Trouble Talk: A Read4Health Lesson Plan

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Content Area(s):  
Grade Level(s):  
Grade Level Expectations:  
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education › Third Grade › Demonstrate interpersonal communication skills to support positive interactions with families, peers, and others
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Third Grade › Successful group activities need the cooperation of everyone
Lesson Plan Details
Read Aloud - 4 Days 10-15 minutes each
Essential Question: 

What are some examples of talk that could get us into "trouble"?

Learning Objectives/Student Outcomes: 

Students will understand:

  • we all have a universal need for connection and a sense of belonging.
  • this need can be met in constructive or destructive ways.

Students will know:

  • individual actions can impact relationships at school and within families.
  • the difference between constructive and destructive ways of making connections with others.

Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate effective interpersonal communication skills necessary to express emotions and personal wants and needs in a healthy way.
  • work cooperatively in a group as well as respecting each person's opinions and values.
Key Topics: 
  • Gossip
  • Rumors
  • Lying
  • Sharing information not yours to share
  • Giving hurtful or unsolicited opinions or advice
  • Relational Aggression
  • Alliances
  • Exclusion
  • Friendship
  • Interpersonal Relationships (Fitting in / Trust)

Prior to instruction, the teacher needs to...

Read "Trouble Talk" by Trudy Ludwig

Be familiar with various Kagan activies:  Rally Robin, Show Down, etc.

Learning Experiences and Activities: 

Day 1:  In this lesson, the teacher will...

1.  Introduce book by posing the question "What can happen when someone passes on someone else's information as a way to establish a connection, feel powerful, and gain attention?"  Has that ever happened to anyone?  If students are unable to answer or can't generate a discussion then talk about the effects of gossip and spreading rumors.

2.  Read "Trouble Talk" pages 1-10 (stop when Maya's parents are arguing and Bailey over hears it).

3.  Discussion questions:

  • Do the words "no offense" make what Bailey said to Keisha less insulting?  Why or Why not?
  • Was it okay for Bailey to tell Brian that Lizzy liked him when Lizzy told her not to?

Day 2:  In this lesson, the teacher will ...

1.  Review 1st part of book and characters/plot/problem.

2.  Finish reading "Trouble Talk" - pages 11 through the end (pg. 11 - That Monday morning at school).

3.  Discussion questions:

  • Was Bailey really doing Keisha a favor by telling her the truth in Truth or Dare?  Why or why not?
  • Bailey spreads a rumor about Hua because Hua said that Bailey had "a big, fat mouth."  Why do you think Bailey spread a rumor about Maya's parents getting a divorce?
  • What did Ms. Bloom suggest bystanders do to help targets of trouble talk, without risking their own safety?  Do you have other suggestions?

Day 3:  In this lesson the teacher will ...

1.  Pass out index cards to cooperative groups - each card poses two questions for the group to answer - they will need to work together and come to an agreement in terms of how they will answer the questions.  They can Rally Robin their answers, pass around a piece of paper and everyone writes something, they can discuss and choose a scribe and spokesperson, etc.

  • Card 1 - What are some emotions that you would feel or have felt when someone has said "no offense" to you before saying something negative?  How have you felt or how would you feel if someone shared your secrets with other kids?
  • Card 2 - Which takes longer - building trust or destroying it?  Explain why.  What does it mean when someone says, "You'll be sorry"?
  • Card 3 - Do you think grownups are capable of believing and/or spreading rumors just like kids?  Explain why.  Why do people spread rumors?  What do they get out of it?
  • Card 4 - What would you do if you were the kid in the middle, watching one friend hurt another friend?  How you would feel?  Do you believe people are capable of changing for the better?
  • Card 5 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."  What does this quote mean to you?  Do you think Bailey deserves a second chance if she is truly making an effort to change?
  • Card 6 - What would it take for Bailey to regain Maya's trust and friendship?  What would it take for a friend of yours to regain your trust?

Give students 10-15 minutes to work as a group and come up with answers

Day 4:  In this lesson the teacher will ...

1.  Call on groups to choose a spokesperson and have each group answer their designated questions.


Students will be able to work in groups cooperatively and communicate their answers to the discussion questions.

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Colorado 21st Century Skills
D. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems
C. Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 
A. Apply logical reasoning and analytical skills
Civic Responsibility: 
C. Balance personal freedom with the interests of a community
Work Ethic: 
F. Act with maturity, civility, and politeness
Personal Responsibility: 
A. Balance self-advocacy with the consideration of others
A. Read, write, listen and speak effectively
A. Work effectively with others
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