Our guidance counselor is an amazing woman who teaches the kids (and myself) excellent tools for dealing with these issues. For example, "little problems" vs. "big problems." The students can handle little problems such as "He's reading the book I wanted to read," but must see an adult for big problems such as "She pushed me out of the swing." She also introduced them to "the shield." It looks like a shield that a knight would use when jousting, but it really hit home with the kids. She had them write about positive and uplifting things about themselves. When facing hurtful comments, she reminded them to "put up their shield" and remember how awesome they were. Even I use it from time to time.
So here's where all that thinking landed me....this activity. I created this activity to help build friendships and teamwork in my classroom. I'm going to use it next year and have my students keep it somewhere special to remind them of what great kids they are.
Click the picture to download the activity.