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I am so fed up with my students tattling on each other! It is constant and it's driving me insane! They tell if someone looks at them funny, budges in line, accidentally steps on their foot, etc. We have had numerous class discussions about this and I have talked until I was blue in the face about the difference between telling (someone is hurt or doing something that the teacher really must know about) and tattling (the things I described above). It's just not getting through. Does anyone have any tricks or ideas that will take care of this problem? They left for Thanksgiving yesterday and two were tattling when they walked out of the door and I said, "just go". I can't listen to it anymore.

Alicia G

Senior Member
Ugh, tattling.

My pat response is "well, that wasn't very nice of her. I guess you'll just have to forgive her." And, if the tattler repeats the tattle (which happens a lot), then I just give that same half-sympathetic nod and say, "Yes, that was awful, now your job is to forgive her." And, we can do this several times. Sometimes it comes down to "and I'll have to forgive you for tattling; please sit down." It takes a bit of time but finally they give up (for the most part). They just don't get a reaction from me.

For a LEGIT report (ie. blood, vomit, or fire is involved), then I thank them for telling me and take care of the problem.



Senior Member
I hate tattling!

I can't stand it either! I have an idea that works pretty well for me. I typed up a fairly lengthy "incident report". When students come to tattle, I first ask if it's a huge emergency. It never is, so I tell the student "Fill out a report." Students have to fill it out (on their own time...not while I'm teaching!) in order to report a tattle. Most times, when they see how much information they have to fill in, they lose the desire to tattle. Those who actually do fill them out usually have a legitimate complaint. That has taken care of pretty much all of the tattling in my room.

I've also heard of people who have a poster of a person or an animal in their room. When a student tries to tattle, the teacher says, "Tell it to the poster." Seems a little young for my kids, but it sounds pretty funny :p Hope that helps some! I know tattling is so obnoxious...good luck!


Senior Member

When a student starts to tattle I say, "Is this a Double D?"
The "D's" stand for Dangerous and Destructive.
We have already discussed what these words mean.
The answer is usually "no" in which case I say then you will have to handle it yourself.
It also gives the kids a second to think about what they are about to say and they usually realize how silly it is anyway.
I have a poster in the front of the room that says "Is this a DD?" as a reminder for students.
It has helped a lot! Good luck!


Senior Member

I remember the person with the poster. It was of the president, and she would say "Tell it to the President"....and many kids would! Even in first grade, having them write it in my Tattle Book sure does cut down, and the "Tattle Book" can be a really entertaining read in the staffroom. One May the tattling was just becoming like a contest, so I started sending the tattler to the "tattled' to apologize for tattling on them. I'd suggest a hug or handshake. They soon knew how their tattle would end, and cut it out....thank goodness!


Senior Member
More ideas!

The last post reminded me... last year my class was really bad with tattling. I started the "Issue Jar." They would write down an issue that was really bothering them but was not a DD. They were hysterical to read at the end of the day.
My favorite was "Jenny thinks her butt looks good in that skirt, but it really doesn't."
Yes this was third grade! What a thing to have to tattle about!


Senior Member

I read aloud A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue-it is really cute and provides lots of opportunity to discuss the difference between a tattle and something you need to tell. I also have a form called The I'm Telling Form-it is two pages long and must be filled out in complete sentences and correct spelling/punctuation. Once they see the form tattling just about disappears from my classroom!


Full Member
"The I'm Telling Form"

Pmpkin - would you mind posting the "I'm Telling Form?" I think all those requirements of complete sentences and correct punctuation would be enough to quiet some of my biggest tattlers!

I've also read a book to my class last year called "Don't Squel unless it's a big deal." You might want to try that out!


Senior Member
When it comes to the REALLY little stuff (they're looking at me!) or the none-of-their-business stuff (she colored first and you said to cut first), I found it was best to engage them as little as possible. So if someone comes up with a tattle, I'd usually just say "ok" or "that's a shame" and go on with what I was doing. After a while they realized tattling wasn't going to solve their problem and they usually learned to ignore it or deal with it themselves. I usually let them say their entire tattle so I could make sure it wasn't something I needed to take care of.

Candy Duff

New Member
Thanks for letting me know

This is going to sound so simple, but I swear, it works wonders.

