Friday, September 20, 2013

Don't Squeal Unless It's A BIG Deal!

  It's that time of year: "He's touching me!" "She's not being quiet!" At the request of a few teachers in my buildings, this week included some classroom lessons on tattling. There are a multitude of resources out there that address this topic. However, in order to keep it as simple as possible, I decided to go with the book and phrase, "Don't Squeal Unless It's A Big Deal!" by Jeanie Franz Ransom.

      Not only is this book hilarious to the adult reader, but the situation experienced by this class of young pigs is incredibly similar to today's classrooms! The story reminds students that their most important job is to be in charge of themselves and not other students. Furthermore, it clarifies what types of things warrant "squealing", such as when someone is hurt, in danger, or hurting someone else's property.
     I began by having students make inferences about the content of the story based on what they could see on the cover. Afterwards, we read through the story together. NOTE: On pg. 12, one pig calls another a "fat sow"-appropriate for swine, but not necessarily for young students--I changed this. :)
    Prior to the lesson, I had written up a few short scenarios that were similar to those occurring in our classrooms (ex. Another student is not following the teacher's directions). I also labeled two small containers with "Squeal" and "No Squeal". I read the scenario to students, and they gave me a thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate whether a Squeal or No Squeal was needed.  At times, the teachers would also chime-in with additional examples.  We wrapped up the lesson by doing some Kid Writing with the prompt "Don't Squeal Unless...".

     I think this book was a fun way to increase students' awareness of how often we really are squealing! It's also a great common language to use within school environments where tattling is an issue.
     Be sure to check Pinterest for even more ideas for utilizing this book & lesson! Do you use another book or lesson idea to address tattling?

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