Monday, April 30, 2012

Long Live the Clip Chart

Behavior. It can make or break any classroom! I don't know everything (major emphasis on that) but I do feel that I've learned quite a bit about behavior/classroom management over the past years. Mainly, stay positive! It works so much better to praise the positive and then watch others try to do the right thing as well.

When I first started teaching I had "elephants" (little elephant post its with the kids names on them) that moved down levels with push pins in a cork board. It was cumbersome and not easy to manage. After that, I made the elephants magnetic and added a "soar" level. My awesome cooperating teacher from when I taught came up with the "soar" level for students to move UP to for doing a great job. My kids loved our new soar level and really got into it!

Then I learned about the clip chart. This was back in the days before Pinterest (can you imagine?) so I read about it in this ebook by Rick Morris. I quickly got to work during one of my track out days and made a clip chart. It works wonderful!

Now I'm on my second clip chart, since the old one took so much wear and I wanted to pretty-fy it up a little. :)

The kids all start on Ready To Learn and from there move their clips up or down. At the end of the day if you are on Great Job you get to stand up on your chair and the whole class does a cheer for you. If you are on Outstanding you get to add a sticker to your clip. My how they love those stickers! It's the simple things folks! I will say that the "jewel" stickers (get them from Micheal's) stay on the clips better than some regular stickers.

If a child moves their clip to consequence then they get a refocus form where they write what they were doing, what they should have been doing and what they will do next time. Then they have to take it home and get it signed and bring it back to me. Sometimes I will choose a different consequence based on the action so that's why I labeled that level consequence. Parent contact is pretty straightforward - I hardly ever have kids get to this level and by this point in the year I usually am not moving many clips down but UP. :)

About halfway through this school year I came across a very good problem - I had kids filling their clips up with stickers on both sides! So thus came about the "Clip Hall of Fame". A child moves their clip to the hall of fame once their clip is completely full. What a reward this is! They get so excited about it! I then will make them a new clip so they can keep on earning stickers.

At the beginning of the year I teach my kids hand motions that I make to tell them to move their clip up or down - a simple pinch of 2 fingers and a thumbs up or thumbs down. To reinforce positive behavior I simply will start some positive behavior dialogue "Wow, Bobby you are doing an excellent job of getting started on your morning work, please go move your clip up!" Before you know it, everyone is getting to work on their morning work as well!

I also have had kids make it to pink/outstanding and I will tell them to move their clip up. They then go to Top of the Chart. After Top of the Chart comes Off the Chart where I will then proudly wear that student's clip. Yes, I usually look like a dork with a clothespin clipped to my shirt, but they love it! Once this year I had a student who was already on Off the Chart when I asked her to move her clip up. So we invented a new level where I go take a picture of their clip with an Administrator and then write them a positive office referral.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Word Work Updates

Every now and then, I feel the need to spice things up for Daily 5, keep the kiddos engaged and interested. During my workdays before track in I hunted all over the lovely blog-o-sphere for new word work ideas. I've always loved this list of ideas from Christina Bainbridge. Definitely worth checking out.

On the far left in the green basket, are our Writing Folders from Really Good Stuff. I love those things. They really help the kids learn the writing process. We don't keep them in our desk because our grade level has to keep the same ones for 2 years before we replace them. So to keep them from the doom of what is often my kiddos' desks they live in the green basket.

Next is one of the new word work choices, ipad words! I found this via a pin on pinterest - Mrs. Gilchrist adapted the iphone idea into a larger ipad. I have a list of "ipad words" that goes with this. The kiddos have to first write the words in alphabetical order in the boxes with a dry erase marker, then they "type" them and hit "send". Seriously, it is the cutest thing for this apple-loving teacher to see. I told my kiddos that I would LOVE to have more ipads and have them using those for word work, but I'm not made of money so we make do. :)
Next up is Boggle Words. Anyone else out there ADDICTED to playing Scramble on their iphone? Me me me! I love this game and have seen Boggle bulletin boards for the classroom. I bought this set of cards by Rachel on TPT. I laminated 4 of the cards, put recording sheets in the folder, and voila challenging word work. I've explained to my kiddos that this choice is a challenge, that even adults find it hard! Therefore, this is not always the best choice for everyone. But I knew my higher readers needed a word work choice that was challenging and I can tell already that they love it. Sometimes we'll do one as a class in between rounds and I'm always shocked by how many words they find!

Bananagrams has always been a popular and favorite choice for word work and I don't think I'll ever get rid of it. I have a spelling list in a sheet protector and the kiddos use the tiles to spell their words and any other words they know. Scrabble Flash is a new one this year by the reccomendation of my coworker, Jim. It's basically like making words except the game self corrects and tells them which words are actually words! I love it! My kiddos can tell you what a stickler I am for quiet during Daily 5 but I do allow for the beeping of this fun game.

I forgot to take a picture of my last choice, Lacing Letters. Basically the letters have holes in them like beads and the kiddos lace their spelling words onto strings. Very kinesthetic. We've had that choice around for a while too.