It’s back to school time and I’m ready to get ready for another year of clear, maintainable classroom management. I remember a mom-friend of mine telling me that she never knows how her son behaves in school. She asks him how his day was and he always says “good”. She asks what the teacher said and he always says “nothing”. Neither her or her son know if he is on-track in terms of behavior!
In Kindergarten, we love our colored clip chart! Students, teachers, and parents are all aware of a child’s day to day behavior based on one color. Children know exactly where they stand at any point during the day and they know exactly what to do if they want their clip to move on the chart. Parents always know to ask “What color were you on today?” when their child arrives home to help spark a discussion about behavior.
Interested in using some type of clip chart for your classroom management?
Let’s get started with the basics.
Choose a chart or make your own! Use colors or target words so that you, the parents, and the students all have a COMMON LANGUAGE for discussing behavior. Print, laminate, and tape together! For better durability, print on a heavy paper and glue laminated pages onto cardboard. Check out my chart here (in English and Spanish)
Buy clothespins! (The wooden kind). You can write the students names on them with a permanent marker. Have more than one group of students? Write one set of names on one side and one set of names on the other! Just flip over when the groups transition!
Decide how you want to handle notifying parents of the extremes: Purple (Morado) and Red (Rojo). I send home these 1/2 page certificates (included with my color chart in both English and Spanish) along with a piece of candy or small prize that the child can choose from my treasure chest. Purple is reserved for an OUTSTANDING day!
Parents can be notified of red days (and ways to improve) by phone, email, text, or written note. Decide what system works best for you (it may be different with different students!)
Teach, model and practice, practice, practice! I teach what Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red days look like. I show students that clips can move up and down throughout the day. We discuss that even if your clip moves down you can still CHOOSE to change your behaviors and get your clip back up! We discuss that we all get a fresh start each day and that our goal is to always be on either Green, Blue, or Yellow.
Start moving clips up! Show students first how they can move up the chart because this is EVERY ONE’s goal! Start recognizing the good behaviors and ignore the others (for now). After a couple of days practicing with the chart and modeling and recognizing good behaviors, I begin to move clips both up and down. Some teachers like to keep a small paper calendar inside each students folder to mark their color daily. In my class, we self-report. We teach our parents to ask their students about their colors and we ask students to report honestly to their parents. If a child is on either purple or red, a parent should be notified (see options in step three).
Be consistent! This chart can work wonders, but you must be consistent with both moving clips down AND up. You must make sure you send home prizes and/or certificates with purple students. You must follow up with calls or notes home for students on red. If a child is on red often, it is time to come up with an individualized behavior plan.
Good luck and have a great school year! Contact me with any questions!