One of the books that I use to introduce the topic of rumors is She Said What About Me?
The main character in She Said What About Me? discovers that her "friend" has told lies about her. She can't understand why her friend would do this and becomes so upset that she doesn't want to go to school. She ends up talking to her parents who bring her to talk to the school counselor. With their help, she decides to talk-it-out with her "friend".
I like this book for several reasons:
1. I love that the school counselor is involved. This story is a great reminder that students can go to their school counselor for help.
2. I love that the girls "talk-it-out". I use the Kelso's choice curriculum and this is one of the 9 ways to solve a problem.
3. The story shows how hurtful it is when someone spreads rumors.
4. I like that the girls are able to repair their friendship.
5. There are 12 discussion questions at the back of the book.
Telephone: We play the traditional game of telephone to show how a message can change as it is passed from one person to another. I usually pull one student into the hall and tell them a simple message. I instruct them to return to the classroom to whisper it in the next person's ear. The process continues until the "rumor" has been spread to each student in the classroom. The last person announces the message as they heard it. The final message definitely changes after it goes through a class of 15-20 kids!
Toothpaste: Start by telling students that they will each squeeze a large amount of toothpaste onto a paper plate. Explain that each glob of toothpaste represents a rumor coming out of their mouth. Once the toothpaste tube is empty ask for a student volunteer. Instruct this student to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Obviously, the student will not be able to put the toothpaste back in. This can lead to a great discussion about the power of words and how words can't be taken back once they are spoken. Once a rumor is out there, damage has been done and we can't undo it. We also talk about how easy it was to spread the rumor (squeeze out the toothpaste), but impossible to take the words back (put the toothpaste back).
Posters: Each student can pick a topic and make a poster to hang in the wall or in the classroom. (idea from the back of the book).
For Small Groups: A coworker recently recommended the book, The Drama Llama. This book includes a story as well as worksheets/activities.
Another great book about spreading rumors is The Secret that Olivia Told Me.
You could also use the She Said What About Me Card Game. I don't own this game but it looks like it would be good for a small group setting.
More lessons on rumors/gossip can be found here: