Mandatory clip chart

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by allaphoristic, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Companion

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    Aug 9, 2019

    Hi all,

    I'm starting at a new school (teaching 4th grade) where the principal asks that everyone uses a clip chart. She really likes everyone being on the same system because the students switch classes for an intervention block and she wants to promote consistency. She also expects that parents get a report of their kid's color. I get it, but I really don't like clip charts. In the past, I have relied heavily on Responsive Classroom and a table points system. Of course, I can still do morning meetings, use teacher language and modeling, etc, but I'm trying to figure out where the clip chart fits in.

    I feel like a clip chart and table points together is too much. What I really liked about my table points system was that is was very positive. Points were only added, not subtracted, and I saw students working really cooperatively because of it. They also got to choose their own team name, which they seemed to enjoy.

    I don't know how to get this same "team" mentality with a clip chart. I also don't like the "walk of shame" involved in clip charts and really have no idea what kind of language to use with the kids when using a clip chart. The table points did involve an incentive system with coupons, so I'm not opposed to doing something similar there.

    Can anyone give me a starting point or ideas about how you have successfully used a clip chart in your classroom without creating a negative culture around it?
     
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  3. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    Aug 9, 2019

    Oh, if those are the red, yellow, green ones, I hate those things!
    Here is a way to make it a bit more positive. Add the colors silver and gold on top of green.
    As for "the walk of shame, " I really hated that part because kids who have melt downs usually end up on the floor before they ever make it to the walk.
    I would not do it, but I know you will probably have to being new to your school.
    Even though doing team points will seem like too much, I would not stop doing them. When your new P sees that it works and you've been there awhile, you can totally drop it probably.
    You can try to keep everyone on green at least for the day. Then use the silver and gold when you see individual acts of kindness or whatever you want). It would make it look like you were "going along" w/ the program. ( While your real emphasis could still be on group points.) Oh, and the only time you'd have to have anyone drop to yellow or red is if they misbehaved for another teacher.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If it were me, I'd put up the clip chart, make any changes that another teacher tells you to make, and otherwise do your own thing.
     
  5. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Companion

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    Aug 9, 2019

    This is what I would like to do, but I worry about how it'll work out with the parent communication aspect. Like, the child comes home "on green" everyday, but I need to have a behavior conversation. I think it sends mixed messages if they're expecting the color to reflect the behavior.
     
  6. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    Aug 10, 2019

    Yes, I see your point. If a kid does something bad enough to call home for, have him/her move their card or clip.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Maybe you can have the conversations about moving their clip privately so that it’s not a total walk of shame even though everyone can still see the chart.

    I don’t think I could work in a school like this. With all the SEL trends in education, it seems like clip charts should be gone by now. Someone at my new school tried convince me to do a similar behavior system the other day (“They are in first grade” - because I’m coming from 3rd/4th and apparently first graders are less able to learn self-regulation and community). I smiled, nodded, and then checked to see what the other teachers on my team do. I certainly won’t be the only teacher using a more proactive and restorative approach. I’m glad I didn’t let myself get talked into using some public shaming system with a daily sheet to fill out. The person even tried telling me that it’s much easier to circle a color on everyone’s sheet every day than to send an email to a parent when an issue arises. That’s entirely false, in my experience. I’ve done the clip chart with a daily behavior sheet for all before, and it was too much work. Plus parents still want detail when their kid comes home with red circled, so you still have to send the email.

    I’m sorry that you don’t get to make your own choice about behavior management in your classroom. Honestly, I appreciate your principal’s desire to have everyone on the same system, but it would be ideal to have a more restorative system.
     
  8. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Companion

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    Aug 10, 2019

    Totally agree. Oddly enough, she also wants us to have morning meetings. Great for me because I do them anyway, but it seems like she's just picking and choosing from various systems.
     
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  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I am sorry to hear about your being forced to use a system that you don't believe in. I have had to do that and my first reaction is often, "I need to get out of this school." I never ended up leaving from these situations as some teachers showed me to make them much less worse then they could be.

    I would go ahead and do what your P has told you to do, but importantly keep those things that you believe that are best for students. Emphasize those things in the classroom, and follow the clip chart, but don't talk about it much. I would keep it a bit more positive and keep those on green a bit more. I would not worry and read into what parents might say. Just simply do your job in communicating with them and if you give lots of greens, yellows, or whatever you can deal with these parents one on one. One of the best teachers I ever met used this system. I was amazed as this system doesn't seem to work very well for many teachers. How was this teacher so amazing in her classroom management and why did her parents and students adore her? I noticed that she didn't put much emphasis with these clip charts. She had outstanding consistent procedures, used something similar to positive table points, and were able to deal with small problems in more positive ways then bumping them to yellow. Sure she communicated daily to parents what color their students were on, but it was often green except for something a student did that was rather significant. The key in teaching is knowing how to apply the annoying requests of administration without losing the things that you strongly believe will work in the classroom. A delicate balance, but it can be done. Good luck to you.
     
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  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Aug 10, 2019

    I have been known to put up the required disliked clip chart and just not use it. I have always handled discipline quietly with the offender which is why I ignore the public displays.

    Later in my career, when I didn't really care what administration thought, I have been known to tell said administration that I refuse to use a public discipline policy. I always politely explained my reasoning, but stood my ground.
     
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  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I used to sub and there was a first grade teacher who did use a clip-chart but it was private. Each student had a clip chart inside a soft pencil case, so if the teacher told them to clip down, they got the pencil case and moved the clip. It was nice that it was private. I am not sure if it was hard for the teacher to keep track of where each kid is at.

