Sunday, February 19, 2017

ONE "MORNING" LITTLE THING

Here are two simple little ideas to start each day on a positive note. The first one came from a teacher in Ohio years ago. He said that he adapted this concept from a football coach.

Morning Mantra
     Teacher: What is my job today?
     Children: Your job is to teach us and to love us.
     Teacher: What is your job today?
     Children: Our job is to learn and to love each other.
                                         
During the day if children are behaving inappropriately you can remind them gently by saying, "What is your job today? Are you doing your job?"

This other idea came from my exercise teacher who says this to her two girls each morning. You will remember it from the movie THE HELP. Write these statements on a chart and read over together at morning meeting.


     I am smart. (Point to brain.)
     I am kind. (Hand on heart.)
     I am important. (Hug self.)

      

Lucky me to be honored at James B. Edwards Elementary Leadership Day last Friday!  The CD (Child Development in SC aka pre-K) decorated their doors with my songs and sang their little hearts out on stage.  My heart was so happy!!!  
        

    

Saturday, February 18, 2017

DOING DOTS

Subitizing is the ability to recognize numbers without counting. Dot cards can contribute to children’s understanding of number concepts, counting, composing and decomposing numbers, and a variety of standards. Take a look at all the ways you can use dot cards in your classroom.

Hint! Start with dot patterns up to 6 and then extend it to 10 when they are ready.
*Make sure to download dot cards on card stock or heavy paper.
                                     
One to One
Children match up pompoms, beans, erasers, pebbles, and other small objects with dots on cards.

Dot Flash
The teacher quickly holds up a dot card and then places it face down. The children hold up that number of fingers on their chest. Ask, “How did you know it was that number?”

Clip It
Children use the appropriate number of paper clips or clothespins to attach to the dot cards.

Copy Cat
The teacher holds up a dot card. The children try to reproduce the pattern with their own counters.

Sorting
Sort dot cards by amount.
Sort odd and even cards.

Line Up
Students line up the dot cards in numerical order from largest to smallest or smallest to largest.
              

Matching
Match dot cards with dots on dice.
Match dot cards with ten frames with the same amount.
Make puzzle games where children match dots with numerals or words.

Partner Count
Cards are placed face down on the table. One card is turned over and the first child to say the number gets to keep the card. The partner must count the dots to verify it’s correct.
*To make the game more challenging, ask them to say one more than the quantity of dots, one less, two more, etc.

Memory

Run off two sets of dot cards. Place them face down on the floor. One child at a time turns over two cards. If the cards match they make keep them and take another turn. If the cards don’t match, they are turned back over and the next child takes a turn.

Top It
You will need several sets of dot cards for this game. Shuffle the cards and lay them face down in a pile. One child at a time chooses a card. The child with the largest number of dots wins both cards. If they turn over the same amount they continue to draw cards until one player has a higher number.

It Adds Up
Two children have a set of cards and face each other. They each turn over a card and add up the amount. The first child to correctly say the answer gets to keep the cards.
*Tally to keep score.

                                  
Paper Plates
How about making some dot plates?

Friday, February 17, 2017

ONE MORE - OR LESS???

One math standard that many children struggle with is the ability to understand what is one more and one less. Let’s see what happens when we hop, sing, and move this standard.

Paper Clip (Parisa Ghannadan)
Make a number line on a sentence strip. Use a paper clip to slide to different numbers and the children can see what comes before and after.
                               
Number Line Hop
Draw a number line with chalk on the carpet or use masking tape to make a number line on the floor. Choose different children to hop to a number. What is one less? What is one more?
*Let children roll one or two dice and then hop to that number. What is one more? Less?
*Call two children and ask each to stand on a different numeral on the number line. Which one is more? Which one is less?

Ruler Game
Give children a ruler to use as a number line. Have them point to the numbers as they count on the ruler. Can you find 6? What’s 1 more than 6? What is 1 less than 6?

Counting on a Shoestring
Write numerals 0-20 on a cotton shoestring with a permanent marker. Insert a bead. Children move the bead as they count. They can clearly see what is one more and one less.
       
Ten Little Friends
Ten little friends (Hold up fingers.)
Went out to play (Wiggle.)
On a very bright
And sunny day.
And they took a little walk.
Walk, walk, walk. (Walk fingers in front of your body.)
And they had a little talk.
Talk, talk, talk. (Put fingertips together.)
They climbed a great big hill (Move fingers over your head.)
And stood on the top very still. (Keep hands still.)
Then they all tumbled down (Roll hands around and down.)
And fell to the ground.
We’re so tired, (Hold up fingers.)
They all said.
So they all went home
And went to bed.
10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – (Put down fingers one at a time as you
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1. count backwards and lower your voice.)
Good night! (Lay head on hands.)

Country Countdown 1-20 (“Totally Math” CD)
All right all you cowboys and cowgirls.
Time to count ‘em up and count ‘em down with me.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Turn around and count back down.
20 19 18 …..
Let’s do it again…

More or Less Game
Make a grid similar to the one shown. Two children take turns making sets with unifix cubes in the middle section. Their partner has to make sets with “one more” and “one less.”
                                   
Magic Number Countdown
Children stand in a circle. The first child says “one,” and children continue counting around the circle. When you get to ten or a set of ten, that child must sit down. Continue counting until you get to 100 and then start all over again. The last child standing is the winner.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

SKIP COUNTING TIPS

Skip counting is a powerful way to prepare children for multiplication. You can clap, snap, hop, or jump as you skip count by ones, two’s, fives, tens, and so forth.

Whisper Skip Count
You can also try this patty cake technique with a partner. Count by two’s by placing your hands on your shoulders as you whisper “one.” Shout “two” as you patty cake in the air. Whisper “three” as you touch your shoulders and then shout “four” as you patty cake…

For counting by three’s place hands on waist and whisper “one.” Hands on shoulders and whisper “two.” Hands patty cake and shout “three.” Whisper “four” with hands on waist. Whisper “five” with hands on shoulders. Shout “six” and patty cake…

Four’s – knees, waist, shoulders, patty cake

Five’s – toes, knees, waist, shoulders, patty cake

Skip Count Books
Make a “High Five” book with children’s fingers. Trace around each child’s hand on a 6” square and let them decorate it. Attach pages with tape to make an accordion book. Number pages 5, 10, 15, 20…etc.
                             
*Make a “Piggie Book” by tracing around children’s feet. Practice counting by ten’s with this book.

*"Eye" Count by Twos can be made by letting children draw their eyes.


Tunes to Skip Count
Sing and skip count by 2’s to “Twinkle Little Star.”

Practice counting by 3’s to “Are You Sleeping?”

4’s “Row Your Boat”

5’s “The Bear Went over the Mountain”

6’s “London Bridge”

7’s “Ten Little Indians”

8’s “This Old Man”

Macarena Skip Count
You can skip count by any multiple as you do the Macarena.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

SHOW ME CARDS

It's time to give math a little love with "Show Me" cards.  These cards can be used to reinforce almost any math skill you are working on. They engage all children and give you the opportunity to quickly assess who has mastered a skill and who needs more help.
                                      Make a set of “show me” cards for each child by writing the numerals 0-10 on index cards. Have children store their cards in a zip bag in their desk or cubby. When you have a few extra minutes, have the children get their cards and arrange them on the floor or table in numerical order from 1-10. Use the cards for some of the games below. 

Here's where you can download number cards.  These store nicely in an envelope.
      
https://www.eduplace.com/math/mthexp/g1/visual/pdf/vs_g1_19.pdf

How Many?
Clap, snap, or stomp a set. Show me how many.
How many toes do you have? Show me.

Mystery Number
I’m thinking of a number between 4 and 6. Show me.
I’m thinking of a number two more than seven. Show me.

Math Facts
4 plus 2. Show me.
9 minus 3. Show me.

Number Stories
I had four pennies. I found three more. Show me how many I have in all.


Decompose Numbers – How many ways can you make seven?

Fact Families - Call out numbers in a fact family. Can children write the equations in that fact family?

Odd and Even – Sort the odd and even numbers.

Place Value - Put 3 in the tens spot and two in the ones spot. What’s the number?

Tap Happy
Children sit on the floor facing their partner. Place one set of the “show me” cards on the floor between them. The teacher calls out math facts or number stories. Who can tap the correct answer first? Keep score if you wish.



Hint!  For younger children start with 1-5.  For older children make cards 0-20.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I'M JEALOUS!

I'm jealous of all of you today. One of my sweetest teaching memories is the Valentine party. The children would be delighted as they opened their cards. "Oh, look! I got Mickey Mouse from Laura!" Those little paper cards were almost as good as the big expensive toys they got at Christmas.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "We are so busy trying to give children things we didn't have that we are failing to give them what we did have."

On this day we are giving children a memory that each of us had when we were growing up. A memory of a cupcake or cookie and an envelope filled with love. A memory of a classroom family being happy and enjoying the moment together.

Take a deep breath and enjoy all the LOVE today!!!

                                      

Monday, February 13, 2017

SKILL BASED 4 (SOMETIMES 5) CORNERS

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about indoor games. Ginny McLay told me how she adapted 4 corners for different skills she was working on. It was such a great idea I asked her to tell you more about it.

This is a fun way to review skills. I place sticky notes and/or pieces of paper in 4 (or 5) corners in the room. I write the skills to be practiced on each paper.  (You can put the 5th corner in the middle of the room or in the middle of the wall.)
                           
For example: short e pattern word endings (en, et, ed, and one corner is labeled "other")

The kids walk to a corner. I close my eyes and pick a word. We tap it out together and then we spell it out loud together. While they are spelling it I type the word on the computer and it shows up on the screen for all to see. If they are in that corner they must sit down. The game continues as the kids move to another corner and I pick another word.
                          
This game can be adapted for other skills, such as short vowels, digraphs, etc.

For math put numerals in the corners and spell number words. For addition facts put the sums in the corner and say the addend.

They don’t even know they are learning!!! They want to play many rounds!!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

ONE "KINDNESS" LITTLE THING

What a great day to celebrate RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS DAY! (February 17th is officially Random Acts of Kindness Day, but these activities are perfect any day!)
                                   
What does "random acts of kindness" mean? Brainstorm examples and then challenge each of your students to do at least 3 acts of kindness today. 

Kindness Club
Write "The Kindness Club" on the board or a poster and have students write the names of classmates who do something kind for them.

Give each child "kindness tickets" to distribute to friends who do something nice for them.  

*Thanks to Carolyn Kisloski for creating these tickets and poster for you.
                                                                                     
                                                        
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljaHRsT05ZYmxPZlE/view?usp=sharing

Kindness Bracelet              
Make bracelets from pipe cleaners. When they do a good deed they can get a bead and add it to their bracelet.
                 
Kindness Book
Make a "Kindness Book" where students can record something positive a classmate has done for them.


Here are some other suggestions from randomactsofkindness.org:
1.  Smile at one extra person.
2.  Each lunch (or play) with someone new.
3.  Make sure to say "I love you" or give someone special a hug.
4.  Send a positive message or help someone.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

DON'T CRY OVER SPILLED MILK DAY

Yes, it really is DON'T CRY OVER SPILLED MILK DAY.  This is a good concept to model and encourage in your students.  When you make a mistake it's O.K.  Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again.  

I thought it was important to model making mistakes in front of my students.  "Oops!  Let me try that again."  If something we had planned didn't work out I'd say, "We'll try and do that another time."  Things don't always go our way.  That's life and that's O.K.

Oh Well!
It's important to teach children strategies for coping when things don't go right.  Role play spilling milk, losing a game, and other incidents.  Teach children to say, "OH, WELL!"

IT LOOKED LIKE SPILT MILK
Life has ups and downs and the world keeps on changing, but this book by Charles Shaw is a classic.
                                           
This was a book my students wanted to hear/see again and again.  It was also fun to go outside and look for objects in the sky.  Tie in with descriptive writing by having your students draw pictures and write what they saw in the clouds.

Art
Fold blue construction paper in half. Have children put a spoonful of white paint in the middle, fold, and then rub. Open. Dry.
What does their spilt milk look like? Have them write a story about it.

I think my picture looks like two angels dancing...or maybe cherubs kissing!

Friday, February 10, 2017

PUNCTUATION PAYS

Your students will be excited to read aloud with these activities.

Whoa!

Sit like cowboys and cowgirls by straddling chairs. When you come to a period, children pretend to pull back on the reins as they say, “Whoa!”
                         
Walk and Read
Capital - Capital letters are at the beginning of a sentence. They tell you to “GO.” Have children stand every time you come to a capital letter.
Word Walk – Step in place for each word.
Period - Periods tell you when to stop. Sit down when you come to a period.
Question Mark – Shrug shoulders.
Exclamation Point – Jump.
Comma - Hop for a comma.
Quotations -Two fingers in the air and wiggle.


*Children can also take a small step in place for every word they read.

Correct the Teacher 
Write the morning message and other things on the board and read without proper punctuation. Let children correct you!

*Write nursery rhymes and other familiar poems with unusual punctuation.

                   
*Read a story in a monotone voice without pausing to help children realize the importance of punctuation.  

Statements and Questions
Seal envelopes and cut in half as shown to make a puppet. Make a period on one side and a question mark on the other side. If the teacher says a question the children hold up the question mark. If the teacher makes a statement they hold up the period.
                                         

Handy Edit
Teach children how to edit their work with this “handy” idea.
(Make a fist with your right hand to begin.)
1. If you started your sentence with a capital letter you can stick up your thumb.
2. If you read the sentence and it makes sense you can stick up your index finger.
3. If you remembered to put punctuation at the end you can stick up your pinky finger.
4. Then you can say, “I love my sentence.” (Turn your fist over and you will be making sign language for “love.”)

     


Thursday, February 9, 2017

WHAT IS A SENTENCE?

Make those language standards more meaningful with these activities.

What Is a Sentence (Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
What is a sentence?
What is a sentence?
A complete thought.
A complete thought.
It starts with a capital letter.
It starts with a capital letter.
And ends with a punctuation mark.
And ends with a punctuation mark.

Punctuation Sticks 
Use jumbo craft sticks or paint sticks for this activity. Draw a “.” “?” and “!” on the end of each stick with a marker. Write simple sentences on the board. Take one stick at a time and place it at the end of a sentence. Children practice reading with that expression.



ABC? 
Say the abc’s according to the punctuation marks.
A B C.
D E F ?
G H I J!
K L M ?
N O P !
Q R S T.
U V W?
X Y Z!
                                      
And that's THE END of today's blog.?!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

BACKWARDS DAY

Backwards Day
Children will get a kick out of planning a “backwards day.” Remind them to wear clothing inside out and work through your daily schedule from the bottom up. Start with a good-bye song and end your day with the Pledge of Allegiance and a greeting. At lunch eat your dessert first. What else can the children suggest?
                                        
Opposite Song
(Tune: “Shortnin’ Bread”)
We can do opposites, opposites, opposites.
We can do opposites follow me.
Top and bottom… (Touch top of head and bottom of foot.)
Front and back… (Touch tummy and then back.)
Happy and sad… (Smile and then frown.)
Left and right… (Hold up left hand and then right.)
Up and down… (Point up and then down.)
Loud and soft… (Say, “Loud,” loud and “soft,” soft.)
Open and shut… (Open and shut hands.)
Stand and sit…and put them in your lap! (Stand and then sit and put hands in lap.)

Let children suggest other opposites you could sing in the song.