When a student approaches me with tattling, I just simply and emoitionlessly reply, "OK, thank you for letting me know." I don't for sure why it works so well, but here is my personal philosophy. First, you aren't giving any attention to the tattler. (positive or negative) You are also validating their comment without excusing what they think is important (even if they are out to get another person) Finally, I am in the "know" of what's going on and if I choose, I can talk to the person who might have done something wrong, but I always wait until later, when nobody is looking. This way, they don't know who "tattled" and they think I know everything...haha! ;0)



Senior Member

If someone comes up and says, "So and so did...", I say, "and you tattled, so you both did something wrong." My student teacher last year said one school she visited had a tattle turtle poster where the teacher would send the kids. I really like the idea of a form they have to fill out.


Senior Member
At the beginning of the year, I teach my students Problem Solving Steps: 1. Ignore the incident. 2. Ask the student nicely to change the behavior. 3. Ask the student assertively to change the behavior. 4. Move away from the situation. 5. Ask for help from an adult.

When a child approaches me with a problem, my first response is "What have you done about the situation?" At first, it's nothing. Later, they figure out I'm not going to intervene usless they have taken some action on their own. When I do take action, I have both students come to me and face each other. I mediate their conversation as the complaining student tells the other students about the behavior that s/he doesn't like.


Senior Member
tattle report

Someone asked me to send a copy of my "incident report" in a private message, but I can't figure out how to attach it so I'll just do that here. If you're interested, it's all yours :)
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Senior Member
Tattle box

I use a tattle box. I explain the rules and what's the difference between tattling and giving information on something that is important. Every tattle must be written down and put in the tattle box. Once the novelty wears off, the students are no longer writing tattles and no longer tattling.
The pre-k teacher in my building uses a big ear that is posted in the room. If the child has a tattle, they are to whisper it in the big ear. She says that this has cut down on the tattling tremendously.


Senior Member
Sign Up Sheet

The year I had the class from h___, all they did was tattle. Finally, I hung a sheet of paper on the board. When they tattled, they had to sign their name. My respond to the tattle was "Thank you for telling me! Go sign the sheet."

Once the child's name was on the sheet, he/she could not tattle for the rest of the day...one tattle per day was the limit. It made kids save their tattle for a time when it was really important. Tattling pretty much disappeared from my room over the course of several days.

3rd Grade Rox

Full Member
Complaint Form

I use a Complaint Form in my classroom and I CANNOT teach without it!! Whenever a student begins saying something about another student, I'll stop them midsentence and point over to the complaint forms that I have hanging on one of my classroom walls. They have to fill it out in COMPLETE sentences. Then they put the form back on my desk when they're finished. I read through it and if it's just a tattle, I'll throw it away at the end of the day. If the situation is a real problem, I keep the complaint form, attach it to a referral, and then send it to our principal. It's also great for documentation for parents.
It really helps to eliminate those whiney tattles. When I first started using them last year, a girl started to tattle to me and another girl told her "Shhh!! She's going to make you fill out a complaint form!" Oh it was classic! It doesn't quite work on your students who don't mind writing. But then again, at least you don't have to hear about it!! :D
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Senior Member
I feel blessed this year!

I read these messages and can wholeheartedly identify with the annoyance of tattling kids--yet am realizing--once again--that this is basically never an issue with my class this year. I need to be thankful (it is the season!) we have such a tight-knit classroom community and not be focusing so much on the many areas I see we need work on!!!

Other years I have also tried the "Thanks for telling me that" and it does work well. Also, the complaint form helps document the things you really feel like you DO need to know and are thankful when they tattle!!!


Junior Member
Tattle notebook

I have this same problem. A coworker gave me the idea. I buy small spiral notebooks and if there is a problem or even if they are having a bad day (dog died,fight with sibling) they can write it in the spiral and put it in a small basket on my desk. I then can decide how to repond to it. Sometimes like you say, thanks for telling me, sorry about you dog etc. is all they need. Some need a hug. I can tell if 4 or 5 write the same thing then it is something I deal with. I have reused the notebooks again this year. Only one was lost. They are like 10 cents each at Walgreens when school supply sales are on.