The Most Important Anti-Bullying Superpower Is Communication

To stand up to bullying is to be a real-life superhero. To put yourself out there like that takes courage, inner strength, smarts, and determination. Which is why I’m about to reveal the full depths of my nerd-dom by telling you about my favorite superhero.

When I first picked up a trade paperback of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I couldn’t quite comprehend what I was experiencing. Doreen Green / Squirrel Girl was unlike any superhero I had come across before. Though she could be fierce, kicking butt when necessary, she was also warm and friendly and empathetic, and had a wicked sense of humor.

When I read Tanya Bass and Lolita Smith-Moore’s lesson plan in Let’s Erase Bullying — “Talk It Out to Work It Out” — my thoughts immediately went to Squirrel Girl. Before resorting to fisticuffs, Doreen always tried to find common ground with her adversaries first, talking things out in order to come up with the best solution for everyone. And she often succeeded.

Here’s a glimpse of the lesson plan that will help you teach your students to become their own real-life superheroes:



By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:

  1. Define the terms negotiate, bully, and assertiveness.
  2. Demonstrate using assertive communication skills to combat bullying.


Middle adolescents (ages 14 – 17)


Being able to negotiate with assertiveness is a necessary and healthy communication skill. Being assertive demonstrates to others that we have control and a clear understanding of what we want to happen in our lives. Assertive communication skills not only improve our interpersonal communication skills within relationships with peers and partners, but also increase our self-esteem by showing others that we can express our feelings with respect, which sequentially builds confidence in oneself.14 In this lesson, participants will learn how to define negotiation, assertiveness, and assertive communication skills and practice using negotiation skills through a bullying scenario activity that demonstrates responsibility and how assertiveness plays a role in being responsible.

The contents of the lesson plan include activities that help students identify pressures in their lives, and learn how to negotiate with those trying to pressure or bully them into doing something they don’t want to do. Check out the full lesson plan when you get your copy of Let’s Erase Bullying!