(Classroom lesson for grades 3-6)
will define communication as a process of speaking and listening.
will practice sending and receiving messages carefully.
written on chalkboard or chart paper
a large object for description exercise (see lesson for details)
should have a sheet of paper and pens or pencils available
pair each student with the person next to them. Give each pair
two minutes to take turns talking. Ask each student to tell their
partner: What is something most people don't know about you? Let
them know when the time is about half up so they can switch.
three or four volunteers to share, "popcorn style" what
they said. (They should only speak for themselves, not for their
Go over the day's plan and ask if it seems okay.
Introduction: One person will leave the room. Someone
in the room will become the leader. This person will make different
motions, and whenever s/he changes the motion, everyone will follow.
When the person who left the room returns, s/he will try to figure
out who the leader is.
Select a volunteer to leave the room, then select a leader.
Ask the leader to begin making a motion (e.g., tapping head, clapping
hands, standing on one foot) as everyone follows. At any time,
the leader may change the motion, which everyone must follow.
Ask the student who left the room to return and try to figure
out who the leader is.
did the observer do to figure out who was the leader?
did other people do to try to prevent the observer from figuring
out who was the leader?
are some things people could have done to help the observer
if they wanted him or her to get the answer quickly?
What is Communication?
In the exercise just completed, there was communication among
people. Ask: How were people communicating? What is communication?
What other ways do people communicate? What are some of the steps
in the process of communication?
a short discussion can't do justice to these questions. Communication
is an extremely complex topic. Our aim here is simply to raise
the questions and get the students thinking about them.)
To consider some other elements of communication, the class
will play a description game. We'll ask three different people
to describe the same thing, and we'll compare the three descriptions.
A. Ask a volunteer to leave the room. When s/he returns, s/he
will be asked to see if s/he can guess an object from the descriptions
given by three different people.
While the volunteer is out of the room, select an object in
the room that everyone can see (for instance, a bulletin board
or a large globe). Give students two or three minutes to write
a description of the object. Warn students not to look at the
object when the volunteer comes back into the room so as not to
give away the answer.
Bring the volunteer back into the room. Have three volunteers
read their descriptions and see if the volunteer can guess the
object. If s/he can't, have more people read their descriptions.
Once the volunteer has identified the object, ask him or her:
What was that like? What gave you the best clues as to what the
Ask the class:
did you think about when you were deciding what parts of the
object to describe?
was easy about describing the object? What was hard?
was similar about the descriptions? What was different?
Summarize: Two important processes in communication are observation
and thoughtful selection of what elements to describe.
a few volunteers, What are some things you became aware of today
that you hadn't thought about before?
Go-round. Ask: What's one word you would use to describe an apple?
welcome your thoughts and suggestions about these activities!
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