Communication Styles Activity I Do in 4th

In my fourth grade curriculum, we spend a lot of time exploring how we relate to others and how our relationships with others impact how we see ourselves. One big area of focus is communication. To teach kids about communication styles, I do this introductory lesson with a weather analogy to help them understand different ways of communicating.

Want to Teach Kids About Communication Styles? I use this activity in 4th grade to teach passive, assertive, and aggressive communication.

Teach Kids About Communication Styles

1 – Good News

I always start my classroom lessons by giving kids the space to share good news. I always tell them it can be big, like you won the championship or small like you had your favorite breakfast today. Anything that is important to you counts!

2 – Pretest

I administer a super-short pretest just asking students to match statements to communication styles. I always remind them that this isn’t for a grade. It’s just to help me know what they already know, what they learn, and what else I can teach them. I tell them it’s totally okay to write that they don’t know or just draw a question mark if they are unsure. I also find it’s helpful to ask early finishers to draw a cute doodle or write their favorite school-appropriate joke on the bottom just to maintain focus space for those who are still working.

Want to Teach Kids About Communication Styles? I use this activity in 4th grade to teach passive, assertive, and aggressive communication.

3 – Ways We Communicate Brainstorm

As a whole group, I ask students to brainstorm all of the ways we communicate. They come up with things like:

  • Speaking
  • Body language
  • Texting
  • Sign language
  • FaceTiming
  • Zoom, etc.

4 – Instruction

Our focus in this lesson is on verbal, speaking communication. I use weather analogies to help kids understand communication styles:

Light Breeze: Passive Communication

  • We might notice it or we might now
  • It doesn’t really impact us or change our course

Warm Sun: Assertive Communication

  • We notice it and we feel it
  • It impacts us and might change our course
  • It doesn’t destroy us or scare us

Tornado: Aggressive Communication

  • We are startled, shocked, or scared by it
  • It changes our course, sometimes out of fear
  • It damages our space (physically, emotionally, mentally)

5 – Small Group Activity + Share

In small groups, students are given 1-2 scenarios (depending on time). I ask them to create passive, assertive, and aggressive responses to each scenario. Then, they share to the whole group. As they act these out, this is a great opportunity to discuss how tone, volume, and body language also play into verbal responses!

6 – Debrief

  • Why do you think some people might choose passive responses?
  • Why do you think some people might choose aggressive responses?
  • How does it feel when others use aggressive communication?
  • How does it feel to use passive communication?
  • How do you think using assertive communication could make our classroom/school a more respectful environment?
  • How can we encourage one another to use assertive communication?

7 – Posttest

Last but not least, I have students complete the posttest as an exit ticket before they leave. I also ask them to circle the communication style they think they use most often to give me a little more insight into how they see themselves and who might need additional support.

Want to Teach Kids About Communication Styles? I use this activity in 4th grade to teach passive, assertive, and aggressive communication.

Keep Reading:

Find more information on my blog about communication and other important social skills:

Want to Teach Kids About Communication Styles? I use this activity in 4th grade to teach passive, assertive, and aggressive communication. This communication lesson is perfect for 4th grade classroom counseling lessons or 5th grade classroom counseling lessons, social skills small group counseling lessons, or individual lessons on communication skills.

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