Friday, January 28, 2011

Tattle Box

I have felt very accomplished in the last week.  I feel like I have done loads of things that have been sitting on a TO-DO list far too long.  I was able to finally reorganize my classroom library this week.  This involved me and a student going through each basket sorting books by genre and eliminating out of date books.  I also have wanting to get rid of some ancient reading text books that have been collecting dust in my room.  I finally got the go ahead from my principal that I could get rid of them.  So, my students each got two very old reading text books and several out of date picture books.  They were thrilled though!  You would have thought that I gave them cash they way they carried on.  I'm just glad they are finally out of my class and I now have a whole book shelf that is empty. 

Additionally, I have had time to reconfigure my reader's workshop time.  I have come up with some new stations and plan on implementing those next week.  Sorry for all the teacher-speak.  I also created a Tattle Box for my room, which seems to be working just great.  Let me debrief you on this tactic.

For a long time I have noticed that the same students seem to tattle on each other all the time.  They were usually petty things like "He keeps putting his paper on my desk" or "She's humming too much".  I decorated a fancy shoebox that I had to have the last time I was at TJ Maxx, with a label "THE TATTLE BOX".  I explained to the kids that sometimes we aren't telling the teacher about something because someone is hurt or hurting you but just to get someone in trouble.  Sometimes, teachers are busy and can't respond to a humming neighbor right away.  Or sometimes teachers get tired of you being a know it all and trying to get people in trouble.  Well, I didn't really say that last one, but you get the idea. 

The Tattle Box is for the moments when someone really isn't in immediate danger or hurting anyone else...maybe just being annoying.  I cut up pieces of paper and put them next to the Tattle Box.  We talked about sometimes at a business they have a comment box and the Tattle Box is kind of like that.  I explained that the tattler can not use a person's name because we wouldn't want someone to get embarrassed and they didn't need to write their name on the tattle.  This was something that was strictly confidential and I would be the only reading the Tattle. Actually, my words were that if anyone opened the box to read the tattles, they would loose recess for a week.  GASP!! Ok, Mrs. T we won't touch it!

Two days later, I realized that the Tattle Box was overflowing with tattles.  After school it was my mission to read some of them. I thought I could pick a few and we could discuss how we could handle the tattling situation.  (Teachable moments, people.  Teachable moments.)  The following were some of the tattles:

  • Someone keeps bothering me. (Probably 20 of these.)
  • Someone said I don't like their drawing when I really do.
  • Someone keeps humming real loud.
  • Someone sneezed on me.
  • A girl keeps calling me mustard. (This was in the tattle box twice.)
  • My neighbor keeps talking during writing time when I am trying to do my work.
  • At recess someone kicked me.
  • At PE someone through the ball and it hit me in the face.
The last three were great teachable moments.  We talked about how things that happen at recess and PE need to be reported to the proper authorities, especially if someone is hurting you. (Let the PE teacher and recess monitors take care of there own tattling problems, I found the solution to mine.)  We also talked about bothering other people when we're supposed to be working.  We also talked about what is really important to tell someone about.  i.e. Does it really matter that much if your neighbor thinks you don't like their drawing when you really do?

I absolutely love the Tattle Box!  It's my new best friend and I think I might take it out to lunch for accepting so many complaints in so little time. 

I just have to say that I love my job and my students.  Things like the Tattle Box remind me of the innocence of being little, what is important or not and in the grand scheme of things, sometimes if I write it down, I immediately feel better.  Case closed.


  1. Don't you think it's weird that we're miles apart, and haven't been around each other for most of our lives, yet we're still strangely similar? And that we've both gone into the same line of work? BANANAS!, I tell you!

    Tattle box sounds amazing. Kids are hilarious.

    And I wasn't kidding about that trip of yours to Savannah. You'd love it. Guest room, comfortable bed, tasty meals and homemade ice cream. . .

  2. Heather, if you don't go to Savannah I will, or better yet, we make it a road trip together. I can be packed in no time at all!!!!!!

  3. I think it's a genetic thing, Mandy. Believe me, I am told all the time how similar I am to my dad. It must be those gypsy genes. Savannah sounds wonderful, be careful we may take you up on that offer.

    If the Tharp's come to visit, you will have plenty to blog about. Like, for years! Love ya!