Opposite Game
Whatever the teacher says, the students do the opposite. For example if the teacher says “cry” the children laugh. If the teacher says “up” the children point down.

Have children fold a sheet of paper in half and illustrate opposites.

Use a T-chart to write words that are opposite.

Take photos of children acting out antonyms and use them to make a class book.
                              
Hint! Introduce the word “antonym” and explain that it means the same thing as “opposite.”




Tuesday, February 7, 2017

VERBS, VERBS, ACTION WORDS

If you can DO it, then it's a verb!
                                    
Verbs, Verbs, Action Words (Kiss Your Brain CD)
Verbs, verbs, action words
Things that you can do.
I’ll say a word, and if it’s a verb,
Show what you can do.
Run (Children run in place.)
Fly (Children pretend to fly.)
Dog (Children shout, “That’s not a verb.”)

Continue calling out verbs for the children to pantomime.

Charades
Let children take turns acting out verbs as their classmates try and guess what they are doing.

Pass the Story
Write verbs on index cards and place them in a sack. Have the class sit in a circle and begin passing the bag around. The first child chooses a word and begins the story by using that verb. The second child chooses a word and adds to the story with their word. Continue passing the bag as children add to the story using a verb from the bag.

Catch and TellHave children think of an action word in their head. The teacher throws a ball or beanbag to a child. That child states the verb they are thinking of and then passes the ball to another friend. Children continue passing the ball and saying verbs.

Say What?
Write simple verbs on the board. Invite children to come up and add different endings for their friends to read and then use the word in a sentence.
                              
*Cover the end of a fly swatter with white paper. Write different endings on the paper (ing, ed, s). Children place the ending by verbs and read the new word.


Monday, February 6, 2017

PARTS OF SPEECH

It’s more fun to learn anything with a song.

Noun Song (Tune: “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain”)
A noun is a person, place or thing.
Yee haw!
A noun is a person, place, or thing.
Yee haw!
A noun is a person. (Point to or name a person.)
A noun is a place. (Name a place.)
A noun is a person, place, or thing. (Name a thing.)

Noun House
Fold a sheet of paper in half vertically. Fold in the top corners and then fold up the bottom to look like a house. Children open the house and draw pictures, write words, or cut out pictures of things that are nouns.
       

                                      
Verbs
Verbs, verbs, action words.
Things you can do!
I’ll say a word and if it’s a verb
See what you can do.
Fly – that’s a verb. (Flap arms and pretend to fly.)
Let’s fly.
Run – that’s a verb. (Run in place.)
Let’s run.
Chair – that’s not a verb. (Shake head “no.”)
You can’t chair.
Hop – that’s a verb. (Hop on one foot.)
Let’s hop.
Walk – that’s a verb. (Walk in place.)
Let’s walk.
Tree – that’s not a verb. (Shake head “no.”)
You can’t tree.
Swim – that’s a verb. (Pretend to swim.)
Let’s swim.
Jog – that’s a verb. (Jog in place.)
Let’s jog.
Sit – that’s a verb. (Sit down.)
So sit down in your seat.
Now you know action words.
Move to the verb beat!


*Let children brainstorm other action words and act them out.

T-Chart
Have children make a T-chart and write words that are nouns and verbs.

Wacky Sentences
You will need different colors of index cards or paper cut in 3” x 5” rectangles to make this game. Write nouns on one color and verbs on the other color. Mix up. Children draw a card from each pile and then make up a “wacky” sentence using the words.
                            
Hint! Use the teacher’s name, principal, or other famous people.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A LITTLE "THUMB" THING SPECIAL

Thumbs Up 
To encourage positive behavior develop “I am” statements. (These can be based on your school’s goals or let the children suggest statements.) Write these on a language experience chart and then begin the day by sticking up your thumbs and repeating them.
     I am respectful.
     I am trustworthy.
     I am responsible.
     I am fair.
     I am caring.
     I use good manners.
     I use kind words.
     I can do it.
                         
