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Finding balance in difficult situations

Posted on Dec. 21, 2018

Students act out role-playing scenario

by Mary Horrall, grade school parent 

RIVERDALE GRADE SCHOOL – Our middle school students are walking an exciting, challenging tightrope to adulthood. The Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Program, in collaboration with the Oregon Children’s Theatre, is using music, comedy and drama to teach forethought, insight and specific skills to help them navigate this journey. 

Above Between Below includes an assembly with workshops to introduce ideas and tools to use when handling difficult situations. Role-playing exercises also illustrate the following points: 

  • Actions can have unintended consequences.
  • Bullying is a behavior, not an identity.
  • Social media can be used as a tool for wide-scale gossip and public shaming.
  • People can be on both the giving and receiving end of bullying behaviors in different situations.
  • Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for their own power to harm or help others.

Students were tasked with core values scenarios such as challenging a friend to skip basketball practice to hang out and play video games, or begging a friend who needs to study for a test to play Fortnite. 

Language arts teacher Carrington Light said that kids came away with a better understanding of how they could report bullying behavior to an adult while remaining anonymous. The 8th graders were in agreement that this tip was "a biggie." The program will wrap up in mid-December with the final two workshops. 

Giving our tweens and teens balance to step along the high wire will serve them well on their course to the flying trapeze of adult life.