I can’t tell you how many times a day I say, “I don’t want to hear it!” When a student comes up to you with their eyebrows raised, talking a mile a minute, you know exactly what they are about to do: tattle! Not only is this extremely annoying (being 100% honest), but it isn’t helping the child to solve their own problems. In the beginning of the year, we teach the children what a TATTLE is. A tattle is okay if somebody is hurt or if the situation is dangerous. A tattle is NOT okay if you can solve it by yourself. Here are a few ideas to help eliminate those tattle tongues in your classroom!
A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook is a great read for the beginning of the year. This book tells a story about what happens when all you do is tattle. WARNING: Some children will instantly become petrified to tattle for fear of getting the tattle tongue. This could actually work to your advantage (shhh). In the back of the book, there are rules for knowing when it’s appropriate to tell a teacher.
Rule 1: Be a Danger Ranger
Rule 2: Be a Problem Solver
Rule 3: Now or Later
Rule 4: M.Y.O.B.
If the problem isn’t dangerous and doesn’t involve you, mind your own business. I love how these rules are positively stated rather than telling the child what NOT to do!
Act It Out
One of my favorite parts of the beginning of the school year is performing endless skits. Being as dramatic as possible, show the children exactly what it looks and sounds like to tattle. Act out situations that require telling a teacher and situations that could be solved by yourself using problem-solving strategies and prompts. It’s easier for children to relate if they can hear exactly what tattling sounds like and how obnoxious it really is to have to listen to it.
Using a pretend phone, set a station where children can go and “vent.” Sometimes it’s hard for a child to hold in their feelings and they need an outlet. Rather than tattling, they can practice appropriately “telling” about their situation and “solving” their problem. When the child needs to solve a problem and the other student isn’t in a brain state to calmly apologize and process, the phone can serve as an outlet for the time being.
Good Luck and BEWARE of the Tattle Tongue!