The Compliment Chain

Anyone getting sick and tired of all the tattling.... "He took my pencil!" "She touched my desk!!" "He looked at me!!!"I was certainly getting sick of it, so we started the compliment chain in our classroom.

Here's how it works:

First, we read the story A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook. It is a cute story about a boy who gets "tattle tongue" from tattling soooo much (like many of my second grade friends). I love this book because it explains the difference between telling something important, and tattling. I like to stress three important points from the book: Is someone in danger? Does it have to do with you? Is it something you can solve with your words? 

Then every morning, I put two pieces of tape on my wrist. (This is just because if I keep track on a piece of paper, I know I'll lose the paper in about 2.5 seconds). 

On the tape, I simply keep track of tattles and compliments using a Sharpie. Tattles on one wrist and compliments on the other. If someone comes to me to tattle about something un-important, it counts as a tattle. When I see someone compliment someone else or go out of their way to help or do something nice, I count it as a compliment and I make a HUGE deal about it. 

Our goal is to get more tattles than compliments by the end of the day. At the end of the day we count up all of our tattles and compliments and find the difference. If there are more compliments, we get to add that many links to our compliment chain that is hanging from the ceiling. Yay! 

However, if there are more tattles than compliments, we have to tear that many links off of our chain. :( So sad. 

Once the chain touches the ground, we've earned a class treat. I usually let the kids decide on this treat when we start our chain, so they know exactly what we are working towards. Right now, we are working for a root beer float party. Fun!  

The Compliment Chain was definitely a game changer for me and my classroom environment. Once I started doing the Compliment Chain, I found that my kiddos were really trying hard to work out their problems using their words rather than running directly to me to intervene. I also found that the kiddos would start thinking twice if their issue was really something that needed to take away from our learning time during the day, or if they could just move on. It is also so nice to see them really paying attention and making an effort to compliment their friends. Plus, I HATED dealing with all the negativity and tattling all. day. long. It's wearing. So this was a great solution to our tattle problem. 

Oh- and a note on the compliments. I never count compliments that have to do with clothing or looks. (I wouldn't want anyones feeling hurt because they didn't/couldn't have something.) I also don't count compliments that are said just so I will hear them or add a point. I tell them I am more like a "Compliment Detective" and I look for compliments while they think I'm not paying attention. The comments also have to be specific- "I like how you used adjectives in your writing" vs. "Good job." I know, I know, lots of compliment rules but the kids get it, and they have to learn how to be kind to others (at least my students do :). 

I hope you made it through Monday. Mondays are always the hardest for me!


  1. Such a cute idea to help stop tattling! Love it!

    Primary Punch

  2. What a great idea! I've read and reread Don't Sequel unless it's a big deal several times and some friends still don't get it. I love the physical reminders with the tallies and compliment chain!
    Stories From Second

  3. I love your compliment chain! What a great idea :) I adore the Tattle Tongue book, my 2nd graders loved it this year too :) I always have them stick out there tongue and show me if they have it and they just laugh and love it :) Hope you're having a great Tuesday :)

    Lisa :)
    Made In The Shade In Second Grade

  4. This is THE best idea I have seen to ward off the tattle tales (in Scotland, we call them Porky Pies - I'm not quite sure why!).

  5. I just found this while looking up ways to praise and encourage children. I absolutely love this chain!!! I am currently working on my teaching degree but I already sub for a school district and the tattling is terrible! We always say if it's not broken, bleeding or on fire it is not worth tattling over. A little over the top but it cuts out on so many little tattles. I am for sure following your blog!