7/08/2014

Clip Chart as Part of a System


Welcome to Day 2 of my Blog Mini-Series: Behavior Management.  Yesterday I blogged about what didn't work.  Today, I'm going to blog about what did work (some years)!

I've mentioned about a thousand times that I've taught a lot of different grade levels.  For those of you who don't know...I've taught PK, K, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th & 7th.  People ask me which was my favorite - it was 3rd, hands down!  

When my team began teaching those little 2nd graders we knew we would loop up to 3rd grade with them. We also knew that we would be facing a new state assessment - The STAAR.  They were a rough bunch, not to mention that it was FULL of TK's (teacher's kids).  Plus, we began 2nd Grade self-contained and in January we switched to departmentalized.  My school does this in 2nd Grade & it stinks for everyone involved - kids, parents and teachers!
We needed a lot of structure.  I knew the **key** to behavior for this group was positive incentives.  I began with a token system where kids would gain tokens for good choices (behavior, bringing in homework, teamwork, etc...).  I made it work for a self-contained classroom but when we switched to departmentalized, I couldn't keep up.  Oddly enough, the kids were really disappointed -- they loved those gold tokens.  One of the main issues we faced was the increase in transition time.  There was a lot of time wasted in the hallway waiting on the next class.  Little 2nd graders had to gather supplies, switch classes, settle down again, get settled and switch their brain from ending one class to beginning a new class.  The parents didn't understand 3 different sets of rules and neither did the kids.  They would get in trouble in 1 teacher's classroom and not in the other 2 classrooms.  Which leads parents to believe it is the teacher's fault. UGH...
Pic from This Little Piggy Reads
We were not strangers to the clip chart.  In fact, our school began using it a few years prior.  But, it was known as negative reinforcement.  I knew our team needed a cohesive behavior system.  I introduced my team to the "move-up clip chart".  I made identical charts.  We all used them.  The clip chart moved with the kids.  It didn't stay with the teacher.  The kids even took the chart to P.E., Music and Art.  We all agreed that if our students moved their clip down, they could earn a move up.  We also agreed that if they landed on purple they would immediately earn a prize (usually a pencil or an eraser).  Our school provided an agenda for each student.  So, every teacher wrote/signed the agendas daily and parents were expected to sign them daily as well.  
When we looped to 3rd Grade, as a team we implemented a few items to increase structure with this group. First, a voice level chart.  
Pic from Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten
   Next, visuals to give kids a heads up about what they should have on their desks during learning time.  
Pic from an Unknown Source
Finally, we also began sending a weekly Newsletter.  I e-mailed it to our parents.  It inspired my Classroom Newsletters.  They are editable so you can save them and send them electronically or print & send them.  
This is what I call a "System".  It is many components that work together and create a plan of action for teachers, students and parents.  It wasn't the clip chart that made everything work.  It was the teachers working as a team to create a streamlined system of expectations for the students.  

Check back tomorrow when I discuss how the Clip Chart didn't work with another classroom.

This Little Piggy wonders, have you ever used a clip chart?  Did it work for you?    

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