Subject: SEL (Social-Emotional Learning)

Lesson Length: 30 - 40 mins

Topic: Anti-bullying

Grade Level: 4, 5, 6

Objective: Critical thinking


SOCIAL AWARENESS: The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, & contexts. This includes the capacity to feel compassion for others.

Brief Description: Using comic scenarios, students will decide if a situation is joking or bullying.

Know Before You Start: Knowing the difference between “Joking/teasing” and “bullying” will be helpful.

Is it Joking or Bullying? - Exemplar comic, panel 1 Is it Joking or Bullying? - Exemplar comic, panel 2 Is it Joking or Bullying? - Exemplar comic, panel 3 Is it Joking or Bullying? - Exemplar comic, panel 4

Hook: Do we think we know the difference between playful joking vs. bullying? Let’s test ourselves!

Explain that they will be looking at different comic scenarios. Some will be playful joking/teasing and some will illustrate bullying. It’s our job to decide.

Activity: In small groups, have students write down and discuss whether each scenario shown in the comic is bullying or joking. Give students a few minutes to discuss. Students should discuss: 

  • Is it joking or bullying? 
  • How do they know? 
  • Have they ever seen something like this happen? Has it happened to them? 
  • How do you cope/support the victim in this situation?

Closure: Regroup and discuss. Why did they answer the way they did? Was it easy telling which was playful joking and which was bullying? Why or why not? How might today’s comic scenarios make an impact on how we interact with friends and peers? 

As an extension, students can use Pixton to create their own comic  “Bullying”’ or “Joking” scenarios.


  • Print out questions for small group discussion and provide sentence frames as needed.
  • Allow students to use speech-to-text for journal reflection.
  • Provide sentence frames for journal reflection.