Borrowed Lessons: A Bad Case Of The Tattle Tongue

Our newest Lesson Leader is Kelly Johnson, who writes the What’s Happening in Counselor Johnson’s Office Blog.  Kelli is an elementary school counselor, but she has a great lesson to share with us about Tattling.  I find that my 5th and 6th graders still really love picture books, and a quick book like A Bad Case Of Tattle Tongue, can very easily be used during a Lunch Bunch lesson when time is often short.

Hi! I am Kelli Johnson from What’s Happening in Counselor Johnson’s Office. I am honored to do a blog post for The Middle School Counselor. I follow her blog and utilize resources from it. Although I am not a middle school counselor she provides a lot of information for all levels. I sincerely hope that all of you are enjoying the beginning of this school year! I am a new mommy – so leaving my baby to go back to work has been hard, but I am ready for routine and the students!

I want to share with you one of my favorite lessons that I use with lower elementary students. I call this “Big Problems vs. Small problems”. This is a very important lesson for K-2 as they begin the school year and we all talk to them about “Tattling”. It identifies common tattling scenarios and helps students think about problems as something that should be handled by themselves, or by an adult. 

Teachers also like this lesson and I often get asked to borrow the “Tattle Tongue Book”.

Here is a process of how I do this lesson:

  • Large and Small stars (or large and small of any object – one large and one small for EACH student)

  •  “A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue” by Julia Cook
  •  Pictures and ideas of different scenarios.


  • Budging
  • Stolen pen
  • Mean words
  • Not eating all of their lunch

1.) Discuss the word tattling – get a prospective on what tattling means to the kids at this point.  

2.) Read the book “A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue” by Julia Cook 

3.) Re-visit the word tattling and discuss big problems vs. small problems. 
a. Big Problems: Someone is in DANGER – small problems can be handled by student. 

4.) Hand out large star and small star to each student. Explain that the large star will stand for BIG Problems and the small star will stand for SMALL problems. Explain that you will show picture or describe a scenario and they are to hold up the size of star based on their problem. 

5.) Show pictures and allow time for students to decide if it is a big problem or small problem. Also allow time for discussion. 

6.) Ask for student examples and students use large/small stars.handled by teacher later, or ignored. 

Thanks again to The Middle School Counselor for allowing me to guest blog. I love resources that circulate online and if I need something in a pinch, there are many professionals willing to share materials.  

Well wishes!

Thanks Kelli for this lesson.  I know I can easily modify a few things and use it with my 5th graders.

If you have a great lesson and would like to become a Lesson Leader for my series, Borrowed Lesson, let me know.  It’s great not to always have to reinvent the wheel and learn about the different resources out there.

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