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!
- 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.
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..."
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.