This is probably one of the most poignant moments during my tenure at the Boys and Girls Club.
I had a 6 foot long piece of bright yellow butcher paper, stolen from the teachers supply room. I was running the Peace Builders program and the manual had suggested this activity to reduce bad words and put-downs.
I put the paper on the floor and had the first graders gather around it.
We discussed why we shouldn't say bad words or mean things to other people.
Then I asked the kids to name some things we shouldn't say. I was going to write them all on the huge paper and then the kids could all help rip it up, symbolizing their resolve to not say mean things.
Miss Emily: What are some things we shouldn't say to each other?
Kid 1: You are not good at soccer.
Kid 2: You look gross.
Kid 3: You suck.
Kid 4: I'm not going to be your friend.
Kid 5: You can't play with us.
Miss Emily: Good job! What else should we write down?
Honest Kid: You shouldn't say, "Mother Fu*ker"
I took a few minutes to compose myself.
Miss Emily: Um, yeah.... we shouldn't say that..... let's not write that one down though...
Kid 3: What's a "Mother Fu*cker"?
Miss Emily: ..........Who wants recess!?!