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Name of Activity:

The Tattle Turkey

Purpose of Activity:

To reduce the number of interruptions in instruction caused by tattling.


When I introduce the Tattle Turkey, I discuss with students the difference between tattling and telling. Tattling is when your intent is to get someone in trouble. There are issues that you should bring to the teacher's attention, such as when someone is bleeding, bumps her/his head, or other emergencies. But many problems students can ignore or handle by themselves. I often give examples of problems that might occur, and have the students determine if telling me would be tattling, or not. You could also discuss how they could handle the problem without tattling.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Cardboard cutout of a turkey, posted on the wall, three cardboard feathers attached with Velcro.

Description of Idea

When a student comes to me with a tattle, I say very little, but I remove one feather from the Tattle Turkey. When all three feathers have been removed during one class period, the class stops whatever we are doing. Then the students practice some less exciting, but still meaningful activities, such as practicing the protocols in the gym: lining up, going quietly to self space, etc.

I have found that it is very rare to pull all the feathers--after one or two, the students are very aware of the tattling behavior and can control it. In addition to helping the students learn to be respectful about how they handle problems, it cuts down on interruptions to instruction.

Assessment Ideas:

I record if feathers were pulled so I can see if the class is making progress toward resolving or ignoring issues without expecting teacher intervention.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

Sometimes I can try to prevent the tattle before it occurs, by asking "Are you getting ready to tattle on someone?" This works well for the students who need an extra reminder.

Submitted by Laurie Hinman in Albuquerque, NM. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 6/10/2008.
Viewed 34301 times since 5/23/2008.

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The Tattle Turkey

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Previous Comments:


I think this is a fabulous idea and I can't wait to try it in my class!

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