Classroom Management

A Leap of Faith: Canning the Classroom Clip Chart

February 10, 2017

The Clip chart. A traditional classroom staple brightly hung for all to see. I love to call these “the charts of good intentions” because, in reality, they are. Teachers are driven individuals who crave a room full of well-behaved, on task students, but let’s face it, they don’t exactly prepare you in college on how to run a classroom.

I’m here to challenge your thinking and tell you that there are other options. Easier? No. Differentiated and perhaps a bit more developmentally appropriate? Yes. Here are three thoughts to consider about clip charts…

Could clipping down promote class-wide humiliation?

One of the quickest ways to convince a child that they are “the bad kid” is by telling them in front of their friends. Take a quick walk in your students’ shoes. How would it make you feel to be embarrassed in front of your peers by a superior? Does doing this truly accomplish anything? The best analogy I can compare this to is getting written up by your school’s administrators in the middle of a faculty meeting. Feelings of disgrace, shame, and pure mortification would most likely follow an incident like this, right?

I clipped down… now what?

You know the routine, an undesired behavior occurs and you force your student to clip down. They may lose their recess time or receive a note home but what happens when the student’s behavior still doesn’t change? If the chain of consequences are already laid out for them to see and said consequence poses no hesitancy in the child, who has the upper hand now? Would it not be more logical to return to our tried and true method of differentiation and have a system in place that supports and encourages the student on an individual level?

What constitutes a clip down?

Think about those select few children. You know, the best of the best when it comes to behavior. The ones you can always depend on to do the right thing. How often are they on top of the clip chart? What would it take for you to move them down? Would it be for the same infraction as another child or would you go easy on them because it’s not their norm. This is when the issue of inconsistency starts to arise and let’s think about it, is classroom management really the area you want to be inconsistent in?

All in all, clip charts don’t teach behavior expectations. You do. You are the most important behavior management tool in your classroom. So, if you are currently using a clip chart in your room, reflect on its intent and consider what you are hoping to gain from its use. I realize that this idea may seem quite foreign and maybe even a bit unrealistic but I still challenge you to take that chart off the wall. Make that leap of faith and feel free to email me with questions or even success stories! I’m living and teaching proof that you can do it!

Until next time friends, keep influencing the world and stay positive!

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