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Middle school lesson plan: Josh takes a risk

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This is a Communication Skills lesson plan for grades 4 to 8. It is built around a story called "Josh takes a risk." Links to all nine sections of the lesson are included.

Section 1: Lesson Objectives for Teaching about Communication Skills Concepts

Clicking on this resource link leads you to the following 10 items:
A. Character Traits Addressed
B. Conflict Resolution Strategies Addressed
C. Other Concepts Addressed
D. Cognitive/Instructional Objectives
E. Emotional Objectives
F. Behavioral Objectives
G. Glossary of Terms
H. Lesson Length
I. Links for Teaching Posters for Classroom Use
J. Links for all the Communication Skills stories and lesson plans


Section 2: K-W-L MODEL

K-W-L Model discussion about Communication Skills concepts

To introduce the concepts of Communication Skills, ask your students:

A. K questions – What do you KNOW about this topic?

B. W questions – What do you WANT TO KNOW about this topic?

Please note: The L discussion questions are reserved for the end of the lesson.


Section 3: Communication Skills Vocabulary terminology

Class will discuss any still unclear Glossary of Terms.


Section 4: Communication Skills Story

Communication Skills story title: Josh takes a risk

A. Teacher reads story to the class called “Josh takes a risk.”

B. Story Description: Imagine your teacher expects each student in the room to give a speech or perform a story. You, however, are feeling nervous or reluctant to perform. That’s the way that a boy named Josh felt.

Here is a story scenario you can use to help teach about the importance of making eye contact with others when you do public speaking.

As you may be aware, many students would rather eat nails than get up in front of their classmates to do any kind of public speaking. Making eye contact with your teacher and the other students in the room is one technique that really helps build your comfort level in the long run. A boy named Josh did not believe that making eye contact could actually help him build his comfort level; however, when he finally took the risk to try it out, he found it actually worked for him as well.

This story called “Josh Takes a Risk” illustrates the importance of making eye contact with your teacher and your classmates when you give a public speaking speech or performance.


Section 5: Popcorn Review

Directions: After reading each target story, spend a minute or two conducting a quick story wrap-up called a Popcorn Review. This gives students an opportunity to share their reactions to and impressions of the story characters and events.


Section 6: Communication Skills role-play

A. Students participate in scripted role-play called “Josh takes a risk.”

B. By clicking this link, you will get directions plus the link to the PDF file for the scripted role-play to print for classroom use.


Section 7: Main idea discussion questions

This is where you get main idea discussion questions for story called “Josh takes a risk.”


Section 8: Communication Skills writing assignment

This is where you get the writing assignment for the Communication Skills story called “Josh takes a risk.”

Directions: Students will write about the six Bloom’s Taxonomy Questions for the Communication Skills tale called “Josh takes a risk.”


Section 9: K-W-L MODEL

Have the wrap-up K-W-L Model discussion about Josh takes a risk

To close out the lesson on Communication Skills, ask your students:

A. L questions – What have you LEARNED about this topic?


Bonus Sections

A. Role-play slideshow: Josh takes a risk

B. Printable anti-bullying worksheet: Josh takes a risk

C. 3C’s Communication Skills Portal page housing links to all Communication Skills lesson plans posted on


See Debbie Dunn’s articles on | School Conflict Resolution | K-8 Classroom Activities | Women’s Health | Storytelling Website

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