Lesson powerpoint here

  • Play ‘Doubt – Gossip’ clip, or this clip from ‘The Social Network 
  • Ask students in small groups to define gossip and to discuss their own experiences of gossip. How do people do it? When do they do it? Who is there? What does it feel like? Is gossip kind or cruel? Why? Why is gossip spread when the person isn’t there? If the person is there, is it still gossip or is it bullying? Is there a difference?
  • What do students think it would be like to be gossiped about? Ask students in small groups to try to depict the experience. They could act it out or do a sculpt of a person; they could draw it, model in play-doh or just simply write a description.
  • Ask students to come up with simple ways that gossip can be reduced or eliminated in their house.

Gossip, being online and identity.

  • Tell the students the story of the Ring of Gyges (pron. ‘gyjees’), which they might have heard already (it’s on the lesson powerpoint). Ask them what they would do if they were invisible.
  • Discuss. Would any of them act differently? Why? Would any of them act the same? Why? Is being invisible a bit like being online? How?
  • Refer back to the 4 features of the internet from the previous lesson: how could persistence, searchability, spreadability and visibility contribute to gossip?
  • There is an interesting article from The Week here about how these 4 features of internet communication can have big consequences when we share information unwisely, especially the story about Justine Sacco losing her job after unwise tweets.
  • Ask students to work through the questions on identity on the lesson powerpoint.
  • Ask students to think about how the things they do online affect their identity and image. Is our online identity different from our true identity?
  • Read Paris Brown story. Discuss how her actions fitted her identity.
  • Some people choose to be cruel online. Watch this clip (confessions of a cyberbully): do students agree/disagree with the views expressed?

Prep: Ask students to keep their eyes open for gossip/ cruelty this week and write about the impact it has AND if it’s resolved and HOW.