Project Cornerstone – Say Something Letter

Dear [Personalize this],

[Mention a time, like “last friday” or “on wednesday”], the ABC Readers of Project Cornerstone visited the classroom and read SAY SOMETHING, written by Peggy Moss and illustrated by Lea Lyon.

The book is from the point of view of a girl who observes classmates being teased. She doesn’t join in the teasing, but she doesn’t stop the teasing either. One day, she must eat lunch alone, and finds herself the target of some unkind teasing. She felt alone but when she looked around, her friends were at the next table, but they didn’t stand up for her. She realizes how alone the other teased kids must have felt when she didn’t stand up for them.

Building on the lessons of the previous books, HAVE YOU FILLED A BUCKET TODAY and SIMON’S HOOK, we discussed and defined the characters in SAY SOMETHING.

We called the person who was doing the unkind teasing “Low Bucket”, referring to the idea that if someone does unkind things, they might be doing it because they have a low bucket, and they are engaging in bucket dipping activities to try and fill their own bucket.

We called the person being teased, the “Target”.

And we called the person who was watching, but doing nothing to help, the “Bystander”.

Then we showed the kids that, just as there are ways to stay “free fish” in SIMON’S HOOK, there are ways of helping their friends too, both the Low Bucket friend, and the Target. By helping both friends, the kids can change from “Bystander” to “Upstander”!

 photo Say Something Poster_zpszy1ni8da.jpg
Upstander Poster. The yellow face slides up and down on a magnet, which is taped to the back side of the poster.

We depicted this visually by showing them a poster in which we slid a Bystander avatar up a green arrow to intercede between a Low Bucket person and a Target, thereby helping both friends.

We gave the kids three possible methods to be an Upstander, and we provided examples for each:

Vocally: “Ask me to play with you.” and “Talk to me.”

Physically: “Stand with me.” and “Listen to me.”

Be a Friend!: “Help me get away.” and “Help me get an adult.”

Finally, using examples we’ve heard from the kids or observed on the playground, we put on a puppet show to demonstrate how those methods can be used and reviewed the terms Low Bucket, Target, Bystander, and Upstander.

SAY SOMETHING, by Peggy Moss and illustrated by Lea Lyon, is available at the school library, the Mountain View Public Library, on Amazon, and as a Kindle book. It is a short book with illustrations which underscore the themes of isolation and friendship, and an ending which sets the scene for discussions on how it feels to be the Target, Bystander, and Upstander.

We encourage you to check it out or buy it for your home library and to read it together as a family, spending time on each page to explore the relationships between the children depicted and how your child might feel with his or her relationships at school.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

The ABC Readers of Project Cornerstone,


[Parent Volunteer Names]