What to do about tattling?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mister Teacher, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    Attention all teachers! I am once again calling for your assistance on a future education.com column. I appreciate all of the responses that I got for the "What are you doing this summer?" prompt, and I hope the response is just as good this time around.


    This time, I'd like to know how do you handle kids who tattle? I mean, face it, you can't be a teacher and NOT constantly deal with those kids who feel a mighty sense of justice for everyone except themselves.


    So what strategies or techniques do you employ to deal with these tattle tales? Feel free to leave a comment here, or send me an e-mail with the subject "Tattle Tales."


    Learn Me Good
    learnmegood2.bl0gspot.com
     
  2.  
  3. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    Kid: 'Tattle, tattle, tattle....'
    Me: 'Hmm... So what do you think we should do about that?'

    It makes the tattler stop and think-most of the time there is NOTHING we can do about it. Then they hang their head and walk away, and I go back to doing what I was doing.

    I'm pretty low maintenance. There's not a whole lot that my kids can do to work me up, but they are use to getting their parents all in a tiffy about stupid things. I think it's an attention thing. When they see it doesn't get a rise out of me, they stop.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Jul 10, 2008

    I don't want to know unless there is a crime committed or someone is bleeding!! If there is a smaller issue, I have an "issue bin" where they can write the problem on a scrap of paper and put it in the jar. I review any issues at the end of the day and decide whether or not I need to handle anything.
     
  5. glen

    glen Companion

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    When I used to teach first grade, I would ask the tattler first if the behavior was a 'double d' (dangerous or destructive). If the answer was no, they would go tell it to the fish- a big fluffy stuffed animal in a private corner of the room who was a fantastic listener!
     
  6. missred4190

    missred4190 Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    I just tell students that there is a difference in a report and a tattle. Reports are things we need to know, such as "bleeding, hurt, dying or choking." The kids laugh when I ask if this is part of their report, but it also stops them from going any further if it is not important.

    I also have a "Tattle Bag" and tattle slips. The first few days, it was full of things like, "Susie touched my pencil." By the end of the week, I only had about 3-4 items day. Week 2 had only 3-4 for the whole week! I always review the slips and there were times in which we needed to have a discussion or address an issue.

    I love the idea of the Double D, Glen. I will have to use those terms. They cover more areas/issues.
     
  7. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,845
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    Can't remember where I read it, but the gist of one great idea someone had was to tell the tattler, "When we go to recess, please sit on the sidelines and write down all the information that you think I should know." Something to that effect. Anyway, no one wanted to miss out on recess or whatever the planned activity was (maybe PAT), so the issue was dropped.
     
  8. teach_each1

    teach_each1 Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    378
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    for tattling and the need some of my students had to tell me every detail of their home lives (some of them very screwed up) I would have them write me a note and put it on my desk chair.

    I did this for a variety of reasons:

    1. it stopped most "non important" messages b/c the student didn't feel like writing it out
    2. it gave the child an outlet-sometimes they just need to tell
    3. it was in their language and writing (which proved to be helpful on many occasions when their tattles or home situations warrented involvement) This way I wasen't unintentionally putting a spin on it
    4. I could review the note when had time
     
  9. Eneli

    Eneli Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    I explain to children the differences between a complaint and a report of something I really need to know. If it's a complaint, then they should write it on a sheet of paper and put it on my desk. I read it and proceed if it is important. It also helps students practice letter writing skills (a big plus).
     
  10. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 10, 2008

    The Tattle Jar, basket, etc. is great! I'd never thought of telling a stuffed animal, but I love that idea!
     
  11. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,074
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    I tell my students that I sub for that they should only tattle if its an emergency. Since they don't seem to know what an emergency is I tell em' that its only if someone is hurt or needs to go the bathroom(sick or emergency potty break). Other than that raise don't tell me unless its about you.
     
