Gossip and Rumors Part 2 - "Trouble Talk" Lesson Plan

Thursday, April 27, 2017
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Trouble Talk by Judy Ludwig book cover and Lesson plan examples

Book cover of Judy Ludwig's book Trouble TalkFor my classes that needed an extra dose of gossip/rumors, I got to pull out Trudy Ludwig's Trouble Talk. I'd been a little hesitant to use it before because all of the characters are female, but I think some of its themes apply to boys as well. In the future, I think this could even be a great opener to the THINK Before You Speak unit as a whole. I can't rave enough about Trudy Ludwig's books. Can't. Get. Enough of them.

While reading, I stopped and asked:
  • Infer the plot based off the cover and title.
  • What does she mean by "big mouth"? Does she mean she literally has a big mouth?
  • Was she really doing Keisha a favor?
  • Why do you think Keisha stopped hanging out with Maya whenever Bailey was around?
  • Is Hua's crush any of Bailey's business? Why is Bailey butting in then?
  • Bailey spread the rumor about Hua to get back at her. Why do you think Bailey spread the rumor about Maya? (*we discuss this more in depth later but I like to prime their brains)
  • Have any of you ever been in that situation before? Where you heard mean or hurtful things said about one of your friends?
  • ***And lots more depending on what activity I did next.

My 4th grade homerooms vary in regards to their physical arrangement, so I used two different activities to follow up, depending on the class.

For rooms with spread out desks or rows (and that do well with movement and can manage voice levels!), we played "Quiz, Quiz, Trade" with these task discussion cards. On three of the cards, I put a star and a number*. When we were done with QQT, I collected the cards but asked the students with a starred cards to hold onto them. We gathered in a circle and had a class discussion about those three questions - questions I thought the group needed to talk about more deeply.
*I write the number with permanent marker on laminated cards. To remove, I color over it with dry erase marker and erase. This let's me customize the cards for each class/cohort.

Students reading task card's for the the Trouble Talk lesson plan

Trouble Talk lesson plan task cards

For classes seated in table groups (and/or that need more structure), I tried out a new activity called "Simultaneous Round Robin" or "Simultaneous Round Table." I picked the four most important discussion questions about the story and about gossip/rumors in general and made sheets for each of them with spots for four different answers. Each student in the table group received a different question and they wrote their responses until I told them to rotate. The sheets rotated clockwise and students read their new question, read the prior students' answers, and then added their own responses. After four rounds, each student had answered each question.

Trouble Talk lesson plan: Round table task sheets for students that sit in groups.

Student example responses to Trouble Talk round robin task sheets.Student example responses to Trouble Talk round robin task sheets.

For both activities, we closed by gathering round the carpet and discussing their responses. My hope was that students would find their peers' responses more compelling than their own and would share out about them - but most students stuck closely to their own ideas! After talking through the motivations behind gossiping, how to earn back trust, and what to do when stuck between friends, we went around the circle and each student named 1 thing they could talk about with their classmates besides other people. A personal fave?

"You could talk about bacon!"

If you're interested in these materials ready made for you, click the image below to find them in my TpT store!

School counselor lesson plan for Judy Ludwig's Trouble talk, a companion lesson sold on TpT

"Baditude" Lesson Plan

Sunday, April 23, 2017
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Bad attitude lesson plan. 3rd grad problem solving using positive thinking and the book Baditude.

Since I'm a strong believer in the power of thought, one of the lessons for 3rd grade's problem solving unit is on positive attitude/positive thinking. Enter: Julia Cook's Baditude! What to Do When Life Stinks! (Responsible Me!)
The kiddos were all excited to see another book with the main character Noodle from our But It's Not My Fault! lesson. I sometimes skip a couple pages because it's wordy, but it's a really clear (and entertaining, especially if read in a whiny voice!) example of negative attitude. These are some of the questions I ask them while we're reading:

  • What do you think a “baditude” is?
  • Pg. 18: What is a “pity party”?
  • Pg. 24: What is Noodle’s mom trying to say here, about getting back what you give?
  • Pg. 30: What helpful thought can Noodle have about no video games in school? What helpful thought can he have about sitting by a girl?
  • What were some of the unhelpful thoughts Noodle had?
  • What were some of the helpful thoughts his mom suggested he think instead?
  • I also have to stop and explain "unibrow"! Even my non-ELL students were baffled at the word before we practiced making the face!

