I am re-vamping my classroom management but I am required to use a clip chart

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by tacocat, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. tacocat

    tacocat Rookie

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    Jul 21, 2020

    Hi Everyone! I teach first grade. This year I am adjusting my classroom management. I came across Michael Linsin's Smart Classroom Management this summer and I want to try it. However, my school requires us to use a clip chart, so I'm trying to find a system that combines both. I need some help with my idea. First of all, here's my idea:
    I currently have a few levels on my clip chart:
    - Pink (highest - best behavior)
    - Purple
    - Blue
    - Green (Everyone begins here)
    - Yellow
    - Orange
    - Red
    Students clip up for good behavior and clip down for poor behavior.
    Here is the thing: traditionally, students receive a consequence ONLY when they reach orange or red. Therefore, if a student is on pink, it would take several misbehaviors (4!) to receive a consequence and I think that's wayyyy too many warnings for a first grader. I want to give more immediate consequences and give a consequence whenever a rule is broken no matter what color they are on:
    1. First offense - verbal warning
    2. Second offense - Clip down and receive a time out
    3. Third offense - Clip down and note home
    4. Fourth offense - time out for remainder of day
    5. Fifth offense or major behavior - minor or major referral

    However, I have some concerns about this system and here's an example of WHY I have concerns:
    Student A is showing great behavior in the morning. Therefore, they have clipped all the way up to pink (the best and highest color). However, come math time they interrupt my lesson by talking over me. I give them a verbal warning. After this, they continue to interrupt by talking, so they clip down AND receive a consequence (time out). Later in the day, they tease another classmate and therefore, are clipped down again (now on blue) AND receive a stiffer consequence since they have broken 3 rules now (note home). Now it's the end of the day and they have ended the day on blue, which is recorded in their folder to go home to their parents. Blue is traditionally a good color since it is one step above green. However, they are also bringing home a note to mom and dad to explain their misbehavior.

    I'm concerned that this will be confusing to parents and put me in a weird spot. However, I'm not quite sure what an alternative is. I plan on making a very comprehensive packet for parents to explain the management system. I'm also concerned that students may perceive their consequence as TWO consequences (clipping down and time out, for example). In the past, the act of clipping down has been the consequence. But I'm now trying to shift the clip chart as a way for students to track their behavior and there being separate, more powerful consequences.

    Any tips are appreciated!
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    What will happen if you don't use the clip chart?
     
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  4. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    I feel like that's too many levels of clip chart. Kids at that age don't understand the nuance between levels very well. I'd pare it down to 5.

    If you're concerned about accurately representing the kids who do fine in the morning and act up after lunch or vice versa, maybe split the folder report into morning and afternoon.
     
  5. tacocat

    tacocat Rookie

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    Thanks! I was considering shortening the clip chart. I was just using the same amount of levels as all the other teachers on my grade level but I want to switch it up. I also like your idea of splitting between morning and afternoon.
     
  6. tacocat

    tacocat Rookie

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    Haha, I don't really know. My school just has a very "clip chart culture" where parents K-2 expect their child to have a clip chart color each day. And as far as I know, admin requires it. My classroom came with a chart, haha. I'm a new teacher, so I'm really comfortable arguing with admin over something they've set as an expectation.
     
  7. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Jul 21, 2020

    Try Dojo! It's using technology in the classroom and it helps the kids manage themselves and not others. Plus you can communicate to parents through it. You will be "cutting edge".
     
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  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Best tip I've heard on this topic: Hang the clip chart. Don't move the clips.

    You're doing what you've been told to do by having it posted on the wall, but you're not wasting your time with a worthless, time-consuming, soul-crushing charade.

    Please don't use a clip chart:
    At the very least, as a new teacher, take some time to read about why you shouldn't use them. If you must, you must. But start learning and advocating for putting an end to them.

    I don't know what the Smart Classroom Management system that you mentioned is, but, if it's anything like that 1-5 list you have, don't do that either. It's really no different than the clip chart. Look into restorative practices, Responsive Classroom, and Conscious Discipline for starters.
     
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  9. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Seconding everything @bella84 said (clip charts are annoying at best and embarrassing and manipulative at worst). Also look into Teaching with Love and Logic. I saw it recommended by others here and have been reading it this summer. It's something I definitely plan on using from now on in my responses to misbehavior.
     
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  10. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2020

    I wonder what it would be like to use a clip chart in a staff meeting.
     
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  11. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jul 23, 2020

    Defend your choices. Wanting to switch it up is never a sound reason to switch something up.

    Where is the discipline? I don't have a problem with consequences for actions, but what I am not seeing in your consequences is teaching why what they are doing is wrong. I see more punishment than anything. I'm not saying you won't have the teaching component to each step, but you aren't showing it in the information you supplied?
    What type of discipline will you be employing?

    Thumbs up to bella and miss-m. They offered great alternatives. I wanted to offer a chance for you to think about why you are making the choices you are making. So happy you are thinking about it and coming for advice.
     
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  12. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jul 23, 2020

    You’ve got some great advice on clip charts. Personally, I’ve never used one except for student teaching as my mentor teacher used one.

    I just wanted to add that Smart Classroom Management changed how I taught as a new teacher! My students are upper elementary, so I’m not sure how the approach will work with first graders, but I hope it works for you! I loved his no-frills, common sense methods. It’s a good resource.
     
  13. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I am very anti-clip chart. That said, I know if several teachers that clip students down to yellow if they have to clip down and are above green. That solves your dilemma of being on blue and getting a note home because the misbehavior at pink would clip down to yellow immediately.
     
  14. tacocat

    tacocat Rookie

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    Thanks! I'll consider this for sure. My school also uses PBIS, so I'm going to see if I can replace my clip chart with our PBIS ticket system. This way I can give tickets for rewards and give normal consequences that make sense instead of clip downs. I've found that clip downs don't really do much. Clip downs just seem to make high-achieving students upset and confused and challenging students don't care.
     
  15. tacocat

    tacocat Rookie

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    Thanks! Yeah, I'm excited and hopeful to integrate Smart Classroom Management. For first graders, I am planning on implementing rewards (tickets) even though Michael Linsin discourages that. My school uses PBIS, so we have to give positive reinforcement...plus I've seen it work really well for first graders. I've also been considered having 4 levels of consequence (rather than the traditional 3): warning, consequence, consequence, note home. I just know my group of kids may make a few mistakes a day and I don't want a note to go home too frequently. But I also know creating a positive environment is also a huge part of Smart Classroom Management, so maybe I'll have less behavior problems just by doing that part. I'll adjust as necessary.

    I'm glad to hear it works for you! I'm nervous!
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Ya know, just being honest here, I've never found an easier, more positive way to manage a classroom than to a) have high expectations for how students treat one another and me and b) to deal with issues on a case-by-case basis, using natural consequences and teaching appropriate behavior when necessary. No time-consuming formal system of rewards or consequences necessary. Instead, you can spend your time supporting students individually and as a class and focusing on instruction.
     
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  17. tacocat

    tacocat Rookie

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    Thanks! I will definitely take this all (along with your previous post) into consideration. I'm really going to try to work around the clip chart.
    You've seemed to have a lot of classroom management success, so can I ask how you handle children with behavior problems? Last year, I had a child who was very disruptive, had outbursts, was disrespectful towards others and me (one time called me worthless, for example). I was at a loss with this child.
     
  18. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2020

    I'm with bella84 on that- the more different pieces are whirring around, the less the kids care and the more work it is for you. That said if your school forces it (mine did), I may have a solution for you that would be both clip-chart and PBIS-friendly.
    What my 3rd grade teacher did was velcro a cup to each of our desks and we each had 5 colored craft sticks with our names on them in the cup. You'd lose a stick for each misbehavior past an initial warning. If you lost all of them in a day, that was a contact home. Each day, if you had 4 or 5 sticks at the end, you'd earn a ticket that would be saved up to "buy" something from the special drawer on Friday. Sticks could be earned back. Even one ticket would get you something small, like a single hard candy or a sticker.

    It's a visual for the students, but it doesn't have nearly as much of a public-shaming effect as a chart the whole class (and anyone visiting) can see.
     
  19. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Well, as I mentioned already, I usually deal with issues on a case-by-case basis. So I can't really offer you a specific blanket answer. I can tell you, though, that I always start by working to develop a strong, positive relationship with the student. I aim to do this with all students but even more so for the ones who may display problematic behaviors. This is the number one, most important strategy. All else will fail without that relationship.

