A Collaborative Writing Lesson About Cyberbullying

Hey friends! I'm so excited to team up with The Reading Crew again to offer WRITING ideas for mentor texts. Many of you know how much I looooove my list of techie themed children's books so I chose one that addresses the serious issue of cyberbullying and designed a collaborative writing lesson to go along with this story. We are going to focus on generating ideas and how working with others can help spark creative and thorough writing responses.

About the Book

Troll Stinks is a timely tale of cyberbullying from the creator of Chicken Clicking. One day Billy Goat found the farmer's phone out in a field. Instead of returning the phone, Billy Goat took the mobile phone, showed it to his best friend, Cyril, and the two started playing with it. They took selfies and played all kinds of games. Shortly after they discovered the number for a troll. Since Granpa Gruff has always said that all trolls are bad, Billy and Cyril start sending mean text messages. Later on they found out the troll they texted was just a sweet, frightened troll who was deeply hurt by their mean texts. Click my affiliate link below to see this book on Amazon:


Anticipatory Set:
  • Ask students to turn and talk to a partner and share about a time someone hurt their feelings but not to mention any names. What happened? Why was it hurtful? How did it make them feel? 
  • As a class, discuss how people could get their feelings hurt when using technology (cyberbullying).
    • Posting hurtful things about someone
    • Sending mean emails, texts or instant messages
    • Spreading rumors online
    • Making fun of someone in an online chat
    • Pretending to be someone else online
    • Taking and sharing embarrassing pictures of others without permission
Read Aloud:
  • Read Troll Stinks
  • Stop and discuss some of the issues that arise in the story
    • Taking the farmer's phone instead of returning it
    • Searching through someone else's phone
    • Sending mean messages to Troll (someone they never met)
  • After you read the story, talk about the steps students can take if they ever find themselves being cyberbullied. HERE is a poster download you can print for students or hang up in your classroom. This will help students with generating ideas for their writing responses later on in this lesson:

  • Wrap up this part of the lesson by saying that we all need to work together to help prevent cyberbullying.

  • Just like we can to work together to take a stand against cyberbullying, we also can work together to produce writing responses and stories. After all, many times two heads are better than one.  Tell students that they will be working in pairs to complete a writing challenge. They will write responses that answer a prompt from this Cyberbullying Writing Prompt Spinner (see below) I created by using wheelofnames.com (to learn more about this digital spinner, click HERE). To access this spinner, click the link below and then project it on the board. Ask a student to come and "spin" the wheel.

Click HERE to access this spinner

The prompt that is chosen will pop up on the screen and will look like this:

The Writing Challenge:

Allow time for students to discuss possible responses with their partner. Then explain that they are going to take 10 minutes to write a well constructed response together that contains a beginning, middle and ending addressing the question. By brainstorming and writing together, students can generate more ideas and could possibly be exposed to a different way of thinking! Students will take turns writing during this 10 minute collaborative writing challenge. Each minute the "writer" will switch. So each child will have five different opportunities to add or make edits on the writing they are constructing with their partner. * This works best using a shared Google Doc, especially for the editing part, but students could easily pass off a piece of paper and write with a pencil.* Since the writer will be switching each minute, it is important that students pay attention to what their partner is writing so they can quickly jump in when it is their turn. If students are using a shared Google Doc to type their response, I recommend having each student choose a different font color so knowing who typed what is easily identifiable. This works best when each child has their own device but they could easily take turns using the same computer. It might look something like this:

Set a timer for 10 minutes and alert students at each minute interval to switch. 

If this is the first time students are working collaboratively in a digital environment then you might consider modeling this process first. Try and find another adult in the building to come to your classroom and help you out by doing a think aloud. Project one person's computer for the class to see and tell your students that you and the other adult are going to say each of your thoughts out loud as you work. For instance:

  • "Since I go first I need to make a strong introduction to catch the reader's attention." Type sentence. Switch
  • "Oh that was a great intro __(name)_ typed out! Let me add this as the next sentences.." Type sentence. Switch
  • "That was a great addition! Maybe I will add the adjective ______ in front of the noun ______ to make it more descriptive. Now I'm going to add the next sentence." Type sentence. Switch
  • "Oh geez, I really don't like that sentence but I don't want to delete the entire thing and hurt __(feelings__. Maybe I'll add a comment to see if she would mind if I rewrote that sentence." 

This will literally take 5-10 minutes to model and is very powerful when it comes to setting expectations for collaborative writing.

Will students be able to successfully work together AND practice self control when it isn't their turn to write? Give it a try! Every time I have had students work together to write they end up LOVING it. I even find that they typically write more detailed responses.

Enter to WIN a Copy of Troll Stinks:

All you have to do to enter to win a copy of Troll Stinks is leave a comment on this post. That's it! I'll randomly choose a winner in one week and will reply to their comment.

A Collaborative Writing Lesson About Cyberbullying

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  1. I love the idea of the spin a wheel for writing prompts- it makes it like a game instead of an assignment! This topic must be covered more than once in a school year so this would give the students some options each time.

  2. I love this idea!!!! I can't wait to try it with my students!

  3. Oh my goodness! This looks like such a great lesson! I am always looking for ways for the kiddos to work together, plus, working with technology is fantastic. Thank you so much the book idea as well! I hope I win, but if I don't, I need to get this one for my classroom. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. This is such a fabulous lesson! I can’t wait to try it with my class!

  5. I love the idea of taking turns to collaboratively write. Perfect for teaching students to work together.

  6. This is awesome! I just finished my digital citizenship unit with third and fourth and I am trying to build some resources for my younger grades. This looks perfect. Thanks so much!

  7. Fantastic lesson. Perfect for all children!

  8. This is just what I needed. Thank you! I love the spinner, what a great way to use technology.

  9. I love this collaborative lesson. Bullying needs to be address in every classroom.

  10. What a well-planned out lesson.... and perfect timing and content for what our students are facing right now. I especially found helpful the tips and step for collaborative writing. Thank you for this useful lesson!

    1. Congratulations! The random comment selector chose YOU as the winner! When you get a chance, please send me an email with your first and last name as well as a mailing address: contact@thetechieteacher.net Thank you!

  11. I’m an assistant principal and we are having so many recent issues of cyber bullying coming up lately with our 5th graders. This is a great lesson for them to collaborate on while learning signs and ways to prevent cyber bullies.

  12. This spinner idea is awesome! I use collaborative writing often, but this lesson takes it up a notch, or four...

  13. So many great ideas--I really liked that you gave some ideas of how to model the cooperative writing for students. This is definitely a lesson my students could benefit from. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I haven't heard of this book, but now I can't wait to check it out! Thanks for the great ideas!

  15. You have so many ideas to seamlessly integrate technology. Can't wait to check out this book. Thanks!

  16. Love the interactivity of the lesson! Sometimes it's hard to work in pair and share when we have so little time.

  17. In looking at the book on Amazon, it is listed as written for 3-5 year olds? This feels like a 3d grade -5th grade lesson though? i am thinking the Amazon post is incorrect

    1. Hi Lisa! I think any age would enjoy this story and I wouldn't label it as a book for just 3-5 year olds. It has a very strong message about "being mean behind the screen" that upper elementary kids need to hear and discuss. If you look at the thumbnail images you can see many of the pages with text.

  18. I love this idea! Our school is part of the Leader in Me program and our School WIG is writing! I have been looking for a fun way to incorporate writing into our technology lessons. This is perfect!!

  19. Awesome lesson! Cant wait to try!