*Role-play these positive behaviors.
*Let students make books called “Thumbs Up.”
Thanks to Brenda Lee Hernandez for sharing this idea with me!

Estes Elementary School Early Learning Academy
Here's another "thumb" thing special from the teachers at Estes Elementary in Owensboro, KY. Several months ago when I presented a workshop in Kentucky they told us about a transitional program they offered for preschool and kindergarteners. It was such a great idea for providing younger five year olds who are not ready for the "rigor" of kindergarten that I asked them to tell you about their Early Learning Academy.
                                 
We are Estes Elementary School Early Learning Academy (ELA)! We are so excited to share with you our vision of early childhood education that focuses on the “whole” child. We are 45 students and 5 staff members that are grouped and regrouped again according to our individual needs. There are 2 elementary certified teachers and 1 early childhood certified teacher. We are supported by 2 classified instructional assistants. There are 20 preschoolers (4 year olds) and 25 kindergartners (4 and 5 year olds when school started). Our students come to school all day Monday through Friday.

Using the 7 Habits of LIM and Second Step lessons, we are building the social and emotional needs of our students. Using LiteraSci, Zoo Phonics, Erikson math, and Michael Heggerty (phonemic awareness) strategies, we are meeting the academic needs of our students. We use sensory centers, art projects, interactive physical education lessons, field trips, and scientific exploration to build fine and gross motor skills in our students. We use preschool and kindergarten standards at the same time. We assess frequently to ensure continuous progress, we celebrate growth in the “whole” child, and not just preset benchmarks.

We want to ensure future success in school through fun, engaging, playful, student-centered experiences. We believe building a strong foundation in early childhood education will create students who will pursue their own success with perseverance and passion!
            
Our students learn through experiences, experiments, and real life learning.


holly.davis@owensboro.kyschools.us
Shannon.alley@owensboro.kyschools.us
Melissa.seaton@owensboro.kyschools.us

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A BRILLIANT IDEA!

Sometimes I’m like “Old Mother Hubbard” with an empty cupboard. I’m not looking for dog bones in a cupboard, but my brain is empty and I can’t think of a new idea to write on my blog. So, that’s when I go back and look at things teachers have shared with me in past workshops. It’s so much fun to find a brilliant idea that I’d forgotten all about.
                                               

Ten Little Everything (Karen Foley)
Adapt "Ten Little Indians" for every topic or holiday in the year.
"1 little, 2 little” for penguins, snowmen, hearts, butterflies, etc.
     1 little, 2 little, 3 little penguins,
     4 little, 5 little, 6 little penguins,
     7 little, 8 little, 9 little penguins at the South Pole (or at the store, or on the farm, etc.)
                                                                      
Itsy Bitsy Spider (Sharon Howard)
After singing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” let children change what kind of spider it is. It could be happy, mad, mean, angry, silly, pretty princess, etc. Then children decide how that spider would go up the waterspout.

            
Preschool Clubs (Laney Brightbill)
Make posters that describe self-help skills. Once children can do they skill they get to add their picture and name to the club. For example:
-Button club
-Zipper club
-Glove club
-Shoe tying club
-Jacket club
                             



Doubles Don’t Give Me Trouble (Sarah Jackson)
(Tune: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”)
1 + 1= 2, 2 + 2 = 4, 3 + 3 = 6, 4 + 4 = 8, 5 + 5 = 10, 6 + 6 = 12
Now I know my doubles,
They don’t give me any trouble.
7 + 7 =14, 8 + 8 = 16, 9 + 9 = 18, 10 + 10 = 20, 11 + 11 = 22, 12 + 12 = 24


ARITHMETIC (Bridget Weaver)
This mnemonic device will help you remember how to spell arithmetic.
     A
     Rat
     In
     The
     House
     Might
     Eat
     The
     Ice
     Cream

Friday, February 3, 2017

AACCHHOO AND KKEERRCCHHOO!

Have your kiddles got the sneezes? Here are a few ideas to remind children to cover their noses!

