Tackling Tattling

Tattling is a constant issue at the elementary level.  With our school’s focus on anti-bullying, it’s sometimes difficult to know how much attention to give to students’ complaints about their peers.  It helps to make sure that the children understand the difference between tattling and telling, and to set clear expectations about how each will be handled.jpg_whisper201

Children tattle for many different reasons.  Some want to test limits and figure out whether or not the teacher will enforce rules.  Sometimes students point out misbehavior so that the teacher will recognize the their own efforts to follow the rules.  Other students may not know how to handle a situation, so they turn to an adult for guidance.  Of course, there are also times when the concern is legitimate and there’s good reason for reporting an inappropriate behavior.

The best way to eliminate tattling is through classroom discussion.  Students can work together to create a list of specific situations they encounter at school such as name calling, non-participation in group activities, incorrect completion of an assigned activity, taking another child’s belonging, using inappropriate language, cutting in front of someone in line, and so forth.  Once the list is made, students can decide which should be reported, which should be handled on their own, and which they should simple ignore.

Reporting Vs TattlingA good way to reinforce the whole-class lesson, is by displaying this FREE poster by edgalaxy.com.  Students who continue to tattle can be directed to this poster to review the difference between reporting and tattling.

This FREE 2:10 minute You Tube video, Tattling vs.Telling is a clear, straight-forward way to initiate another lesson followed by whole-class discussion.  It explains the difference between reporting a serious concern and trying to get a classmate in trouble.

For teachers who want to implement a more formal plan, this FREE 8:47 minute You Tube video, Tattle Ender by Charity Preston outlines a paper-and-pencil classroom management program.   Using this approach, students who bring any issue to the teacher that is not of immediate concern are directed to record the issue using a special procedure.  At week’s end these notes are reviewed by the teacher who determines which, if any, require additional attention.

Finally, this FREE 2:08 minute You Tube video, Tattle Questions, is a quick, fun song that can be used any time.  Its simple graphics will appeal to K-6 students.  The catchy song provides questions children can ask themselves to decide which situations are tattling and which are telling.

With these resources and little patience, there should be less tattling and more time for teaching!

Should students grade their own work?

happy_good_grade from wpclipart dot comYes.  Students get immediate feedback when they grade their own work.  They take ownership of their progress, or lack thereof.  Students are able to ask questions and get clarification, right away.  Worried about students cheating?  Spot check a few papers each week.  Confront students immediately and follow up for a few days.  Don’t let a few poorly-graded papers keep you from using this time saving approach.

Set expectations for grading and follow through.  Students in my class must use red pen and only mark incorrect answers.  Students record their score as a certain amount of points over the total.  This method puts the focus on the number correct.  When students ask, “What’s my grade?” I show them how to divide the number correct by the total number possible to get a percentage score.

Another approach is to have students work in pairs to correct their completed homework before handing it in.  They learn from each other, make changes, and hand in their best effort.  This approach to grading is even simpler.  Once the work has been handed in, award a small number of points for timely completion.

Not sure if this is a good approach for your classroom?  Start by grading one less set of papers a day.  You’ll be amazed how liberating it is!

Read more here: Benefits of a Student Self-Grading Model -or- How I Grade (by skills or standards) -or- The 3P Grading System.

Need a quick grading rubric?  Check out Teacher Planet‘s rubrics like the one below for all grades and subjects, or you can generate your own.

Teacher Planet has rubrics for all grades and subjects, or you can generate your own.