There has been a lot of talk in the past few years of ridding behavior charts all together.
The whole reason behind this is because it is a form of “shaming.”
Look, I get it. When I was going through my first professional development course on this, it made perfect sense. Why would you want to display to everyone that a child is “bad?” After that course, I went to my classroom and tore my chart down. And you know what? Behavior didn’t get worse. Chaos did not ensue. I continued to use my behavior calendars to send home and communicate with the parents. Other than that, we just went on with our days and it worked.
The following year is when the chaos ensued. I had a very visual class.
Let’s take a step back and let me share with you how I used my behavior chart…
I used this chart in my classroom:
|Click to view on Really Good Stuff|
I bought this my second year teaching. I thought it was adorable, and grabbed it. Because cute things make everything better right?
So this was displayed on my chalkboard. It isn’t huge so it didn’t draw a whole lot of attention to itself.
I would talk to the kiddos about the rules that we created as a class. We would decide what counted as a red rule (something that would automatically send you to red) like hitting or spitting on someone else. Then yellow rules were things like constantly interrupting, saying something rude to another student, etc.
So here is an example of our lesson:
Let’s say I was creating an anchor chart with the class helping me build the power words but I have a couple of little boys who are in the back talking about whose toy is better. I always redirect students 3 times before we have a “talk” and they are moved to yellow (unless it is a red rule!).
On the second warning, I will let them know what a third interruption will do (move them to yellow) and it is their choice on what the next step would be. If they continue talking and I am at a good breaking point (like letting the kiddos go back to their work station and begin the lesson), then we will have a talk at that point, if I am still smack dab in the middle of it all, I would move their name to yellow, separate them, and we would talk about it after I was done with the lesson.
When we have our talk I am firm, but never talk down to them. I sit at their level and start off by asking if they think their behavior was acceptable. Of course they will agree that it wasn’t and I will then ask them to tell me what they were doing wrong. I am VERY big on letting students take ownership on their actions (we will save that for another time).
I will let them know how it made me feel and how it affected the class which is something like “your friends were trying to learn about ___ and I can tell they really liked it. This is something important we have to learn today. What if we were talking about ___(insert something they can relate to here). If it was something you really wanted to learn about, wouldn’t you be frustrated if you couldn’t hear because others were talking?”
No matter how you lead this discussion, I personally feel that it is very important that you are conversing to them and not just saying “Are we supposed to do that? NO. You are not supposed to talk. You are not supposed to ___.” Children are pretty quick to shut down.
Then bring them back to your manners lesson. Let them know it is rude to be talking while others are trying to listen and it is also rude to be interrupting you. I then end with a reminder that if they can make better choices and show me that they remember how to use their manners, they will surely be put back on green. (If they continued throughout the day and it was bad enough, they would be moved to red).
I would communicate these actions with parents using my behavior calendar where the students would color the face green/yellow/red depending on what they finished the day on.
Quite honestly, my students usually always went back to green.I always gave students the chance to get back to green unless they got to red based on a red rule. Hitting, spitting, kicking, (or any harming action) was a non-negotiable for me.
Okay, now let’s get back to that visual class I had…
We started off with no chart and I continued marking their behavior calendars for home on my own. When a child would misbehave, I would pull them to the side, and we would talk about it. I always jotted down the incident on their calendar with pencil (because, hey, I don’t always remember everything on a busy day) then they’d be on their way. I continued to use the same color system on the calendars. The children would be told what “color” their face would be on their home chart but it was never posted in the class. This made it terribly confusing for this group of kiddos when it came to getting a second chance to go back to green.
After debating with myself, I pulled out the behavior chart I thought I would never use again. I posted it, we talked about it, and we had a trial run with it.
Things changed… and, oh boy, were they for the better.
This class really needed to SEE where they were standing and I think it worked well as a reminder for what they did so they didn’t repeat the action.
After that experience, I am now very impartial to the “rid your classroom of behavior charts” movement. Like everything else, I think you truly need to know your students. Some classes you get will be more emotional… those would not do well with a chart. Some will be more visual. Some will be a little more headstrong. Whatever cards you are dealt with, please read your students. Get to know them. This will definitely help you with how to approach it all.
There is no right way or wrong way… if you truly know your students then you will know what is best.
So now tell me: do you use a chart in your classroom???? Do you have any questions or thoughts on this subject? Tell me in the comments!
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Vol. 1 – My Story
Vol. 2 – Manners in the Classroom
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|2016-2017 Behavior Chart Calendars|
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