Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tattling or Telling?

We all know that tattling can be a problem among the younger set. But how can we help children to know when adults need to be informed about an issue? We live in a time when this is a difficult "dance" as we do need to know about bullying, hitting, and hurt feelings. Using role play can help children understand when an adult's help is needed. 

We like to have children act out various scenarios. The following ideas can be used in your classroom to start a discussion about tattling versus telling:

Alexis did not like that Danny was calling her names. She threw sand at him. Should you tell the teacher? Discuss why.

Ryan was playing tag and accidentally bumped into Sarah. She did not fall down. Should you tell the teacher? Discuss why.

Hank was sitting in the library center. He was ripping pages in books.  Should you tell the teacher? Discuss why.

Amanda took a book out of Scott's backpack and put it in her back pack.  Should you tell the teacher? Discuss why.

Lisa spilled a little of her milk on the table. She got a paper towel and cleaned it up. Should you tell the teacher? Discuss why.

After role playing and discussing children's thinking on the scenarios, create a classroom chart with pictures to guide children as they consider whether an incident should be shared with an adult or if it is tattling. Some ideas include:

  • Telling is done when you want to keep someone safe.
  • You should tell if someone does something harmful on purpose.
  • If you need help from an adult, you should tell. 

  • Tattling is done when you just want to get a friend in trouble.
  • If something happens that is an accident and your friend is not hurt, then you likely do not need to tattle. 
  • If what happens is harmless, then you do not need to share it. 

This is something that will likely be an ongoing conversation in your classroom. But, children should know that when in doubt, let an adult know! You can then help individual children who tend to tattle, understand the thinking behind telling and tattling. 

Fun Idea:
Once children understand the nuance of tattling versus telling, there will still be tattlers in the room - it's inevitable! You can post a picture of someone/something famous. Encourage those children who need to tell you EVERYTHING to go and tell it to Mary Poppins or a Minion.

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.B.02, 03, & 06.
Head Start - II.A, B, & C.

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