Once we finish with the story, I task them with working in small groups (3-4) to sort 20 thought cards into "baditude" and "positive attitude".  My students all try to be very fair about things, so their first instinct is to pass out the cards so they all have the same amount and then they read them independently and sort them. Not excellent - they don't hear one anothers' cards and even if they did, they'd be too distracted fiddling with their own to get anything out of it. Lesson learned? Model keeping the cards in a pile and taking turns reading and sorting them one at a time. It's the little things sometimes!

"Making Friends is an Art"

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
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School counselor lesson plan: Making Friends

There's some awesome books out there about friendship, but not as many about how to attract friends (and not repel them), especially fiction ones. That makes Julia Cook's Making Friends Is an Art! a rarity and one many of us own. And so it's a bit sad that...well...there's a potential race issue.

Must Have Books - Anger/Frustration

Monday, April 17, 2017
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This is Part 3 in my must have book series. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here!

School counselor lesson plan Anger and Frustration book cover Anh's Anger.

Part 3: Anger/Frustration

Needless to say, there are a lot of books to choose from in the area of anger. Top faves, all of which also have a regulation component, are below.

Gossip/Rumors Lesson - Part 1

Sunday, April 9, 2017
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Lesson plan on Gossip & Rumors with a studen pic participating in an activity, cover of the book What James Said and an example of a task card.

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.

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!

pic of students feet playing cross the line if while participating in a lesson plan about Rumors and Gossip
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 and have some students read it aloud.

Lesson plan on Rumors & Gossip black and white poster

After discussing these ideas, I introduce them to my new favorite collaborative learning activity: fan and pick! 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.

Fan and Pick 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 mats to use to help them remember who is in which role each time. I posted the activity here on TpT (50% off for the first 24 hours).

picture of students playing Fan and Pick, part of a lesson plan on Rumors and Gossip
Jobs for fan and pick activity related to Gossip and Rumors lesson planFan and pick question and answer scenarios for Rumors and gossip lesson plan.

I tried something new this week during our lessons...shooting little video clips of them in action. Instead of being hams, they were actually a bit camera shy and I ended up pretending I was just casually holding my cell in my hand. I loved being able to capture this live though and hope to continue this, especially if it's something I could use for my professional evaluation.


To download the game ready-made, click the image below to link to them in my TpT store.
Gossip & Rumors Fan-N-Pick or Scoot Activity packet to be used with Gossip and Rumor Lesson plan

Snoots Toots Game of Empathy and Manners: Review

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Review of Therapeutic game Snoots Toots: A kid's game of empathy and manners.

With some of the money the counseling department was so excitedly given this year, we beefed up our collection of therapeutic games. Snoots Toots: A Kid's Game of Empathy and Manners was one that had been on my wishlist for awhile, given the ever present need for social skills resources and the fact that it looked bright and engaged and modern (compared to some more outdated looking games). Here are my thoughts on it.

Gossip/Rumors - Book Options Breakdown

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Book covers for 5 books for lessons on Gossip & Rumors

It is both a blessing and a curse that there are so many great books out there. Lots of options, hurray! Tricky decisions, boo! I was in this situation for my 4th grade gossip/rumors lesson and it got me to really delve into the options. I'm a lucky lady that I own all of these. Here's a quick little guide of when to pick (and not pick!) each of these that will hopefully help you when you're trying to find the right one for your kiddos.

Mr. Peabody's Apples book cover

The Lowdown: Old timey tale, all male characters. Main lessons are that things aren't always as they seem and that it's nearly impossible to 'take back' rumors once you've spread them. Boy sees coach take an apple without paying, tells everyone he's a thief. Turns out, coach pays in advance! Coach tells boy to spread feathers from pillow everywhere then pick them up as an allegory for undoing the gossip.

Personal Space Camp - 2nd Grade Lesson

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Lesson plan for Personal Space Camp student activity photo and book cover

It's been awhile, friends! I returned back to the wonderful world of school counseling at the end of March after a wonderful 9 weeks of baby snuggles. First up: 2nd grade and personal space.

Personal Space Camp book cover and lesson plan We'd originally planned on doing a "what to do when someone says mean words to you" lesson...but then we found ourselves in the surprising but amazing position of having a cohort of kiddos that don't (usually) have this problem! After chatting with the 2nd grade team lead, we decided to replace it with a lesson on personal space, fitting in perfectly with our friendship and social skills theme. Of course, we used Personal Space Camp.

Before beginning, we explained what the book was about to students. This was key with our large EL population because without understanding Louis' confusion about personal space vs. outer space, the book is confusing and lacks humor. We also chose to read the book in chunks with our discussion questions and activities built in. Helped a lot with the springtime squirm, if you know what I mean!
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