  12. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,074
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    A teacher I subed for had a simular thing. If something happened while I was there or another sub was then they could write it down and she could know about it when she came back. I read em' most said stuff like Mrs. does(me) got on to me for whatever and they wrote there side of it down or when 2 were fighting or having a disagreement they would write there side. Then she could deal with it although I try to leave as little as possible for the teacher to do when she/he comes back. Like some teachers let me grade papers. Even tho I am not paid for that I feel it puts a littleextra in there when writing a referance or calling me back again. Like she did this even tho she did not have to. I even try and clean up the room to the best I can without messing up her stuff.
     
  13. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    In the rare instances where tattling does occur in my room, I tell my students to write down what the problem is and to tell me everyone that is involved. I have found that most of the time, they don't want to bother writing anything that doesn't get graded and I never hear about it again. When I do get something in writing, I usually talk with each of the students individually and never hear anything again.
     
  14. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    Excellent responses!
    I guess I'm always concerned that my kids will spend their ENTIRE day writing down grievances against each other!

    Please keep 'em coming!
     
  15. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 11, 2008

    I've done the Tattle Jar in the past, too. A lot of times, students just want to tell someone what happened and if they write it down and put the paper inside the Tattle Jar they tend to feel better about the situation and it's no longer an issue. I've read that some teachers just dump the contents into the trash without reading them, but I always wanted to maker sure that there wasn't a serious issue that I truly needed to deal with.
     
  16. lou reed

    lou reed Companion

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 11, 2008

    I just respond "thanks for sharing" and leave it at that. It cut down on the tattling a lot once I started using it regularly.
     
  17. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Jul 11, 2008

    I agree with that. I found a note in my jar saying that someone had "bad" things in their math notebook. I went through the child in question's desk and sure enough. There were body parts drawn, talk of oral sex, MANY pages with swear words, etc... (In the 5th grade :eek:)
     
  18. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,893
    Likes Received:
    167

    Jul 11, 2008

    I hate hearning that stuff! I think all teachers, especially those who teach grades that are really prone to it, should thoroughly go over what tattling is, even do a few examples, so the kids really understand, & then explain that it will not be listened to, unless it's a serious or dangerous situation. This should be done at the beginning of the year & stressed throughout the year.
     
  19. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 11, 2008

    What did you do about it? Yikes!

    I usually tell them, "Thanks for letting me know," and give them a blank look. They usually walk away bewildered. :) This year I will put a Tattle Jar in my room if I need one. I'm hoping by 5th grade the tattlers will have cooled it a little.
     
  20. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,483
    Likes Received:
    204

    Jul 11, 2008

    When a first grader is about to tattle, I remind them that whoever they tattle on will get to tattle on them - i.e. tell their side of the story. And then I ask "would you like to drop it?"

    95% of the time they drop it, because when Suzy called Billy the mean name, it's usually because Billy did something obnoxious. As much as Billy may want to get Suzy in trouble, what he did was probably just as bad.
     
  21. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Jul 11, 2008

    Oh, I handed it over to the principal. I did not feel that it was my place to do anything about it. I found it the evening before our last school day for Christmas break. I was hoping that my P would not allow her to participate in our party. However, she let the parents handle it. She came back from vacation with a new notebook and said that she didn't have a very good vacation. I LOVE this child and it was hard for me for a while (I was mad at her for doing these things).

    Unfortunately, the teacher next door had an even worse situation with a yearbook....
     
  22. sherri0318

    sherri0318 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 11, 2008

    That's me, too.........I would LOVE to tell them to write it down in a complaint box or something, but I'm afraid they'll all be writing instead of listening!!!!

    I guess the poster who said "write it down during recess" had the right idea, huh?? :)
     
  23. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Jul 11, 2008

    Well, my theory on that is if someone is kicking their chair, they are not listening anyway. They might as well be writing their tattle. Most of it came with individual or partner work. If something happened while I was teaching, they typically waited until they could begin working to write it down.

    Of course, I have older kids. So, I am sure that makes a difference as well!
     
  24. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,888
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 12, 2008

    They write a formal letter to me telling me all about it. It's hectic for a while, then they realize how much time it takes to write it down and in weeks tattling is cut in half.
     
