Wednesday, June 20, 2012

clip clip

So, here's where I've been hanging out lately . . .

All my teacher-y friends have been bragging about sleeping in and such. None of that nonsense is going on around here. I have to be at the pool, which is 30 minutes away, by 6:45 every morning. Gah. Yeah.

Earlier in the summer, I was debating about purchasing more classroom labels, decorations, and such from one of the many talented people on TpT. I looked at two sets particularly, agonizing about colors. Andhow they didn't match what I already had. And how certain items in the set were non-multiage-compliant. And how the clip chart levels weren't named something I could live with. (And, and, and. . .)

I set out to learn to use PowerPoint to design some things to go in my room, using the color scheme I already had loosely going on. First order of business: a new clip chart.

You can find it here on Teachers Pay Teachers. *gulp*

In the file, I said I would write on my blog more about how I use the clip chart in my classroom. I feel like so many teachers who are more experienced than me have written on this, but I'm not one for empty promises. Here we go.

Since I haven't yet hung and laminated my new pretty chart, here's a photo of the one we had at the end of the year.

My chart is huge. If you can believe it, our chart was even bigger during first semester. Considering the small number of children in my class, you may be surprised. Let me tell you why.

If you're new to the clip chart party, the basic idea is that students each have a clip. It goes up the chart for appropriate behavior, goes down the chart for inappropriate behavior. You can go up/down all day. Past that is subject to teacher discretion. It seems to be customary to clip up (or down) by moving the clip one color-level up/down. With this in mind, most teachers don't need much space on each level except green. In my class, this works a little differently.

I try to move clips very frequently. If I moved children up in levels every time I wanted to use the chart to recognize their behavior, I'd have kids off of the chart before an hour was up. Our moves on the chart are smaller, and being higher up the color is better in my room. This allows me some leeway in the size of the clip up or clip down that is received. A small infraction might get your clip moved down a mere centimeter, leaving the room without permission is an automatic red. Being in your assigned space might get you a half-inch, working while ignoring big distractions might get you three inches.

When I decided to do it this way, the drawback was that the teacher is moving the clips. This was more on me, and less on the students. However, after a lot of modeling (and lots of other social/behavioral interventions) my students were able to clip up/down by themselves and would, with supervision, were beginning to choose a move up/down proportional to their actions. This didn't happen in my room until the last quarter of the year, (but I also didn't give them a chance to do it earlier.)

Some people have a different consequence at each level, both positive and negative. I currently only have positive consequences attached to our chart. Early in the year, we had a leveled treasure box for littles on Good, Rockin', or Superstar. Later in the year, we upped the requirements for earning treasure box for most of my students. Each of them had a agreement of how many days at a certain level would equal treasure box. Children needing more support could earn prizes more frequently. We also use the chart to determine who has earned Fun Friday. Depending on their current needs, littles have a certain number of days that they must be "above green" to come to our party.

With different small people earning rewards at different intervals, I would probably go crazy trying to keep up. So I don't. They each have a calendar in their notebook that they keep for the month. At the end of the day, they color code their calendar. They may be spot-checked when I fill out their daily behavior log, but I've never had anyone be dishonest about it.

The little people are pretty motivated by our chart. It's not even completely attributed to the tangible rewards. Truthfully, the rewards do not change for a little who is on Rockin' versus one on Superstar. There is no special prize for getting to the very top, yet they all want to. They also do not like being below green, even though there are no specific negative consequences for it. I don't call home automatically if a child is on red, and I never take away recess. They still do not like it.

One little, when prompted to draw something that made him feel sad, drew this:
Clipping down equals sad, folks.

(yes, I am a blob with hair and short arms.)

I will probably post more on behavior management as the summer goes on, since I have a lot to say and would like a lot of input. I also (should) be back tomorrow with chapter two of Daily 5.

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