    In addition, I would likely have a lot of personal, restorative conversations about the behavior (how and why it is problematic, plus brainstorming together how to improve it). This is in contrast to other behavior management strategies where the consequence is usually a punishment that is done to the student by the teacher. In my case, the consequence is having to spend time talking to me, a natural consequence, and the student and I work together to resolve the problem. Sometimes these conversations occur during lunch or recess because that is the only time I have to spare. So the student may lose lunch (just the social aspect, not the food) or recess - but not as punishment, as a natural consequence instead.

    Depending on the student and the behavior, I might create a more formal, structured behavior plan just for that student. That individualized plan would be based on that student. It might involve rewards or consequences that are meaningful to that particular student, as well as intervals that are appropriate for that student. This could even be a clip chart, if that's the preferred route, but it would be designed for the specific student, with that student's input, and it would not be public for the rest of the class to see. Most of the time, though, it's some sort of check sheet that gets stored in a folder.

    Parents and other staff members might be involved at some point as well. If the behavior is ongoing and severe, I might refer the student to a counselor or social emotional support teacher for specific social/emotional/behavioral support or instruction.

    If you read up on restorative practices or any of the others resources mentioned in earlier posts, you'll get a lot more detail about this. It's much less work than a formal, structured plan, and it's usually much more effective. It's completely contrary to SW-PBIS though.
     
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  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    That's the system I used for 40+ years teaching and could not have said it better!
     
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  21. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    The one thing that really stands out to me is that you are a first grade teacher. Using this clip-chart system with 1st graders will most likely do more harm than good. If you choose to use your clip-chart system (since you must), use it as little as possible. What I recommend instead:

    If I could draw a 1st grader in regards to how to teach them classroom management, I would draw an extra large heart, gigantic eyes, and extra small ears. 1st graders want to please their teacher, but they are fairly clueless in how to do this with all that is new in 1st grade. What works isn't a chart system, but one that emphasizes clear procedures with incredible organization and planning on the teacher's part. If you try to explain these procedures, their small ears won't handle much. You need to model for them and then have them practice practice, practice. Gentle praise and warm compliments can be applied to help give them the feedback needed for them to see they are following procedures correctly. Make sure you do this in a light, creative, and fun way with only a small amount of teacher talk.

    What about kindness and other social skills? Children's literature works brilliantly in teaching these. They remember the characters and stories. You can refer back to them throughout the year. For more suggestions, please consider many of the suggestions previous posters recommended.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  22. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    This is a copy and paste of what I wrote earlier elsewhere on the subject:

    A teacher with decent classroom management who is being consistent with clear rules and consequences will see results in behavior. But it's not the chart's doing.

    Let's say kids are moving cards or clips about all day. Oh, look, stuff is moving. That's great, but is general classroom behavior improving?

    There is some evidence to suggest these systems actually lead to worse behavior in upper grades.

    Here's your average classroom: the majority of the kids are probably not troublemakers. They will want to please, want to enjoy the class. If you set up clear rules and expectations and make sure the class knows them and have good management, you likely just won't have many issues. Sure, the kids won't be perfect, but that is life.

    So, the majority of the class will begin each day at Ready to Learn. Perhaps one of them slips up on a rule. The clip moves down to Reminder and you remind of the rule, practice a bit. The day goes on. Maybe another kid is particularly on one that day and even marks down to Teacher's Choice, a consequence to let them know you mean business.

    Congratulations. You just wasted paper/time/money so Johnny can clip down to Orange, proof he had to sit in time out for 10 minutes.

    Ah, you say, but what about the bad kids? The ones on red Every. Single. Day.

    Dear teacher, I hope and pray they are the minority in your classroom. But the average classroom just isn't full of Red on the Chart Kids.

    Ever seen a behavior plan for those kids? This happy classroom clip chart you see above isn't dissimilar from a lot of these.

    Which means, you just took a system designed to help legitimate problem kids track their behavior and gave it to the whole class. Tier 2/3 behavior help. It's something the majority of the class doesn't need.

    Scary Sara is clipping down to Red every day? You have a bigger problem that the clip chart isn't helping. If it were, Scary Sara wouldn't be on Red every day. She needs more . But you just took what could have been a handy data format for her issues and displayed it to the whole class without doing anything else about it.

