Students It's Time To Get Involved


“I don’t know if I’ve ever read another YA book that was as believable in how the characters are portrayed. I cheered and laughed throughout the majority of The Fat Boy Chronicles. It was refreshing to see that church was a place that the young boy felt accepted, as many YA novels take a different approach. Also, the fact that it was inspired/based on a true story made the story even better. Please read it! “
– Teacher on Goodreads

There is an excellent curriculum guide for the book and movie. Download it here.

Health Class Lesson Plan.


“A student cannot get a quality education if they don’t first feel safe at school,” Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Unsafe Schools = Lower Academic Performance
#1 Reason A School is Unsafe = Being Bullied or Aware of Bullying
#1 Reason to be Bullied = Be Overweight or Obese
School Climate/School Performance is Directly Related to Bullying and Obesity

Comments from Teachers and Administrators

“This book and movie will save lives, I have no doubt about that.” Dr John Barge, GA Superintendent of Schools

“Once I started, I couldn’t put the book down. Being former high school teachers themselves, the authors were able to nail the real-life high school atmosphere in a way that only a teacher can.”
Charity Preston, teacher and blogger/owner of The Organized Classroom

“Authors Diane Lang and Michael Buchannan (both former teachers) based this diary/adventure on personal observations and in our view it should rank high on the reading lists of every educator and parent in the USA. It will serve as a kick in the pants, a motivation to take action now instead of later.” Rick Osborne, Chicago Teacher

Ideas for Anti-Bullying from the Authors of The Fat Boy Chronicles.

  • Do a survey of students and teachers to examine disconnect of viewpoints on bullying
  • Football player/cheerleader mentors—To be on Varsity team, or whatever is highest level team in a school, the player must agree to be a mentor to a new student or incoming class students
  • For Teachers: Look for signs to identify bullied students— grades dropping, attendance, illness, few friends, overweight, gay, or disabled student are most bullied
  • Does administration acknowledge bullying in your school and its affect on school performance?
  • Recognize that bullying is a learned behavior and often starts in Pre-K
  • Ask Students “Have you seen bullying?” Follow up with “What did you do?”
  • Mix-it-Up day –on Friday, students cannot sit at same table, monitored by teachers
  • Anti-bully pledge—after morning announcements, student-generated
  • Respect agreement—in each class, created by teacher, student signs at beginning of year
  • Anti-bully student committees—cross section of school, not just student council
  • Discuss legacy of school leaders—find leaders in school and get them involved with their classmates and have frank discussion about how they help determine school climate
  • Parent/Child book clubs + discussion of issues = COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
  • IEPs for bullies
  • Help the bully(home life, reward good behavior, attention)—be mindful that the bully needs guidance and not just punishment
  • Role play activities to develop empathy, GROUP WORK—improv bullying situations, include resolution and bystander interaction
  • Teach assertiveness in victim—look at Izzy Kalman program that takes power from bully
  • MODEL CORRECT BEHAVIOR (Have you sat with a bullied child at lunch?)
  • Monitor places of bullying—bathrooms, locker room, bus (in many schools, at least 40% of bullying takes place on the bus or at bus stop)
  • Utilize books like The Fat Boy Chronicles to bridge with books like To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, A Child Called IT and others that lead to discussion about the struggles of teen life.

A letter from the President of New York Reading Association:

People say if you want something done for our youth, ask youth to help you. I think that is very true, considering what our NYSRA Conference was able to offer, through the assistance of a few of our young members who have recently entered the field of teaching.
Community Events have always been an important piece for our conferences. Last October 2012 we had the perfect opportunity to do something for teens and their parents, something we usually don’t have the opportunity to do. Typically community events end up with many pre-k or primary children attending. This year, through the opportunity of Mike Buchanan and Diane Lang offering to promote an anti-bullying theme with their book The Fat Boy Chronicles, and by the authors making school visits during the day and an evening showing of the movie based on the book, as well as a discussion session with parents and teens, our goal met with success.
Two schools were visited by the authors (entire school assemblies) and approximately 75 students and family members attended the evening event. Books were offered for pre-sale at a reduced rate from the publishing company, Sleeping Bear Press. Healthy snacks were promoted and shared at the evening event by the moderator (again one of youngest and newest members of NYSRA). There was also a teen pre-dance activity, door prizes and more! Flyers, newsletters, Facebook, School contacts as well as library contacts were made to help these events meet with success. The teens easily related to the entire program. We appreciate the opportunity to have this program meet with success, and it was due to the generosity of the publisher and authors.

A message from one of the administrators:

“Thanks for getting the NYSRA information to us so that we could disseminate the material to our staff. I heard many positive comments from our teachers and your help in getting our teachers connected with the authors for an author visit at one of our poorest schools was an outstanding opportunity. I heard from the teachers at that particular school that the experience jump started many students into reading!”
– Debbie Dermady 2012 NYSRA Conference Co-Coordinator, Literacy: Common Core and Beyond! NYSRA IRA State Coordinator

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