    In your case, I might put the clip-chart up and not use it. I think you could still send home behavior reports based on what you see. The only issue that might come up is if you have a meeting with parents and admin and they find out you are not using the clip chart.
     
  12. flairpen

    flairpen Rookie

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    I did a clip chart with my Grade Ones One year. I moved the clips during recess. Students who made it to the top at the end of the week got a sticker on their clip. After getting three weeks of stickers, their clip was retired to our “clip chart hall of fame” (a spot on a wall). When they got a new clip, they got to colour it with two colours, then three, and so on. They loved it. Tried it the next year and it lasted two weeks. It just wasn’t for them. When doing the clip chart, I still did table points.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    So, hypothetical question for those of you using clip charts...how do you/your school handle behavior with the kids who are always at bottom of the clip chart? Since clip charts haven't ever effectively changed their behavior.
     
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  14. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Companion

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    Aug 10, 2019

    Thank you for all of your responses, everyone. I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on this both before and after I created this post, and I think I've come up with a preliminary plan.

    I'm new to the school and untenured. I'm pretty strong willed, but there's a line to walk when you're new, and I don't want to rock the boat too much.

    I will put up a clip chart and it will definitely have positives above "ready to learn" and a warning below. I will continue to use my table points system and make it clear to my students that this comes first. The clip chart will only be used if they go above and beyond to clip up or if there is a major/repeated infraction to clip down. Warnings and conversations will still be the first line of defense when behaviors happen. Also, my students and I always create our class rules together. I can extend this to the clip chart. What does ready to learn look like? What kinds of things warrant a clip up? Gives them some control and more understanding.

    As for the parents, I will give my usual talk about how, as students get older, intrinsic motivation and self control become more and more important and this is why they will see less reliance on the clip chart this year. Hopefully this will allow me to strike that balance I'm looking for.
     
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  15. Tired Teacher

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    Wow! That is a great plan! :) Teaching is weird. You sometimes have to teach within the system and other times find ways to work around it! :)
     
  16. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Aug 11, 2019

    I have not read through all the comments so if any of this is repeated or irrelevant disregard it.

    My school uses responsive classroom as well. Not every grade uses the clip charts, but one teacher does in an interesting way. Rather than using is for behavior (traditional way) she labels the colors with emotions (red-angry/frustrated, blue-sad/upset, green-doing well, yellow-excited, etc.) and has the kids check in when the enter the room throughout the day (beginning of day, after recess, returning from lunch, etc.). Then if she sees a child has clipped red or blue she makes sure to check in with them privately. She also uses this to teach the kids about empathy. If you see someone is angry, what should you do? What should you avoid doing? How can you try to help? What if it doesn't go well? Same with the other feelings. She noticed when she started this that the behaviors in her rooms dropped dramatically. She did keep a behavior log or something in a more private way. Maybe the kids could keep a personal journal and check in at different times of the day?
     
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  17. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    Aug 11, 2019

    I have done the -" everybody does a clip chart thing". If everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations, rules, procedures and consequences I get the appeal but I haven' t see it work in practice like it sounds in theory. You see every teacher has a different level of tolerance for low level crap like voice volume during center/cooperative work time, every teacher has a different level of tollerance for talking out of turn ect so the "let all be the same to help the kids understand what expected of them and whats exceptable" idea doesnt often work out in practice.

    If you have to do it though I wouldnt rock the boat right out of the shoot- so here is how you can skip the walk of shame- may I suggest 3 options, each has its pluses and minuses.

    1.Individual clip charts-they keep them on/in their desks-no one has to walk over to the clip chart, its more private, you can walk over to it and move the clip yourself without saying a word or have "warning" and "clip down" passes so its non-verbal, dont out kids who escalate when they feel public shame ect. But-your tough cookies can clip themselves back up and pretend like they didn't. If this happens its ripe for a power struggle.

    2. You keep the clip chart next to you ar your desk. You move the clips yourself so no walk of shame and no worries about refusal. BUT-this now becomes one more thing for you to do. Its hard if you dont have a home base that you work from most of the time-but manageable if its laminated with a velcro dot or two on the back and you can move it from place with you.

    3. You can save all clipping down for the end of the day, then have the conversation one on one with those you need to about where they ended up and why and what to do differently next time. I have done this right next to the chart (so away from others) at pack up time. I gave each student a slip before pack up letting them know that I'd call them over during pack up to talk with me then we would have a quick chat. move the clip, then move on. The down side here s that some kids will say its not fair-they didnt know and then their parents might complain that the way that you are using the chart doesnt let them how they are doing in a timely enough manor for them to self correct.

    Hopefully one of these might work for you, or might be tweakable for your style.

    Personally I am glad to have ditched the clip chart and now have the flexability to do whatever works for me. BUT I am not silly enough to think I will always be so lucky..
     
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  18. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'm of the opinion something as elaborate as a clip chart has no real purpose for every student in the class. So many levels of misbehavior? If your class is that tough, you need a whole class behavior system. And of course some systems are great for polishing behavior and morale.

    But the clip chart is better for individual kids needing extra help and attention to behavior--not for Golden Boy Gordan or even Occasionally Gets Silly Olive.

    Which is why I hate them in general. Along with the time they consume and the obsession over behavior (again, unnecessary for the average student).

    I've done a private 3-strikes clipboard, but really only used it when I started seeing patterns. I personally felt my management was best when I wasn't worrying so much about tallying incidents of minor things. Often, reminder of rules did the trick.

    But that's just my philosophy.

    I like the idea of slapping the chart up to please the principal, though I'm not sure how to square away home communication.
     
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