Why I Cut Off the Bottom of my Clip Chart

Please know…I am a FULL supporter of doing whatever (developmentally appropriate) behavior management system that works for YOU and most importantly, your students. This is simply an account of my experiences and the evolution of my own behavior management plan.

Before I even had my own classroom, I learned, through obsessively reading teacher blogs, all about using a clip chart as a classroom management tool. I was sold immediately. My experience with behavior management charts had been where students started on “green” and only had the option to go down—flipping a card or moving their bus to the yellow or red stoplight. I LOVED how a clip chart promoted making SMART choices and allowed students to have the opportunity to change their choices throughout the day so they weren’t “stuck” below green.  However, after 3 years of using a clip chart, I have noticed a trend.

The same students clip down and the behavior doesn’t change.

After reflecting about this past year (it was a doozy!), I knew I had to make a change. But I still love the clip chart. It DOES work to uplift students when they are making great choices, showing kindness, and going above and beyond! So, at the end of this school year, I decided to cut off the bottom of my clip chart.
Next year, instead of “clipping down”, I will simply ask students (in as private way as possible) to bring me their clip when they are engaging with behavior that needs to be addressed. I will keep the clips on my lanyard to remind me to talk to them as soon as I am able to.

After we have a discussion (again, as privately as possible) about their behavior, we will work to problem solve collaboratively and allocate an appropriate consequence. Then, they can place their clip back on “Ready to Learn”.

Of course, the most effective behavior management is being proactive instead of reactive. One way I do this is by having clear expectations about behavior in the classroom and around school. I use read alouds, anchor charts, and class discussions not just in the beginning of the year but throughout. Read more about my back to school read alouds and activities for rules and expectations here.

I use these fictional stories to start discussions and reflect on appropriate. Here’s one tool I use to promote collaborative problem solving:

Find these stories here —> Behavior Stories
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