Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig

DJ’s friend, Vince, has a
habit of teasing people and
then saying, “Just kidding!”
as if that makes everything
okay. DJ feels that Vince’s
jokes aren’t funny and have a
sharp edge that can “cut you
to pieces”. With the help of
his father, brother and his
teacher, DJ learns to take
positive action in response
to the harmful teasing.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How could you tell that
    DJ was bothered by
    Vince’s teasing?
  2. When Vince said he was “just kidding”, did you believe him? Why or why
  3. Do you and your friends tease each other? How can you tell if your
    friends like it when you tease them? How do you let your friends know
    when their teasing hurts you?
  4. When do you think teasing is okay and when is it not?
  5. Who can you go to if you have a problem with teasing?
  6. What would you do if you saw other kids teasing your friend in an
    unkind way?


  1. Using the board or chart paper, ask the class to call out words or
    phrases that stood out to them – just kidding, tattling, etc. As a word or
    phrase is added to the list, ask the class to define it. You can use this as
    an anchor chart for additional discussions about teasing and bullying.
  2. Put a T chart on the board, with Kidding, and Harmful Teasing as labels.
    Present various scenarios to the group, asking them to decide which
    column each would go into. The scenarios may be printed onto smaller
    cards so that they can physically be placed into the columns or you can
    use happy face/sad face sticky notes to indicate where each belongs.
    Examples of possible scenarios:
    *The person being teased and the person teasing both laugh and swap
    roles happily.
    *Joking continues even when one person becomes upset or says, “Stop!”
    *The joking is meant to get everyone to laugh.
    *The joke is “one-sided” – only one side or one person finds it funny.
    *The joke is meant to laugh at the person.
    *The joke is meant to laugh with the person.
    *The joking stops if a person becomes upset or says, “Stop!”
    *The joking makes the person look uncomfortable.