence. (Discuss the fact that these cards will be kept confidential unless the student would like to share their reflection.) Depending on the students, teachers may want to show examples from the original lesson by Kyle Schwartz as models.