If you have been teaching for very long, you have no doubt encountered the CLIP CHART. It’s
commonly referred to as “The dreaded clip chart”. It’s dreaded because everyone uses it and
everyone expects everyone to use it but everyone is tired of using it because it takes time away from instruction to manage and isn’t really effective for those who really need help with their behavior choices. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good things about the clip chart. But, the REAL PURPOSE of a behavior management tool is to increase positive behavior choices and decrease negative ones. Clip charts in and of themselves do not help. It is the time that we as teachers spend teaching, modeling, building relationships and establishing community that are proven to help our students make the biggest strides in their behavior choices. I won’t linger on the clip chart soap box because, if you are reading this, you likely already know the struggle and are hoping for something EASY and EFFECTIVE to
Start by TEACHING EXPECTATIONS.
And teach them again. And repeat them. And model—what it looks like to do the right thing and what it looks like to do the wrong thing.
I like to keep it simple and positive in my classroom.
I am respectful.
When you are respectful, you listen when someone speaks without interrupting, look them in the eyes and use a kind tone. In the hallway, you move quietly without disturbing other classes.
I am responsible.
When you are responsible, you keep up with your materials and offer to help without
I am ready to learn.
When you are ready to learn, you come to school with everything you need to do your best work and you give your attention to instructions.
I am allowing others to learn.
When you allow others to learn, your actions don’t get in the way of someone else’s opportunity to learn.
I am creating a safe school.
When you help to create a safe school, your actions would never make another student feel unsafe about being in our classroom.
MAKE THE RULES MEMORABLE AND MEANINGFUL
Teach the rules explicitly and be proactive.
Explain each rule in words they can understand and
connect it to something they already do.
Model what it looks like to follow this rule.
Show students what NOT following the rule looks like and explain how those choices make our time together difficult.
REPEAT AND RETEACH
Each morning, we CHANT the rules with a very hip hop feel. We SCREAM the ALL CAPS. We get our bodies involved.
I am respect-FUL!
I am respon-SI-ble!
I am creA-ting a SAFE school!
I am allowing others toooooo learn!
I am READY. TO. LEARN!
(ME) Who’s ready? (Students) I AM! (ME) Who’s ready? (Students) I AM!
If one student has an issue not following the expectations, I talk to that one student. If much of the class has an issue, we talk about what happened as a group and come up with a plan for making it better.
COMMUNICATE WITH PARENTS
Parents want to know how their children are behaving. I let parents know from the start that I will always seek to resolve behavior issues at school, immediately with appropriate consequences. Only when their child’s behavior becomes a distraction from my being able to teach and other student’s being able to learn will I ask parents get involved. I do this with the THINK NOTE. I talk with the student and complete it with their help. I write check which expectation(s) they struggled with and specifically list what they did instead. I ask the student to come up with a PLAN FOR IMPROVEMENT. This note is stapled inside their agenda. We use Seesaw, so I also send parents a message letting them know to look out for the note. This way, the communication is open for them to ask me questions or discuss recommendations. The note must be signed and returned the next day to avoid a consequence.
When students have been very helpful and have had an excellent day, I send home a THANK NOTE. I choose one or two students each day to get this reward. If you are quick to recognize improvements, this note is a powerful motivator for turning around negative behavior.
Depending on the age of your students, you may find it helpful to make students aware of when their behavior warrants a THINK NOTE. So that the note does not come as a surprise, you may want to add their names to a visible list so that the students can begin to immediately improve their choices and perhaps turn their day around. If they are able to do this, their name can be removed from the list. This header can mark the space on your board where you keep this list.
This is my favorite part! Students working together and encouraging one another is a HUGE win in my eyes. I recently read The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark and loved the way he groups his students into houses a la Harry Potter. When students are grouped for a cause, they begin to support and cheer on one another. In my classroom, my teams are named after 4 powerful animals. I create a formal atmosphere for the “induction ceremony” onto the teams with dramatic music, low lights and a wooden chest (an old jewelry box) containing necklaces for each student. Once they are in teams, I TEACH them how to cheer on and encourage one another.
In first grade, we lay the foundation for addition and subtraction. As students are following expectations, they can add a point for their team. As they are not, they subtract one. As our number sense grows, so will our points (add 5, add 10). If they have trouble when it’s their turn to adjust the points, their teammates can help them out. The team with the most points at the end of the week gets a reward. It is my philosophy that consequences should be predictable, but rewards should be totally unexpected. To know what they’ll win, they have to win. Maybe I’ll buy ice cream for the team. Maybe they’ll get 20 minutes of free time on their iPads. Maybe they’ll get homework passes. You’re only certain of one thing—whatever the reward, it’ll be good!
In this kit, you'll get all the resources to easily implement a NON CLIP CHART method of behavior management. It will be positive, proactive and will create community in your classroom. You will have more time to build relationships with students instead of managing clips.
Class Rules Posters
Think Note, in two sizes
Thank Note, in two sizes