The INJJA Program (It’s NOT Just Joking Around!™)
In Author/Survivor Jodee Blanco’s Own Words
Part Two-Follow-Up Character Development and Citizenship Curriculum: Compassion, Acceptance and Forgiveness as Engines for Rigorous Change
by Jodee Blanco, Founder of INJJA
*This curriculum is the sole intellectual property of The Jodee Blanco Group, Inc., under the copyright of Jodee M. Blanco and is for internal use only by purchaser, and cannot be re- sold, re-packaged or disseminated in part or in its entirety to any third parties without the explicit written permission of The Jodee Blanco Group, Inc.
The student component of the INJJA program is divided into two immersive phases: the first are live presentations; the second is a comprehensive curriculum. The presentations are designed to open hearts and minds, inspire compassion in the bullies, hope in the victims, and courage in the bystanders. The purpose of the curriculum is to maximize the impact of the presentation experience by reinforcing and expanding upon those themes the rest of the school year. The presentations are the wake-up call to students that change is needed. The curriculum guides them there.
I’ve worked with child psychologists and other pediatric specialists who suggest that kids (and adults too) tend to learn in “3’s” meaning they absorb, assimilate and incorporate lessons into their lives when they’re exposed to the information and have to work through it three times. For example, if you were to drive somewhere new without a nav system, and you had to concentrate using a physical map and feel your way, once you’d done it three times, you ‘d be more likely to remember it, then if you used your nav, and didn’t have to think about each turn. This curriculum is like that map but the journey is one of self-awareness that has three core components:
- Contemplation question inspired by a pull quote from the live presentation-I excerpt a quote from the presentation, typically a section that addresses a specific theme like exclusion or the difference between tattling and telling, and form a question based on that pull quote. Each student will have to answer the question in writing.
- Activity that reinforces the theme-I’ve designed some to be completed in school, while others will be activities for parents to do with their kids at home. The goal of each exercise is to deepen the student’s grasp of the featured theme and help them connect it to their own life or behavior.
- Academic connector-I’ve also included academic tasks that tie in the theme to what students are learning in class. They range from homework assignments, written essays and class presentations to live discussion questions, multi-media projects and creative communications tools. The tasks will be spread across different core classes and give students an opportunity to combine individual expression with an intellectual exploration of the theme.
Dissemination and Implementation of Curriculum:
There are twelve featured themes offered, each one disseminated as described above, with two weeks allotted per theme. Note: you may choose less than twelve themes and do one per week-the curriculum is flexible and designed to accommodate each school’s individual needs. More on that below. The study questions and activities will be assigned in the designated class for implementation (to be determined by administration-many schools opt for advisory or language arts), and the academic tasks via the core class that is the most logical fit for that task (I’ll make suggestions on which classes I think are best for each task, but some of them are designed for flexibility, giving the school the option to choose which core classes they wish to assign to which tasks).
INJJA’s Process for Tailoring the Curriculum to a School’s Specific Needs:
After the presentational phase of INJJA, I return to the school (if an entire district brings me in, I do this process with select participating schools) and talk with students, in small groups, asking them about their observations and experiences relative to bullying. I do a second series of open-forum discussions with faculty, encouraging them to share their perspective. I provide a written report to administration on what I’ve learned from those sessions. After you’ve reviewed the report, we discuss it together, and then I follow up with my recommendations on how to tailor the curriculum for your school(s)’ specific needs. After you’ve approved my recommendations, I submit the curriculum and then come back to the school for an on-site faculty training on its implementation. I also offer additional on-site visits to monitor progress if requested.
The Fee Structure:
The curriculum is a suggested optional follow-up to INJJA’s core component, the day-long series of live presentations. The fee for the curriculum ranges from $3,000.00-$5,000.00 depending upon the number of participating schools and any additional requested on-site visits to monitor curriculum progress.
Some schools and/or a group of schools within a district will bring me in for the speaking component of INJJA first, and then, based on the results from my live presentations, will bring me back for the curriculum. If a school/district chooses to purchase both Part One (live presentations) and Part Two (the curriculum) together under one contract, the curriculum component is discounted as a courtesy for an advance commitment, and can also be included as an add-on for no extra fee, depending upon the number of talks.
The A-HA! Moment Factor of the INJJA Follow-Up Curriculum:
We’ve all experienced it-a moment when suddenly, something clicks, a truth that had eluded us whether due to denial, lack of awareness, insensitivity, or plain old ignorance, finally reveals itself, and it changes our whole way of thinking. Those moments can be inspired in even the most resistant among us, but the tools we use to do it have to engage the whole person, heart, mind and spirit. We can’t demand compassion out of others, nor can we preach it into them. It must be lit from their own desire to grow. This curriculum is powered by the knowledge that there is no such thing as a bad kid, only good kids coming from bad circumstances and that being a victim is a choice, not a fate. The bullying cycle can be reversed, but not by telling students what to do, how to behave, and the consequences if they don’t. It requires taking them on a “field trip” of their own self that excites them and awakens their longing to evolve and deepen. That is the true “A-Ha!” moment for a kid, when they finally want to be better, do better, make the world better, and realize they have the ability to achieve it, starting right now, in their own school.
For more information on the INJJA Post-Presentation Curriculum, please contact Jodee Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-961-3430.