If you want to combat rumors in your classroom, it's important that you understand the underlying reasons behind why kids gossip and spread rumors, and the potential damage that it can cause to others.
The reality is, if we are really going to put a stop to rumors and gossip, it will have to have to be a group effort with students who also understand their harm.With that in mind, this school website offers two PowerPoint presentations through their guidance department, perfect for starting the discussion with your middle school students.
If you're serious about combating a serious rumor weed that's growing out of control in your classroom, it might be time to enlist the support of parents. For your class newsletter or other parent communications, this parenting article provides some common-sense approaches for parents who catch their own precious snowflake in the act of spreading gossip.
I love how this resource is written for students themselves. It could be very valuable in a situation where it's time to talk with students about what is happening and address it head-on. Appropriate for about 5th through 8th grade, but could easily be adapted for older or younger students.
There's a subtle difference between rumors and gossip which this resource explains, then going on to demonstrate how rumor-spreading or gossip can be subtle form of bullying, especially on social media.
This teacher suggests a fun game to help students understand the impact that gossip and rumors can have. It would be a great way of introducing a talk with students on the seriousness of engaging in rumor-spreading behavior.