Introduction: Story and initial discussion (10-15 minutes)
Read following story with students:
Sarah and Amy were classmates. They were friends, but like many friends, theywere different.
Sarah liked to study. Reading was her very favorite thing to do. She enjoyedschool and taking tests were very easy for her to do.
Amy liked to play sports. She enjoyed baseball, and she was a very good swimmer.
One morning, at school, their teacher gave them all an exam. Like usual, Sarah found it very easy and had fun doing it. Amy did not find it so easy, but she had a lot of fun that afternoon. She went to a swimming pool with her family and she was the fastest swimmer of any of the children there.
The next morning, everyone got their scores from the exam. During recess, Amy told Sarah that she didn’t pass her test. Amy also told Sarah about winning all the swimming races at the pool the day before.
Sarah went to play with her other friend, Emily. A few minutes later, Emily walked up to Amy and began to tease her, saying, “Amy isn’t smart. She didn’t pass her test.”
This made Amy feel bad.
Ask your students which children in the story did something they should not have done.
Encourage discussion and responses. Bring out the point that Emily did something wrong by teasing, but that Sarah also did something wrong by gossiping.
Lesson Explanation (20-30 minutes):
Step 1: Ask students for their definition of the word gossip.
You can encourage the students to share any true stories of what has happened to them, if you so choose.
Bring out the following points:
Sometimes we don’t realize that what we say can hurt others or make then feel bad.
Sometimes we say something because we want to seem smart, or cool, or because we want to sound like we know something important.
Step 2: Explain the two important rules about gossip:
Rule number one: if there is something you would not say to the person, then you should not say it about the person.
Additional explanation of rule number one: If there is something that you wouldn’t actually say to the person, it isn’t fair to say it behind their back. Just ask yourself, “How would I feel if someone were saying these things about me?” If the answer is that you would feel bad, then you shouldn’t say it at all.
Role play rule number one with the students:
Rule number two: The other rule is so important that it is called “the golden rule”. It says that you need to treat others the way you want them to treat you. So if there was something you wouldn’t want someone to say about you, you wouldn’t say it about them.
Encourage students to think about the effects of gossip by asking questions such as:
In the story, do you think that Amy’s friendship with Sarah was the same after that?
Do you think that Amy told Sarah her score next time they took a test?
Lead students to the realization that gossip hurts not only the person who was gossiped about; it also hurts the person who gossips. People realize that person can’t really be trusted, and they will not have many friends if people realize that they gossip.
Application game (10 minutes):
Ask children if they have ever played the game “Chinese whispers” [also called Grapevine, Broken Telephone, Whisper Down the Lane, or Gossip]. Organize the students in a circle if possible and play at least one round of the game.
Additional points regarding gossip (5 minutes-Optional):
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