Teacher Feature - Teaching With Love and Laughter

Hello, everyone! My name is Lori and I'm the author of Teaching With Love and Laughter. I am a kindergarten, first grade, and second grade writing teacher. I am honored to be the guest blogger for the week. I hope you enjoy my post.

I've been teaching for 17 years, and during this time I have tried just about every behavior management gimmick known to man. I can honestly say that this year, I have finally found a management system that truly worked for every child in my class. Even the hardest to manage child. I know many of you have heard of and are using the clip chart system, but, just in case you haven't heard of it, or are skeptical, I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain how and why it works. 

The clip chart consists of a chart that has been divided into levels. All of the children start the day on Ready to Learn. Then, during the course of the day, the children move their clothespins up or down the chart, based on the behavioral choices they make. If they are making good choices, they can move their clothespin up a level at a time. Inappropriate behavior would cause them to move down a level. Since the children start in the middle of the chart, they have numerous opportunities to work their way up the chart. This really helps the children realize that they have to have self-control and be responsible for their actions and behavior if they want to be recognized for making good choices. Making it to the top of the chart is not easy, but it is definitely attainable. The children quickly realize how they must conduct themselves in order to achieve this goal. In the beginning of the school year, only 2 or 3 of my students made it to the top of the chart each day. But, as the days, weeks, and months wore on, more and more of them went home on red (the top of the chart). By the third quarter, just about all of them were clipping up to the top of the chart every single day. This speaks volumes! Even my most severe behavior case (someone who used to kick, spit, scratch, knock my tables over, and wreak havoc in my classroom) began to go home on red just about every single day after a few months. The parents love it, substitute teachers love it, and, most importantly, the children love it.

My students clip up when they:
  • go the extra mile to help a student in need.
  • are the first or second to do what I ask.
  • are extra polite and respectful.
  • do amazingly good work.

My students clip down when they:
  • interrupt me when I'm teaching.
  • are disrespectful to another student or adult.
  • cannot sit still or purposely keep another student from learning.
  • do not behave during lunch time or specials.

The children quickly realize how to behave appropriately in all kinds of situations. To make it to the top of the chart (or beyond) means so much to them because they see how proud I am of them. They are six feet tall when asked to clip up.

Each day, the children document what color they go home on so their parents are aware. In the beginning of the year, they needed to earn 4 reds a month in order to get a special privilege. However, I had to change it to 8 reds a month after a couple of months because so many of them were easily earning reds almost every day. At the end of the month, they count up the number of reds and choose a certificate if they earned 8-15 reds. If they earned 16 or more, they choose two certificates. Some of my certificates are:

  • lunch in the classroom (the most popular)
  • bring in a toy or book to share with the class
  • choose a sweet treat
  • choose an extra special treasure from the prize box (the second most popular)

My clip chart is a little different from most because I combine this system with 1-2-3 Magic. Here is what my clip chart looked like this year:

Next year, I'm reversing the rainbow and pink will be the top of the chart. I also retyped the labels and changed the font. Here is what my monthly take home behavior report looks like:

There is so much more I can say about the clip chart, but, my post is already super long. If you have any questions or want more information about how I use the clip chart and 1-2-3 Magic, please don't hesitate to ask. You can download my clip chart (by clicking on the picture above of my clip chart) if you are interested in trying it out next year. If you do, you won't be sorry!

So, as you all contemplate the changes you would like to make for the 2012-2013 school year, I hope you give some serious thought to utilizing the clip chart in your classroom. If you already use it, and you have anything to add to my post, please feel free to comment.

If you are not a follower of my blog, Teaching With Love and Laughter, I would love it if you would come and join me. Thank you so much, Teaching Blog Addict, for allowing me to be a guest blogger!

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