Bite Your Tongue

I just love it when kids come to me to tell on themselves. It reminds me of Kaitlyn, who used to actually put herself in time out when she was little, and who doesn't love a funny memory. Anyway, yesterday a third-grade boy came by to say that he'd been disrespectful (in a funny sort of way) to the bus driver and his mom got a phone call. Basically, he told me, you either get a warning or you get kicked off the bus and he didn't want to get kicked off again. What to do, what to do? So it set up a perfect discussion about the filter. You know, filtering those comments that we're thinking ... that might even be kind of funny ... or sarcastic ... but that we'd best reconsider ... and possibly not say at all.

So I asked him if he'd ever heard the expression 
Bite Your Tongue.
I was guessing not, but you never know. 

Nope, he hadn't heard it.
 Not Mind Your Tongue or Hold Your Tongue either.
 Might be old school. But he knew some other idioms, so we chatted about those before getting back to the tongue. 
Such a powerful muscle, the tongue. 
That can cut like a sword, right? 

So I told him that my theory about that idiom was that it came about because you really can't talk if you're actually biting down (lightly, of course!) on your tongue. So I showed him. And he started to laugh. And then I asked him to try it. Go ahead, I said, tell me something while holding your tongue in place with your teeth. Not happening, right? And we laughed together, but it also seemed to drive home the point that if you could just bite your tongue long enough for some filter time ... to decide whether what you're about to say is helpful or hurtful ... then you might not have to worry about getting kicked off the bus ... or worse, hurting someone's feelings ... or any other such consequences.

Author and speaker Julia Cook recently wrote an excellent guest post for Laura Candler's Corkboard Connections about teaching kids to not be rude {here}.

You can also check out this far-fetched tale about a fairly-rude and filter-less little friend who sticks her tongue out and then has to keep it there while a bird nests.

This text will provide an excellent example of hyperbole
for your figurative language units.

How do you teach children to filter their thoughts?
Click {here} for the excellent resource that Tanya shared!


  1. I love the way you word things and make life skills so user-friendly. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. I use Jill Kuzma's website a lot...here is a link to information I use with students who need some practice in understanding their "social filter": http://jillkuzma.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/brain-social-filter.pdf
    After using the above information, I use this site that allows students to make their own comic strips (we use the thought bubbles for things someone might THINK and the speech bubbles for what would be okay to actually SAY): http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/

  3. What a great lesson, filters are so important and really should be used by everyone. Thanks for the book recommendation, I can't wait to get it and share it.
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition


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