Hero Inside - Grades 6-8

Teaching kids to be heroes.

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Episode 1: Heroes

Key Points:

  • A hero is someone who takes a risk to help someone else.
  • To be a hero you need to meet ALL three basic requirements: Help someone, take a risk, and take action.
  • Being popular does not make you a hero.

Questions for Discussion

  1. If you could have one superpower what would it be?  What would you do with it?  Would you use your power for selfish purposes or to help others?
  2. What kind of risks do you take when you stand up for someone who isn't as cool?
  3. What is the difference between a hero and a celebrity?
  4. Why do middle school students often follow the popular students instead of doing the right thing?

Episode 2: Bystanders

Key Points:

  • Bystanders can make a bad situation worse because by saying nothing they are saying "It's okay."
  • The bystander effect takes place when people in the crowd don't help during an emergency.
  • Bystanders have the power.
  • People become bystanders because they are afraid to act first, or they are afraid of what other people will think of them.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Can you think of a time when you saw the bystander effect in action?
  2. Why do you think most middle school students are bystanders?
  3. Why do you think most people are afraid to act first?
  4. If you spoke up for a fellow student getting bullied, but you knew the other kids would make fun of you, would you still do it?

Episode 3: Courage

Key Points:

  • Being the first to act can be scary.  It's totally normal to be afraid of acting first.
  • Heroes have fears too, but they also have courage to overcome their fears.
  • There are three simple hero tests: Give someone a compliment, do a good deed when nobody is looking, and talk to a student that you normally don't talk to.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Picture yourself as a witness to a bullying situation.  What thoughts or fears might keep you from standing up for someone?
  2. What are some good compliments you can give another student?
  3. What are some good deeds you can do when nobody is looking?
  4. Would you have the courage to talk to another student that you don't really know?  What would you say?

Episode 4: Strategies (How to Stand Up for Someone)

Key Points:

1. Speak up directly to the person doing the bullying. Here are some good phrases:

  • "That is not okay."
  • "Enough"
  • "That's not nice."
  • "Not cool."
  • "That's not funny."
  • "That's mean."
  • "C'mon, he's had enough."
  • "Be nice."
  • "Is everything okay here?"
  • "What's going on here?"

2. Get a group of students to stand up together.

  • A group of 3 or more usually works best.
  • People may want to help, but might be afraid to act first.
  • The group technique is very effective.

3. Stand WITH the person being made fun of.

  • Sit down next to them at lunch.
  • Wait for the bus with them.
  • Be seen with them in public.

4. Privately support the person being picked on.

  • Make them feel like they aren't alone.
  • "I'm sorry for how they treated you."
  • "That shouldn't have happened."

5. Tell an adult.

  • Tattling is when you try to get someone IN to trouble. Reporting you are trying to get someone OUT of trouble.
  • You can tell an adult while it's going on or after it happens.
  • Many victims of bullying are ashamed or afraid to tell an adult.

6. Create a distraction.

  • "Did you see the Super Bowl last week?"
  • "Did you see who is dating now?"
  • Make up a lie: "A teacher is coming." "The cops are coming."
  • Use your phone to distract the kids being mean.  Show them something they might find interesting. "Did you see this?"

7. Don't become an audience.

  • Kids who bully crave attention.
  • Don't reward them by laughing or giving them any kind of reaction.
  • Don't give them attention. Give them a look that says, "Not funny."


  1. One of the biggest and scariest 8th grade boys is picking on a smaller student at the bus stop.  You want to speak up, but are afraid he might attack you.  There are seven other students waiting for the bus, but no adults.  What would you do?
  2. There is a student that everyone makes fun of. She only has two friends, and they aren't in her lunch hour. You see her eating lunch by herself again today.  The other girls from another table are laughing and pointing at her.  What would you do?
  3. There is a student who gets called "Virus" every day.  The other students say that if you touch him you will get sick and get the virus too. You know this isn't true.  What would you do?
  4. There is a new student at your school. He seems different and there is a rumor going around that he moved because his dad is in jail. He looks totally lost.  What would you do?
  5. Your friends are making fun of one of the least popular kids on the bus.  The kid being made fun of is just sitting there, not laughing, and looks miserable.  You want to help, but you don't want to risk your popularity with your friends.  What would you do?

Episode 5: Hero's Legacy

Key Points:

  • Constantly excluding someone is a form of emotional bullying.
  • Many bullying situations are hidden by the phrase "Just Joking" or "Just Kidding."
  • Pay attention to the people around you.  How are they feeling? Are the words being said making them feel more valuable or less valuable?
  • The students at your school will remember you.  The only question is HOW will they remember you?  Will you be remembered as a hero, a bystander, or a villain?

Questions for Discussion

  1. Why do you think students intentionally exclude others from the group?
  2. Have you ever seen a situation where another student was "Just Joking," but someone was really getting emotionally hurt?  Did others in the crowd think it was a joke or realize it was a bullying situation?
  3. Why do you think it's easier for someone to say something mean or hurtful online, instead of straight to someone's face?
  4. What can you do to be remembered as a hero?

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