Monday, November 5, 2012

The Unclipped Classroom

When I saw this Linky Party I just had to jump in.  I have never used behavior charts for a number of reasons.

First, I think all children REALLY try hard (most of the time) to do the best they can.  It's just a much easier task for some children as opposed to others.

Second, no matter how we slice it, the charts are visible to all.  The "good kids" get to be (and stay)  labeled as "good kids".  The children that find sitting still, raising their hands, and in general controlling the "ants in their pants" get labeled as "naughty kids".  Everyone knows... yikes!

Third, charts don't really honor improvement in a way that is lasting and reinforcing.  I think it's so important to honor effort, even when it just lasts for a moment or two.

Fourth,  For the most part, I don't think the acting-out child is even aware of his/her behavior.  I think students get too excited, frustrated, antsy, etc. to even be aware of their behavior and the effects on others. 

Over the years I found that quietly making children aware of their behavior (without the judgement) was pretty effective.

Simple statements like,

"I'm noticing that you are chatting with Sally.  I bet that's making it hard for her to do her work."

"I'm noticing that you raised your hand all morning when you wanted to talk.  I bet this is someting you are really thinking about today."

Anyway- you get the point.

I also had "I noticed"  cards that I made sure each child got at least once a month. I used the cards for positive "I noticed" statements only.   Actually, I kept a chart to be sure that I sent a positive "I noticed" card home each month for each child.  This allowed me to acknowledge each child's efforts and to share the acknowledgements with the child's parents.  It kept us all in the loop and all honoring effort. 

I have a number of card styles and a monthly tracking chart for anyone who would like them.  Just click
here to download.

Have a great week,
Granny (Cindy)


  1. Thank you so much for posting this idea. I've never used behavior charts for all the reasons you listed. "Catch 'em being good" is my motto!

  2. I really like this idea but since my students are 3 & 4 year olds I'll be using them to send home to the parents. "I noticed that your daughter has been practicing raising her hand during circle time. I bet she would like to get a hug from you."

    1. I love how you plan on using the cards. Those little ones and their parents will love getting the cards.


  3. Thanks so much for linking up! Everyone likes to be "noticed" when they are working hard:)

    Teaching in Progress

  4. You made some excellent points, Cindy. I love how you preface your observations with "I notice that". I'm going to try that, too!
    Grade ONEderful

  5. Yes- it really helps me stay value judgement free (well as much as possible).

  6. I enjoyed reading your post, Cindy. I can see your points. Thanks for sharing!


  7. Love it! I'm with you! Let's just expect kids to be good and they will be!
    Learning With Mrs. Leeby

  8. This is a great post! We are not allowed to use the clip system in our classrooms because the kids don't need the visual of being able to see each other's behavior. We focus on positive, postive, positive. I love the "I noticed" cards & will definitely see about implementing them in my school is pretty rigid with these kinds of things! Thank you for stopping by my blog! :)
    I am your newest follower!!

    Jen's Kinder Kids

  9. Although I'm currently using a behavior clip chart I didn't always do so in my classroom. Actually, I'm not really enjoying using the clip system for many of the reasons you mentioned. I've caved to the pressure I suppose from so many other classrooms in my school that are using clip charts. You've given me some inspiration to re-think my clip chart and maybe move on to something more positive for next year or possibly even second semester! Thank you for following my blog....I'm your newest follower as well. =)