How To Set Up Your Clip Chart System For Amazing Success
So glad to see you here for the 2nd installment of the clip chart system challenge. If you haven’t signed up, it is not too late. Just click here or scroll to the bottom and be sure to read Part One here.
As we talked about last time, used alone clip charts don’t remain effective for very long, but as part of a system they have the potential to be a powerful behavior management tool.
We are going to get to the nitty-gritty of setting up your system for success and dispel some myths and misconceptions as we go.
Ready? Oh wait!
Do you have your clip chart printed and laminated? If not, you can get this one free when you sign up for the challenge.
You can use any clip chart if it is editable or has the recommended wording.
See A Word About Wording below.
Also, although the colors don’t matter to the system itself, they should be purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red to synchronize with the free printables.
A Word About Wording
(Misconception – Clip charts are degrading)
Clip charts themselves aren’t degrading but sometimes the wording used on them can be.
Avoid clip charts that have cutesy phrases such as “flight cancelled”, “head in the clouds” or “lost in the jungle”. I have seen all of these! Not only might some children (and parents) find it degrading, but the reverse also can be true! Some of your challenging kids may find “walk the plank” funny and motivating. It’s best to use descriptive words you would feel comfortable writing on a student’s work or report card. Imagine writing “shark bait” on a student’s paper?
Okay so now we are ready to hang up that colorful, appropriately worded clip chart, right?
Another issue that has come up, is the publicly displayed element of a hanging clip chart with students’ names on it.
We will talk a lot more about reward and punishment later, but keep in mind that this system is intended to be predominately positive and motivating.
It is a tool for teaching and reinforcing appropriate behavior, with the last two levels reserved for truly unacceptable conduct, not minor infractions.
If part of the outcome is embarrassment, hopefully they have learned a valuable lesson about socially unacceptable behavior and consequences.
The point is not humiliation, rather learning about cause and effect of behavior and accepting responsibility for their actions.
Relationship building involves trust and respect so it is important for all students to see that you, the adult, will not allow aggression, offensive language or bullying.
Step 1 – The Rules
(Misconception – Kids Don’t Care About the Clip Charts)
Of course, they don’t! Not at first anyway.
A clip chart is just 6 pieces of paper hanging on the wall! Your job is to provide kids with reasons to care about it!
Become a car salesman. Emphasize all the positive benefits the clip chart can produce, both individually and as a class.
Now turn into a cheerleader and really sell it! Sell it from the heart and before you know it, you will hear your students talking about the awesome clip chart their teacher uses.
Step 2 – The Rules
The rules are the second piece of a positive behavior management plan.
Almost every teacher I have ever known, starts the school year with some version of rules.
The rules are a crucial part of any classroom and while there may be similarities they can differ from teacher to teacher and from year to year.
Classroom rules define what is and what isn’t allowed. Effective rules use short, clear, positive statements. (i.e. instead of no calling out, say raise your hand) and don’t go overboard with the number of rules you have.
Be sure to include some positive version of “use appropriate language” and “keep hands to self”. Classroom rules reflect the climate of the classroom you wish to create.
So far, I may not have told you anything new about rules.
The way the rules will be introduced to your class varies a great deal from the traditional way and may take a bit of a mind shift for you.
The rules should be viewed more like goals instead of a list of things that are prohibited with consequences for infractions.
By viewing rules as goals, they become a set of skills to be learned and maintained throughout the year and will help create an encouraging and affirmative classroom structure instead of one of fear.
Students and parents will be pleased to know you are a teacher who manages his/her classroom with a positive system, not a teacher who looks for opportunities to catch students disobeying.
Time spent now discussing the rules with your class, will be time well spent. Give rationales for why specific rules (goals) are important and present lots of examples. Revisit and reinforce when necessary. You might even want to link them with your character education traits.
Now hang up your clip chart and rules, give yourself a pat on the back!