    Again, Tier 2/3 behavior support thrown to the whole class. Now what are you going to do to track Scary Sara's behavior at the next support Tier?

    Scary Sara's behavior tracking does not justify the whole class being involved. The chart does not “hide” her discretions among the rest of the class. The protect their feelings perspective actually isn't high on my radar or concerns list here, but really, we don't need to make a whole class chart for Sara or even Average Aaron who clips down to yellow or orange now and then and pretend it's for the whole class.

    Ah, you say, but what about the positive placements? Don't those counteract the negatives?

    Don't you have better things to do than deeply analyze how angelic this or that behavior is? And golly, how do you do that consistently without showing favoritism? Give the kids a compliment, a show of appreciation. Write a note or give a call home if you notice something awesome.

    The fact is, in a decent classroom, a majority of your kids won't clip down. If they need a reminder, does that really merit the effort and documentation of moving a color? These systems only “work” if you have good management. And if you have good management, do you really need a Tier 2 behavior system for everyone? Taking the time to change color, move clips, etc,.is distracting and interrupts the lesson more than a lot of other options. Kids and parents care less about education and even just general good behavior because the chart ends up being so consuming.

    There are better ways to handle and even document minor misbehavior. The chart instead only shows pretty goods and those who clearly aren't improving even with a fancy chart. The other kids need a lot more than the class chart.
     
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  23. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    This says it all on why not to use a clip chart.
     
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  24. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Way back when I was new (I had been teaching for 5 years at this point), a new adminstrator required that we use clip charts (that was 15 years ago.) I couldn't take it anymore -- I just don't believe in public shaming. So I put the required chart up and then never used it or explained it to any of the kids. Got away with that for months, until an administrator did a walk-through, and pulled a child aside in each class, and asked him/her to explain how their clip chart worked! Of course, mine had no clue. He was quite creative and made up a huge story about it, which was really quite amusing.

    Later that day, my administrator pulled me aside and chastised me for not following the required clip-chart. I asked her a very important question. I said, in the xx-number of years I've been here, have there been any issues with behavior or classroom management in my classroom? She said no, of course not, I had probably the best run classroom in the building, and that they constantly assigned the most difficult students to my classroom because they knew I could handle them.

    I told her that I could handle them because I use logical consequences in my classroom and it works, and that I simply couldn't do a clip chart because I am fundamentally against public shaming. She was insistent that I comply with her request to use the mandatory clip chart because she wanted the whole school using the same "classroom management" system. I replied, "then what is the point of differentiating? Isn't it important to meet students where they are at? Most of my students don't need a clip chart, and the ones who would benefit from it, need it done privately -- not on display chart for the whole world to see."

    She was insistent. In her words, it was "non-negotiable." All classes must follow her classroom management directive.

    I thought about it for a while, and the next day I went to see her. I said I respected her authority, but that she needed to respect my experiences and successes, and my knowing my class and what they need. We were halfway through the school year at this point. I said if you insist, I will comply because I need this job, but you are destroying my autonomy in the classroom, and asking me to do something I believe is damaging to my students. I told her that as much as l loved this school (and I did love that school) that I simply couldn't do public shaming because I was convinced it was not appropriate. I handed her my completed transfer papers (we had to put in transfer papers by February in this district). I told her how much I would miss this school, but that I needed to work in a school were I wasn't asked to go against my conscience. I told her how much I had enjoyed working for her, and how much I would miss this school. Then I got up and left, leaving my transfer papers on her desk.

    The next day, she stopped by my room while I was teaching. She didn't say a word to me. She walked over the "un-used" clip chart, and took it off the wall. She left something on my desk before she left. Later, I saw she had put my torn-up transfer request on my desk. We never spoke of it again.

    Twice since then (because I moved) I've had to interview with new schools. I always bring it up in the interview now -- that I will not use clip charts, and if they require it, then I am not the teacher they want to hire.

    I know new teachers don't really have this option, but it is something I feel so strongly about, that I draw the line in the sand on this one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  25. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I have brought up clip charts and how I believe there are better ways to manage a classroom (building relationships!) in interviews too. I’m convinced that it was a big factor in the last two job offers I received.
     
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  26. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I do the same in interviews. Most ask about classroom management styles, and I always mention that I don't use clipcharts because yadayada and I do yadayada and like to see if the school has a school-wide system I can tweek my own system around.
     

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