Classroom Management

Have you heard about the Clip Chart? Honestly, it's one of the best changes I've made in my classroom in addition to Whole Brain Teaching. My first year teaching I really struggled with finding a classroom management system that worked. Eventually I found out about the Clip Chart and Whole Brain Teaching, through Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts. Both have really changed the way that I teach. Someday I'll talk more about Whole Brain Teaching, but for now I just want to talk about the Clip Chart. I'm by no mean an expert, but I do have insight into what worked for me and what didn't.

Rick Morris has a great eBook describing the Clip Chart in thorough detail, which is a must read if you're interested in the Clip Chart. I'll just go over the basics and how I've modified it to fit my classroom.  Here are the Clip Chart basics...

Each day students start on "Ready to Learn." When one or a group of them goes above and beyond they clip up to a better color. When they make poor choices they clip down, but a clip down is never permanent. Student's can always move back up the chart. That's what I love about the Clip Chart, one bad choices doesn't define the day. Students can always bounce back, and most do.

The levels I use are:

Now that I've covered the basics, I'd like to share the add-ons I use. Some were mentioned in Rick's eBook, some I gathered from bloggers like Stephanie, others are my own experiments. One of the add-ons mentioned in Rick's e-book is the addition of jewels and colored clips, which my kids absolutely love.  At the end of the day if they've reached the top section of the chart they receive a jewel on their clip, once they receive 5 jewels I give them a newly colored clip. Their old clip goes into the Hall of Fame. My Hall of Fame was packed this year, I actually ran out of space to put the Hall of Famers. :)
The only thing they love more than the colored clips is when I wear their clip, another one of Rick's suggestions. When they get to the very top of the chart (see above) during the day, and go above and beyond once more there's no place for them to clip up. So I wear their clip on my lanyard or collar. It is a somewhat rare occurrence, so it is a HUGE deal for them. They beam with pride for the rest of the day, especially when someone from outside the class notices that I'm wearing their clip.

At first when I used the Clip Chart, I still wasn't brave enough to jump into Whole Brain Teaching. So I used the Clip Chart with my Classroom Economy. Let's just say I spent way too much of my own money on rewards that year. I realized that the rewards I spent my money on weren't really working. Not for my pocket and not for my students. I honestly felt like I was doing my students a disservice. So I decided to switch things up again. I took away the rewards, and I let the Clip Chart do all the work. I was worried that the students wouldn't respond if there weren't tangible rewards. I was happily surprised to see how much more engaged they were when the weren't working for tangible rewards. Now all they get are bragging rights, no tangible rewards and they love it!

Here's my Clip Chart at the end of last year. I wish I had a better quality photo, but sadly I don't. I retired this chart, since next year I'll be using a prettier one. :)

Tomorrow I'll talk more about one of the best additions I've made to the Clip Chart and about some changes I'd like to try this coming year. But for now I'd also like to share my pretty new clip chart that will match my new theme.

If you're interested in purchasing a Clip Chart I have four design options in my store, just click the links below to view. 
 I'll be back tomorrow to share more!

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