Gossip ESL Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your ESL/ELL students are going to learn about gossip in the English language. They will then perform a modified '~'telephone'~' activity involving the repetition and sensationalization of a story.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the concept of gossip in American society
  • Explain the ways that gossip can change and expand over several iterations of telling
  • Listen to, comprehend and repeat a story in English with the goal of sensationalizing it


30-45 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.


  • Paper and writing utensils


  • Begin by defining the term 'gossip.' Ask students if people in their countries of origin gossip. Ask them why they think that people in every country of the world do this. Ask them where people gossip -- at work, at home, in public spaces, in private spaces? What sources do people get their gossip from?
  • Ask students what sorts of topics people like to gossip about. Try to get them to identify topics like work, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and school.
  • Tell students that one of Americans' favorite things to gossip about is celebrity news. Define ''celebrity'', and ask students who their favorite celebrities are (both in the USA and in their countries of origin).
  • Explain that celebrity gossip can often escalate quickly because media outlets sensationalize stories in order to attract more viewers or readers. Tell students that they are going to experience this today.

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