Interrupting Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

What can you do when you have something really important to say and don't want to wait your turn to talk? Interrupting is a difficult skill for young children to master, and using direct instruction and reinforcement activities are great ways to make it fun.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify and define interrupting
  • discuss and identify why waiting your turn to talk is important
  • name and practice strategies to use to avoid interrupting


45 minutes for core lesson, plus 30-50 minutes for supporting activity

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1.b

Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1.c

Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1.d

Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.


  • Chart paper
  • Marker

Key Vocabulary

  • Interrupt
  • Patience
  • Wait time
  • Manners
  • Strategy


  • Ask students to think about a favorite activity, such as playing soccer or going to the park, and give them five minutes to write about the experience briefly.
  • Now divide students into partner-pairs and have them identify one as Partner A and the other as Partner B.
  • Tell students each partner will have a turn to tell about their favorite activity but with a social skills twist. For the first minute, the listening partner will interrupt the sharing partner often. Practice with a student, if desired.
  • Have Partner A begin telling their story while Partner B interrupts. Listen in to conversations to guide when necessary.
  • Pause after a minute and ask:
    • What does it feel like when you're interrupted while talking?
  • Allow students to share their feelings, then give them three minutes to tell their stories without interruption.
  • Switch roles and repeat the exercise, then write 'Interrupting' on the board.

Direct Instruction

  • Give partners one minute to brainstorm all the words that come to mind when they think of the word 'interrupting,' recording their words on paper.
  • After one minute, share and discuss words. For example, what does 'rude' mean? Why is interrupting considered rude? Ask:
    • Is all interrupting bad or rude?
  • Guide students to consider when it may be okay to interrupt, such as in the case of an emergency.
  • Have partners make a t-chart labeled 'Good Interrupting' and 'Bad Interrupting,' then give them time to fill in details.
  • Make the chart on chart paper and have groups take turns writing in their ideas.
  • Introduce the term 'strategy' and define.
  • Tell students that sometimes people use a strategy to help them when they feel impatient. Tell of an example when you wanted to talk to your principal but she was busy, so you used the strategy of counting your blinks until she was ready to talk.
  • Give students time to brainstorm their own strategies with a partner, then have them stand up in two rows facing one another.
  • Have these new partners share their interrupting strategies with the person they're facing, then have the line move to the right three paces and share again.
  • Repeat the sharing chain a few times, then have students return to their seats.
  • Share strategies and record on your anchor chart.
  • Finish the lesson by having students reflect and journal about what they learned about interrupting.

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