  25. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 12, 2008

    Oh misterteacher! I am so glad to see you here.
    I read your posts on another board, but that board just got too nasty for me.
    Please post your stories here too!
     
  26. jenteach

    jenteach Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 12, 2008

    For 2nd grade I did two things. The first was a "bug" and a "wish." If students were having a problem with another student they were told to give that student a bug and a wish. "It really bugs me when you______________ and I wish you would ___________." When they come up to me and start with someone else's name I stop and ask if they have given him/her a bug and a wish. Also, if needed I created a tattle jar. For mine students needed to write down the incident, who was involved, and witnesses. If it wasn't a big deal they usually weren't willing to spend the time to write it all down.
     
  27. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 14, 2008

    I don't know if someone said this... but...

    You can have students fill out a short complaint form, but they'd be required to fill it out in neatest handwriting/with perfect spelling. Students sometimes don't want to do the extra work, which most likely will cause the problem to subside. :) Even better yet, if it is so serious, then you can address the issue the next day when the students are more calm.
     
  28. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 14, 2008

    I created Tattle Fred out of madness (I was going crazy!!!) last year! I was really tired of listening to my tattling 5th graders, so as we returned from the restroom I went to the teacher workroom and ripped of a piece of butcher paper from the giant roll. As we were walking to the room, there were whispers about what the paper could possibly be for, but I didn't say a word. In the room I grabbed a stapler, a sharpie, and a manila envelope (the kind you might mail something in...it's the first thing I could grab). I marched straight up to the bulletin board, stapled the paper up and drew a crazy looking stick figure. This was probably the worst stick figure I had ever drawn! His hands were in the air, so I stapled the manila envelope to his hand as if he were holding it. I labeled the drawing "Tattle Fred."
    I told my students, "If you want to tattle, tell it to Fred because I only want to hear it if it's an emergency or if someone is being harmed in some way." Yeah, so maybe it was a little out of line, but I didn't have anymore tattling. haha There were, however, a couple of notes that went to Tattle Fred before their efforts fizzled out.
    I know this doesn't help very much, but it made me laugh when I thought about it, so I had to share.
     
  29. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2008

    Thank you very much, everyone! I just got back from a week of vacation, but I am looking forward to compiling everyone's responses and suggestions into a near-future column for education.com.

    I am also looking forward to trying some of these techniques and strategies myself!!
     
  30. NJArt

    NJArt Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 21, 2008

    there was a kindergarten teacher in my school who got tired of the tattling... so she hung up a poster of the governor on the wall, and when a kid would tattle she'd say "go tell the governor"... and they would. HAHAHAHAHA She said you'd see them go over and start talking to the poster.

    If someone tattles about someone saying something rude, ect, I tell them what THEY can say to the person so they handle the problem themselves. OR, I will agree and say "yeah, that was kind of rude, wasn't it?" and go back to what I was doing, and they sit down. If the same person tattles more then once I usually say something like "you really like to try to get people in trouble, eh?"... they usuallly puts an end to it. At least for the period. ha

    There was a gym teacher who had another approach. She had lunch duty, and if someone tattled on someone she would give the offender 5 minutes on the wall for whatever they did, and the tattler 7 minutes for tattling. Not necessarily the best approach, and not what I would do, but it did curtail the tatteling.
     
  31. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    6,021
    Likes Received:
    1,506

    Jul 21, 2008

    I have middle school kids, and I make them write it down. I've got a very formal-looking "incident reporting sheet". At the top there is a definition of "tattle" vs. "report a problem". If they think that their issue is a real problem, they finish filling out the page. Then they give it to me.

    Most of the time if it's just a tattle, they won't bother to actually fill the paper out because it's kind of involved. Usually it's a real issue--typically bullying--and then I have a written record for documentation.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Jens Irving,
  2. Colliemom,
  3. LaFish
Total: 263 (members: 4, guests: 222, robots: 37)
test