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Gossip and Rumors Lesson

To go along with our THINK theme, I put a gossip/rumors themed lesson into 4th grade’s curriculum map. As expected, spring time has gotten these soon-to-be middle schoolers chatting about others’ business and stirring the drama pot. A couple classes in particular have been struggling with this so I decided to give them two lessons on the topic.
gossip and rumors lesson

Last year I tried the cool glitter hand sanitizer thing. I couldn’t quite get it to work out how I wanted to though (not fine enough glitter? sanitizer too watery?) so I scrapped that as an opener. Because I was planning on a longer activity this go around, I went with the staple “cross the line if” hook. They all crossed the line for every single one – they’re an honest group!

Cross the line if…

  • You’ve ever heard someone talking about someone else.

  • Someone has ever talked about you behind your back.

  • Someone has ever said something about you that wasn’t true.

  • You’ve said something about someone else that wasn’t true.

  • Someone has gotten into your business.

  • Someone has told you to mind your own business.

Then we read What James Said. I mentioned before that I had to pick which book that would best fit our gossip and rumors lesson. I surprised myself when I decided What James Said was the best option for this lesson. It works because it’s short and because it, alongside Cross the Line, sets the stage for my wisdom. I project this sign and have some students read it aloud.

gossip and rumors lesson

After discussing these ideas, I introduce them to my new favorite collaborative learning activity: Pick a Card! I made some “what would you do?” gossip/rumor scenario task cards to go with it. I tell the students to use my words of wisdom when they’re answering and either project the mini-poster or give each group their own smaller version.

The first time I did it, I just had cards with scenarios and left them open-ended with “what would you do?”. My students needed some more structure and scaffolding however, so in the rest of my homerooms, I used cards with multiple-choice options.

gossip and rumors lesson

Pick a Card is essentially a structured way for small groups to answer questions. Each group has four jobs:

  • Fan: Fan the cards out and say “Pick a card, any card!”
  • Pick: Select a card and read it out loud.
  • Answer: Answer the question!
  • Respond: “I agree because….” or “I disagree because…”

After each question, the jobs rotate. I made the groups little job mats to use to help them remember who is in which role each time.

gossip and rumors activity
Gossip and rumors are a social communication issue, so it made sense to have students work through this by talking with their peers! When there was about five minutes left to the lesson, I called everyone to circle up so we could process just a little more. I asked them if there were any scenarios they wanted to talk about more (either ones that really applied to them or ones where the group had disagreement).

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gossip and rumors lesson

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Hello, I’m Sara!

With 10 years of experience in
elementary school counseling,
I get to serve in a different way now
– by helping fellow counselors and
educators!

I value quality over quantity,
effective practices and resources,
and meeting the unique needs of all
our diverse learners.