The INJJA™ Program (It’s NOT Just Joking Around!™)
In Author/Survivor Jodee Blanco’s Own Words
SEL-Inspired Follow-Up Curriculum: Compassion Based Communications Tools For Students
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 and provides students with specific, Catholic values-based practical tools to help deepen their connection with each other and their teachers on a human level.
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 inclusion 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 themes, each one disseminated as described above. The curriculum is designed to be flexible. Some schools opt to implement it in its entirety via a core class like religion, homeroom or language arts and typically allocate one week per theme. Others pick and choose the themes and activities they wish to focus on and implement them via the class they think most appropriate. I’ve also had many dioceses use some of the activities as part of restorative disciplinary practices, for example, during detention. The key to this curriculum is that it stimulates the imaginations of teachers and brings a fresh, new approach to SEL based learning.
INJJA™’s Process for Schools That Wish to Have the Curriculum Tailored to Their 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 above process can be done virtually and/or in-person. There is an up-charge for a tailored curriculum, call me to find out more.
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.