Tattling vs Telling

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Subject Area

Health Education


K, 1


While the distinction may appear nuanced, there are clear differences behind the meanings and purposes of tattling vs telling. Tattling is generally associated with reputation, such as when students attempt to get one another in trouble for minor incidents or try to gain favor by making themselves appear heroic while telling, on the other hand, is an effort to alert an adult to more serious incidents or safety concerns.

Helping students recognize the difference between tattling and telling is a complicated dance that requires direct instruction, practice, and ongoing support in the classroom. While it’s fairly simple for students to understand the necessity for rules and the expectations that they convey, it can be quite another task for children to determine when rule breaking is something that must be reported.

Health Education (2019) Grade(s): KG


Discuss when and what assistance is needed for health-related situations.

Health Education (2019) Grade(s): 1


Contrast tattling with reporting aggression, bullying, and violent behavior.

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Learning Activity

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