Skip Navigation

Retell Reader's Theater: Recess Queen

Main Core Tie

Health Education - 3rd Grade
Strand 6: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT (HD) Standard 3.HD.3:

Additional Core Ties

Health Education - 3rd Grade

Time Frame

2 class periods of 30 minutes each


Krista Nielsen


Students learn about bullying and describe what bullying looks and feels like. In contrast, they experience the feelings of being helpful and nice to peers when they need it.


O'Neill, Alexis. The Recess Queen. Scholastic Press, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0439206372

Background for Teachers

  • define and give examples of bullying, bully, and victim.
  • describe how bullying might make people feel and how it affects the community.
  • define trust and give examples of why trust is important in a school community.
  • describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  • describe how helping others and being kind benefits the common good.

Student Prior Knowledge

Bullying happens when a person or a group, that is physically or verbally more powerful, persists in treating another person, or group, disrespectfully. Bullying is unwanted and unwelcomed behavior and can happen physically, verbally, through gesture, and in written form.


  • kindness: the quality of being warmhearted and friendly.
  • bullying: repeated teasing, hurting, or scaring of someone who seems smaller or weaker
  • bully: a person who likes to tease, hurt, or scare people. A bully often picks on smaller or weaker people.
  • service: help given to others; helpful work one is not paid for
  • victim: a person cheated, fooled, or harmed by another


Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Students define bullying and describe what bullying looks and feels like. In contrast, they experience the feelings of being helpful and nice to peers when they need it.
  • Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others.
  • Students will describe how behavior influences the feelings and actions of others. Identify resource people in the school and community, and know how to seek their help.

Instructional Procedures



Anticipatory Set: Hand out to all students a piece of paper and ask them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up (but without ripping it). Then have them unfold it, smooth it out, look at how scarred it is now and have them say they are sorry to it. Even though the students apologized to it and tried to fix it, point out that the "scars" on the paper are still there and they will not go away no matter how much the students try to fix them. Then relate this to an incident where a child bullies another child (even if the first child apologizes to the other one, the scars will never go away). Discuss what kind of "scars" bullying leaves on someone.

Before you read the book, talk about being safe in school. Ask, what makes you feel safe at school? (i.e. having adults available for support, kids playing nicely, kids playing non-competitive games).

What is a bully?

Have you ever been bullied or seen someone else being bullied?

Today I am going to read a book called, The Recess Queen. Tell the class that the main character's name is Mean Jean the Recess Queen. Make predictions: Do you think Mean Jean might be a bully? Why?

After reading the book, ask what happened that helped Mean Jean change; what did Katie Sue do to make a difference in the way the other students felt about Mean Jean; what was Mean Jean's new name. Katie Sue's plan for dealing with a bully worked because most bullies really want to have friends, but don't know how to make friends, however, talking and playing with a bully does not always work.

Summarize story using 5 Finger summary: Somebody Wanted But So In the end.

Teach students three strategies for dealing with a bully: walk, talk, or tell. Discuss what each of these strategies means. You may want to teach the difference between tattling and telling.

List rules for recess. Then watch the video clip of Bad Recess example and discuss procedures. Use Behavior Stories to teach about different recess situations.

Discuss consequences for breaking the rules at recess. Working lunch, "watch" recess: observe appropriate recess behavior, specific game, activity or area, walking recess/walk the line, community service, loss of minutes of recess, loss of areas of the playground or activities, loss of other activities.

Generate a list of recess activities.

  • Ask students to describe situations that can make people feel hurt and bad. Ask students to express their opinion about these situations (Questions: Are these behaviors bullying? Why/Why not? etc). Explain that all hurtful situations are not bullying. Explain that bullying is making people feel bad repeatedly and on purpose. Then share the following examples of hurtful behavior and discuss whether they qualify as bullying or not:
    Note: Some of the following actions are deliberate, but not all of them show repeated behavior.
    • A student says aloud in your class that your idea is silly.
    • You shared your opinion with your classmates during a discussion and another student disagrees with what you said.
    • The same student cuts in front of you in the lunch line almost every day. (B)
    • A student makes fun of you often because of the clothes you are wearing. (B)
    • A student accidentally trips you on the playground and apologizes to you.
    • You ask your friend to sit next to you, but he chooses to sit next to someone else.
    • Students push other students in line for the swings at the playground.

After reading each example above, discuss with the students the following: How would that make you feel? Is it bullying? What can someone do in that situation?

Divide students into groups of 6 to preform The Recess Queen Reader's Theater.

Reflection: Have students look at the piece of paper in front of them (from the intro) and reflect on the book or stories/pictures about bullying. Then ask them to describe possible emotions of the victims. Write answers on the board. Show the video Boy Bullied made by an eleven-year-old boy explaining how he felt when he was bullied, and what he decided to do about it. Ask students to describe or draw how bullying makes them feel and how helping others makes them feel.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Ask students to describe or draw how bullying makes them feel and how helping others makes them feel.

Make posters for the school about Bullying.


Watch episodes of Recess Stories and discuss.

Play Beat the Bully on PBSKids.

Other books: Alexander, Clair. Lucy and the Bully. Albert Whitman & Company, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0807547861

Lovell, Patty. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon. Putnam Juvenile, 2001. ISBN-13: 978-0399234163

Assessment Plan

What is a bully?

How did students change as a result of this lesson?

Students demonstrate strategies to deal with bullying.



O'Neill, Alexis. The Recess Queen. Scholastic Press, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0439206372

Created: 07/27/2012
Updated: 01/31/2020