I think we have all had them. The angelic little ne’er-do-wells who are so deeply concerned with reporting the mishaps of everyone else instead of taking care of themselves. The tattle tales. For the most part, tattle tales are really trying to do well by the group. They are the do-gooders. The rule-followers. They just want to be helpful, right?
And then there are a few who have a bit more leadership potential, the bosses. They will be the first to call someone out when doing wrong. So how do you deal with bossy tattle tales in your classrooms? I think it is important to understand some basic framework of tattling which, in turn, helps us curb the problem.
1. Do they have a valid reason? Students may have real concerns about the behavior of others and how it effects them. Sometimes they just need a voice to he heard.
2. Some kids are just nosy and need information.
3. They are calling out students who misbehave in order to redirect positive encouragement back to them.
4. They have limited problem solving skills. Tattling is a way of reaching out and asking for help.
Try a few of these tricks I’ve saved under my belt.
I use a tattle jar when I have some students who are constantly tattling over non-emergency events. It really helps the students feel that they are important and their ideas are valued. Non-writers can draw a picture. Here is my tattle jar. My favorite “twist” on this is to instruct students to “tattle” when they catch someone doing something good. What? What? Yep. It TRANSFORMS the tattling into a POSITIVE action. They write the sweetest notes, too.
Click on the picture to download the labels for free from my TPT store. It was quick and simple to make, just a little Mod Podge and ribbon. I added colored paper behind the label before I glued it on.
Book: Bad Case of the Tattle Tongue
I love this book. I read it when tattling gets out of control. It is adorable and the kids ALWAYS worry if they are going to get tattle tongue.
Book: Don’t Squeal Unless It’s A Big Deal
A MUST read in my classroom at the beginning of the year. It so nicely sets up rules for tattling and opens the discussion for tattling vs. reporting. It has great little guidelines for what is a tattle and what is a report of information.
I hope this gives you a few ideas for dealing with tattling in your classroom.