Put some baby powder in your hand and then pretend to sneeze on it. As the powder flies around make the connection to what happens when they don’t cover their sneezes.

The Sneeze Song

(Tune: “Pop Goes the Weasel”)
When I have to cough or sneeze
This is what I do. (Point finger.)
I hold my elbow to my mouth (Hold up elbow in front of face.)
And into it kerchoo! (Pretend to sneeze in elbow.)
KKEERRCCHHOO! (Say this line as you dramatically pretend
to sneeze in your elbow.)

Tissue Rhyme
When I have to go kerchoo,
Do you know what I always do? (Point finger.)
My tissue covers my mouth and nose (Open palms like a tissue.)
Then into my tissue my kerchoo goes.
KKEERRCCHHOO! (Pretend to sneeze in tissue.)

Give children a paper plate and ask them to make it look like their face. Remind them to look in a mirror to check out their eye color. When they’ve finished let them glue a tissue to their nose. Then they can trace around their hand and cut it out to glue on top.
Hint! This makes a cute bulletin board.
                             

Thursday, February 2, 2017

TATTLE TALE, TATTLE TALE

We all know how important it is to listen to children, but tattling can be like a fire out of control. The world is changing rapidly, but one thing that is as alive today in the classroom as it was years ago is tattling! To prevent negativity/aka “the squeaky wheel” from getting too much attention, it’s important to have a discussion with your class about what is an emergency. If someone is in danger of getting hurt, then it’s an emergency. (One teacher said she used the “3 B Principle” – bathroom, blood, or barf!!!) There are also several good books out now that help children understand when it is appropriate to tell the teacher and what happens when you cry wolf. (A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Fran Sandon is adorable!)

Leave a Message
Put an old phone on your desk for children to tell their concerns. Explain that you’ll listen to your messages at the end of the day. You might even want to have a directory.
Press #1 for the teacher.
Press #2 for your parents.
Press #3 for the principal.
Press #4 for the President…etc.
                                            

Write It
Get a spiral notebook and write “Things the Teacher Needs to Know” on the cover. When children come to tattle hand them the book and say, “Write it all down and don’t leave out a thing.” If they say, “I can’t write,” respond with, “Well, just draw a picture and don’t leave out a thing!”
          
Comment Box
Put a box, notepad, and pencil on a shelf. Explain that when they want to complain or make a comment they need to write it on a piece of paper. They must start their sentence with a capital letter and end it with a period if they want the teacher to read it at the end of the day.

Lunch Bag
Open a lunch bag and set it on your desk. When children come up to tattle say, “Go put it in the bag. I’ll listen at the end of the day.” (Yes, trust me! They will go over and talk in the bag.) At the end of the day put the bag next to your ear and pretend to listen for 15-20 seconds. Then wad up the bag and throw it in the trash as you say, “That’s the end of that!”
                                                                    

Tell the Mirror

Place a small mirror on your wall and when the children start to tattle say, "Why don't you go tell that little boy/little girl in the mirror?"
       

Tattle Time
One of my favorite stories about tattle tales came from a teacher many years ago. When her students tried to tattle she’d smile and say, “I’m sorry. Today’s not tattle tale day. Wait until May 14th and then you can tell me.”

Oreo
Another teacher said she used the concept of an Oreo cookie for tattle tales. The child reporting had to say one nice thing, then the tale, then another nice thing.

Tattle Toy
Choose a stuffed animal or puppet to listen to children’s complaints and tattles. Be sure and name the character. Explain that when you are busy they can always tell Teddy (or whatever) their problems. He’s always there waiting to be their friend.


*You can also let them tell a plant or other inanimate object.
                                 
President
Here’s another great idea for tattle tales. Put a photograph of the President on your wall and say, “I’m just your teacher. Why don’t you tell the President?” You won’t believe it, but the children will walk over and talk to the picture!

Sometimes a sense of humor is the best solution to a problem. Keep calm and laugh inside!