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!

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