Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tattles and Compliments

Confession time again: Tattles drive me insane. There just isn't enough time in the day for all the tattles that consume the lives of 6 year olds. Bless their sweet hearts, but there is just too much to do. So, this year I've started using a tattle jar/bucket. This has been an absolute sanity saver. After spending class meetings, counselor lessons, and social skills lessons on the difference between a tattle (which is a little problem) and a big problem, I put out a tattle jar with some scrap paper. I allow students to write down their tattles and put them in the bucket, and they're allowed to use it either during writer's workshop or during centers. Students now feel like they can tell me their "little problems" (which in a 6 year old's eyes is "the world"), and I can deal with them at separate times. It also allows the students some writing practice. Having only 2 times in the day for them to write their tattles down is also helpful, because I tell them that if they forget it by the time writing or centers comes around, it probably wasn't a huge deal.

To coincide with the tattle jar, we've also made a compliment jar. We've spent lots of time in our class reading the bucket filler book, talking about being bucket fillers and not bucket dippers, and talking about how to give/receive compliments. We have talked about how when you give a compliment or act like a good friend, not only are you filling the other person's bucket, but you are filling your own bucket. The compliment jar is intentionally larger than the tattle jar, because we talk about how we hope that there are more compliments than tattles. Students love writing compliments to each other, and they are so sweet about it. We always spend a few minutes at the end of the day reading and going over a few of the compliments. I read them out loud, and then the students practice saying thank you and practice accepting compliments appropriately. I then give them the compliment to take home. Because we've worked so much on sportsmanship, the students do not get upset if they haven't gotten one for the day. We then also talk about filling up everyone else's bucket, so students know to focus on other students for the next day. It's fun to see visiting adults and teachers come into our classroom and get involved with writing compliments to the students!

While neither one of these jars is super fancy, they definitely serve their purposes!!! :-) Maybe next year I will have some time to make some super cute ones to replace these ones!

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