Clip Charts...with a twist.

Hey friends!
I've been in full on "looping" mode lately. I'm going through my files and resources and deciding what to scrap and what I can tweak for 2nd grade.

A hot topic around blog land right now seems to be centered around procedures and classroom management. As I reflect on how my behavior tools worked last year, one thing that I found that worked well was my clip chart. It started out like your typical clip chart:
I'm sure you've seen or use one of these.

I like the theory- but I hit a few pit falls.
It didn't work.

1. I wasn't consistent.
2. It didn't always feel fair.
3. I wasn't consistent.

...are you noticing a pattern?...

I attended a great behavior management webinar last school year and I had a real "ahh-ha" moment while sitting there.
The instructor said, " How many of you hesitate to enforce your consequences on a consistent basis?"

...I sheepishly raised my hands...I couldn't lie...

He continued,"Well, that's probably not because you want to be voted most popular, but instead because your consequences are too harsh. The behaviors that bother you don't warrant the consequences you have lined up so you make excuses in order to save that child from your own behavior management system. You probably find yourself giving too many chances and then reaching a breaking point and over enforcing, am I right?"

{Was there a camera in my room?!?}

I had 5 colored behavior tiers and sometimes I would find myself having a student move their clip for something little or silly or just because I was lacking patience or because I couldn't for life of me remember how many warnings I had actually given them...but I just knew it had to be like 20 10 or something and they deserved to move a color!
Like I said, I wasn't I'm sure you can tell by that last sentence.

I knew it wasn't fair.

I knew I had to come up with something different.

I was ready to toss out the clip chart
it hit me!

Why not make it "consistent proof"?

I knew I wanted to give 3 warnings before making them move down a color.
I knew I wanted to be consistent.
 And I knew, above all else, I wanted it to be fair...oh yeah, and it had to be easy for my to keep up with.
Is that too much to ask for???

 I came up with a clip chart that was similar to the original...just...stretched out.
I have 3 green levels, 3 yellows, 3 oranges, 3 get the picture?
(without a picture...sorry)

Instead of me keeping track of how many times little Johnny shoots his pencil across the room during my math lesson, I simply made the students move a clip for every behavior that required redirection.
Now, before you pass judgement or call me crazy- keep in mind that my green section had 3 levels within itself. That's 3 warnings before changing colors.
...that's 3 behaviors that require redrection...
I think that's more then fair.

This little tweak fixed up my consistency problem.
...and the being fair problem...
and the 3 warnings problem!

It worked perfectly for me!
It took the work out of it...I didn't have to think anymore.

My students could see exactly how many warnings they had left before they found themselves sitting in a new color zone. I think that part was really critical because the students knew what was coming if they didn't make better choices. They were in control.
There were no more surprises.

The truth is, with my warning tracking skills, my kiddos never really knew when I was going to stop giving them warnings and actually enforce a consequence. Now it's black and white...well more like green, yellow, orange and red ;)

Needless to say- once I figured out how to fool proof my management system, my student's behavior improved. Guess that goes to show that my lack of consistency was the real problem.
I guess we all live and learn, right?!?


  1. Sounds interesting. I have been looking into class dojo and leveling up. Have you seen Level up? It looks awesome. It's all positive. Students have to earn stickers to move to the next color.

  2. The original idea is called a super improver wall. I think from Whole Brain Teaching.
    check it out here.

  3. That was my problem with the clip chart too. I wasn't constant with moving them up either. Good in theory, it just didn't work for me. Looks like you figured out a way to make it work for you though, awesome!

    Adventures in Room 5

  4. I love hearing through your thought process! You are waaay nicer than me though, I would make my students clip down after the first pencil thrown across the room! Hahah

  5. This sounds like a great strategy! I'm going to have to think about how I could have 3-step levels with my system! Thanks!

  6. I have the same thoughts about the standard clip chart. I do a color wheel (like a pie chart). With about 40% of it being green (Good day!), 30% is yellow (warning/miss 5 minutes recess), 20% is orange (miss 10 minutes of recess/note in planner) and 10% is red (teacher choice). RARELY does anyone get to red. Come to think of it, a lot of kids don't even get past yellow. They always have a chance to end the day on green if they improve their behavior. If they are doing little annoying things, I may take their clip off and pin it to my sleeve as a visual warning. Students who end the day on green (without warnings) get a punch on their Star Cards which can be turned in when full. This system has worked for me for 7 years. Glad you found one that works for you. =)

    Emily @ Second Grade Silliness 

  7. I love the multisteps and and the pie chart Emily wrote about. I need to rethink my behavior. I'm moving down a grade and want to address behavior without being overly harsh or inconsistent. These are really good ideas.


    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

  8. I like what you said about our consequences being too extreme from the get-go and that is why we don't always follow through. I'm so glad you found a solution that works for you. I'm not sure I have the space to extend my clip chart, but I'm going to ponder how to be more consistent. Great post!!

    The Teaching Thief

  9. I'm so with you on this one! You nailed it for me, consequences and consistency. I had my hands full last year with a certain group of boys and thought I would give this a try. Thinking about it though, I know some kids would move down easily and I thought it might do the opposite. If a child goes down more than he/she goes up they might just get used to it and shrug it off or become the class clown about it. I am going to try this your way though. Also with more effort on my part to praise them when they get out of the warning stage to encourage them. Thank you so much for this post!

  10. I loved this post! I do the exact same thing in my room. I lack consistency, usually based on how I am feeling that day. Some days I come in and I'm tired and I don't put up with any bad behavior and other days I'm in a great mood and I let my kids slide. I know it is really bad. I am definitely going to redo my clip chart and have the warnings within colors. I love that idea!

    Thank you!
    Kelly Nelson

    Owl Inspire You

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.


Back to Top