Secrets are a tough thing for kiddos to keep. What starts as one simple share between friends often spreads like wildfire in no time, with twists and additions that were not originally stated, and eventually can become harmful gossip.
In third grade I began with the telephone game. I had the class sit in a circle and I shared a "secret" with the student sitting next to me. They then passed it along to their neighbor, and so on and so forth, until it came all the way back around. When the last person in the circle shared it aloud, we quickly learned that it was not at all what I originally shared. We discussed what had happened to the original secret and how telling secrets can quickly become harmful.
I then read The Secret Olivia Told Me by N. Joy. This is a simple story with a powerful message. The characters are depicted as silhouettes to draw your attention to a red balloon that grows and follows us through the pages of the story, representing the "secret". We talked about how difficult it is to keep a secret and explored what happens when you don't keep it. Next I had students think about who they trust in their lives with their secrets and what they look for in a trustworthy friend. They shared their reflections in a balloon: