Tattling Versus Reporting – K & 1st Grade Lessons



“Johnny looked at me funny!”

“Susie isn’t doing her work!”

“George is using my pencil!”

If you have ever set foot in an elementary school, you’ve probably heard kids say things like this. Children tattle for a variety of reasons, but it seems to me that the primary reason for tattling is that they do not know how to solve the problem on their own. I think it’s so important for children to learn problem solving skills so that they can begin to handle smaller situations on their own. Cue my yearly lessons on tattling versus reporting. Below I will share 2 lessons, one I use with my Kindergarten classes and one I use with 1st grade.

Kindergarten Tattling Versus Reporting Lesson

I begin my lesson by asking the class if they can tell me what tattling means. Most of them say things like, “Telling the teacher” or “Getting someone in trouble.” When I ask them the meaning of reporting, I get very similar responses, so we begin to talk about the differences between tattling and reporting.

The main difference we identify is whether we are telling about a “kid-sized” problem or an “adult-sized” problem. When introducing this concept, I tell the students that kid-sized problems are smaller things that kids can learn to solve on their own. Adult-sized problems are more serious and require the help of a grown-up. I have the students give some examples of each. When we tell about a kid-sized problem, it is tattling. When we tell about an adult-sized problem, it is reporting.

Once we finish talking about tattling and reporting, I start a game to test their knowledge on the subject. I love this activity because it gets them out of their desks and allows them time to move {which is SO important for children!}. On each side of the room, I tape up a sign. One sign says, “Reporting,” and the other says, “Tattling.” I read a situation to the class, and once they decide whether it is tattling or reporting, they walk to the appropriate side of the room {I learned after my first time doing this to emphasize that they should walk as to avoid kids channeling their inner Tasmanian devils}.

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I read the following scenarios to the class {click the image below to enlarge}:

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Once the game is complete, we all sit in a circle and talk about HOW to solve kid-sized problems without tattling to an adult. I have the kids share their own methods of problem solving, and then I add in my own using cards like these that I created:
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We finish out the lesson with a review of the differences between tattling and reporting. The teachers at my school make sure to reinforce these concepts and to use the same language when addressing a tattling situation. It is so rewarding to see how much of this lesson the students remember when I do my next lesson in 1st grade!



1st Grade Tattling Versus Reporting Lesson

I begin my 1st grade lesson with a review of the concepts presented in Kindergarten, and I am always impressed with how much they remember. During the review, I use a poster that lists the differences between tattling and reporting {the poster can be found here on my TPT Store}.

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We then play a game that is very similar to one I play with the Kindergarteners. I first divide the students into pairs, so that we can work on interpersonal skills while playing the game. Each pair receives two paddles, one that says, “Reporting,” and one that says, “Tattling.” I read situations to the class just like with Kindergarten; however, this time, they must first discuss it with their partners and decide together which paddle to hold up. If the pair cannot agree, they may each hold up a different paddle. During this exercise I also emphasize the importance of sharing, as I make sure everybody has an equal chance to hold up his or her group’s sign.

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Here are the scenarios I use with 1st grade {click the image below to enlarge}:

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When the game is over, we talk again about how to solve kid-sized problems. In 1st grade, I use a poster based on Kelso’s Choice Conflict Management Skills Program. {Get the poster here on my TPT store}

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After discussing each possible choice, I ask the students to try at least 2 of the solutions on the poster before telling a teacher. I leave the posters with each class, and the teachers typically hang them by their desks where they can easily be seen {which they simply direct a student to if he/she is tattling}.

These lessons have been a great tool for my school to minimize tattling and increase problem solving skills. I hope they help you, too!

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