How to End Tattling in the Classroom

Monday, February 18, 2019

Tattling is a common issue in elementary classrooms and it can be difficult to stop. Tattling can quickly become a classroom management nightmare.  Teachers can use this easy classroom management tool to end tattling in the classroom today!

On one hand, tattling can be a good thing to keep teachers informed of what’s happening in the classroom. But on the other hand, some students begin to tattle every tiny thing they see other kids doing. Students begin to look for negative behaviors and to try to get their peers in trouble. Teachers don’t need to know that Johnny forgot to put his pencil away or that Susie isn’t doodled on her paper. Quickly students begin to identify “tattle tales” and your classroom climate turns negative. So how do you get students to stop tattling and trying to get each other in trouble?

Rule number 1 when trying to change a behavior is to teach an appropriate replacement behavior. Students are likely tattling to gain attention from their teacher or to enforce a feeling of fairness in the classroom. The replacement behavior for tattling needs to give students the attention and fairness they are seeking without driving the teacher crazy.

My replacement solution is class shout outs. Students give each other shout outs when they catch each other demonstrating positive behaviors in the classroom. Instead of tattling and watching for other students to misbehave, class shout outs encourage students to catch each other being good. When students start to look for positive behaviors, they start to build each other up. This nurtures a positive classroom environment and makes all students feel like part of a classroom community.

Class shout outs can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. That’s the beauty of this classroom management tool. You can make is basic enough for kindergarten students or more advanced for fifth graders. The key is to keep students focused on the positives that are happening in the classroom. One year, I simply had students write their name on a sticky note when they received a shout out and then they stuck it to our shout out wall. At the end of the week, I took a photo to share with families so they could see who received shout outs that week. With more advanced students, you can have them write the reason they are giving a shout out to display on your board or write a note home for parents to see, too.

To start using class shout outs in your classroom, all you need is scratch paper or a stack of sticky notes and a place to display them. You will have to give students strict parameters on how and when they are allowed to give shout outs. You can set this up however you’d like. My rule is always no shout outs while I’m teaching and I set up a few times a day when students were allowed to give each other shout outs. For older students, you could have them write their shout outs down so they don’t need to interrupt class at all. One of the keys to successfully implementing class shout outs is to have a place in the room to display each shout out. This gives students validation, motivation, and reminders to make positive behavior choices.

You can set up class shout outs with minimal supplies in your classroom. However, if you are looking to save some time, my Class Shout Outs resource has everything you need to get started including editable parent explanation letters, differentiated shout out notes, displays, and more! You can find them here.

Are you ready to end tattling in your classroom?  Give class shout outs a try!  Let me know how it’s going in the comments!

Easy-to-Implement Self Regulation Tools

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Self-regulation skills are often difficult to teach young students.  We are seeing students come to school with bigger and more disruptive behaviors than ever before.  Often, these children have never been taught how to stay calm in stressful situations.  Young children need visuals and concrete examples to help them to understand complex skills like self-regulation.  Everyone gets upset from time to time, but some students need to be taught how to cope when feeling upset in the classroom.  The good news is there are some easy-to-implement self-regulation tools that are perfect for teaching kindergarten students how to regulate their emotions and behavior choices in the classroom. 

Teachers know that self-regulation skills are critical for student success in the classroom but often don’t have the time or resources to properly teach these important skills.  Developmentally kindergarten students have trouble understanding how to regulate their emotions and stay calm when presented with a challenging situation.  It is important to explicitly teach students the skills they need to successfully self-regulate their emotions in the classroom.  You can do that with a few simple steps. 

Use Visuals

When teaching any kind of social skills, it’s important to start with strong visual supports to help students to understand.  To teach students how to self-regulate, we first must teach students how to identify how they are feeling by using terms that they can comprehend.  Explaining that our bodies run similar to a car engine and that sometimes engines run too fast or too slow.  Like a car, it’s best when our body engines are running just right. 

A color chart can be a helpful visual to show students how their internal body engine is running.  Much like a stop light, green shows students they are good to go or just right.  Yellow would signal a student is feeling out of sorts.  Maybe their engine is running to slow or they are feeling ill.  Red shows students their internal engine is running too fast or out of control.  If a student’s internal body engine is not just right, he needs tools to help him to get back to feeling just right.  It is important for students to check their engine speed or color frequently at first and not only when a student is upset.  This will help a student to feel more successful and to be better at identifying his or her emotions.

Use Social Stories

]Social stories are very helpful when teaching social skills to young students.  Social stories give students a script to follow to train them to make positive behavior choices.  Using a social story to explain what students should do at each engine or color level will give them a script to know what to do when their engine isn’t running just right.  Teachers can explain how to get engines back to just right in kid-friendly terms that students are able to read and comprehend.

Self-Regulation Tools Pack

Another simple to use visual can be a break card.  When a student is learning coping skills, taking a break can be a great way to remove himself/herself from a situation that causes them anxiety.  You can grab my free break cards here.  Just print and use!

Self-regulation skills can be tricky to teach young students but using visuals are kid-friendly explanations will help.  If you are looking for a pack of easy-to-implement self-regulation tools and visuals with social stories you can check out my pack here.  It has everything you need to get started.  Good luck!
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