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Nip Tattling in the Bud

It seems inherent in first graders to want to tattle.

"Mrs. G., Chris is talking."

"Mrs. G., Kim is playing with her pencil."

"Mrs. G., Nate is saying 'poop' all the time."

"Mrs. G., Sally is in her backpack."

An on it goes! It's enough to drive a teacher bonkers! Do you want to know how to stop tattling for good? Here's how:

1) Distinguish between tattling and reporting. Tattling is telling the teacher something that has nothing to do with their own learning. Tattling is mean and just meant to get someone in trouble. Reporting is speaking on the behalf of students who cannot speak for themselves because they are in danger or are too hurt to take care of themselves for the moment. Reporting is good and is a way of seeking help.

2) Dock five minutes of recess from the tattler and the transgressor. This will make the tattler think twice before tattling. Students can be reminded of this before they finish tattling.

Voila! It works after the first few days to a week of school if you follow through with the dock of time in recess.

This ingenius strategy was introduced to me by my sponsoring Level III internship teacher in her first grade classroom. I have used it in my classrooms subsequently and have modified it for my small group reading and math intervention sessions. Try it! You'll love it!

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