Now, we have discussed behavior charts… do you use them in your classroom?
Like I mentioned before, I am a bit impartial to them. I don’t think you HAVE to have them, nor do I think you HAVE to take them down. I think you need to do what is best for your students.
For the past five years, whether my behavior chart was up or down, I have always used Behavior Calendars.
What are behavior calendars?
They are something I created to get rid of the charts I was filling out daily. When I started teaching, my principal at the time had us send home daily updates on behavior to the parents because our district was BIG on parent contact.
Every day I would take my entire planning time to fill these things out. And let me tell ya, I was tired of it. Not only was I tired of filling them out but almost every Friday I would forget to make copies for the next week and be scrambling to get it done Monday. Then I would have to sit and cut them…. it was a pain.
So I decided to make a full page CALENDAR that did the same thing but even better.
- No Cutting
- Make copies once a month
- Parent contact
- Perfect for student portfolios (and take up less space!)
- Parents initial each day to show they reviewed it with their child
How do you use them?
Here is the best part: I decided to make THE STUDENTS fill them out. After making these I did a lot of reflecting on how beneficial our old charts were. I honestly didn’t think they were very beneficial at all. Parents would be coming in the next day telling me they talked with their child because they were marked as “needs improvement” but the child didn’t know or remember what they did to get that.
I figured that if I had the students fill them out, they would be taking responsibility for their actions that day because we would discuss it.
How it looked in my classroom:
I had a behavior chart that was green, red, and yellow. A little something like this:
I can’t find the exact one I had but this is very similar and works the same way. At the beginning of the year I send home a guide to what each color means. Plus I let them know that I always give chances to get back to green unless hitting or something else equally as bad is involved. You can read a little more about it here.
At the end of the day is when we have our learning centers for 20-30 minutes. The kids LOVE these because it involves this listening center, computers, blocks, etc. Well as a consequence of ending the day on yellow, the student had to stay with me for the first five minutes of learning centers. If the student ended on red, he/she did not get to go to learning centers that day.
This is very important:
I did NOT just make them sit there by themselves the whole time. I still made this time productive. First I spoke to the “yellows” since I just had a short time with them (the other kiddos are all off doing their own thing so this is more of a one-on-one setting and not demeaning). I ask them why they finished on yellow and I have them tell me exactly what got them there. We discuss it. We review our expectations if necessary. It always ends with an apology for their actions and coloring their day yellow. I then quickly jot down in the comments what the issue was, then they can return to centers.
When the “yellow” students go to centers, I then talk to those on “red.” We have the same discussion and the student colors their chart and I jot down my note. Afterward I have them work on something they struggled with that day. Sometimes I would just take the opportunity to talk to them. Sometimes these kiddos just need to talk and we often forget that in our frustration with them. Talk about what their favorite thing to do at home is. Learn a little more about your student. Trust me, it is powerful and makes a huge impact on your student AND you.
How do the students fill them out?
Like with anything, the first month is practice so I take extra time at the end of the day for them to fill these out and walk around helping.
We clean up our centers, then we take out our folders (I have folders I send home Monday-Thursday with practice materials, behavior chart, and any notice that needs to be send home). The kiddos take out their Behavior Chart and color in the color they ended the day on. They put it back in their folder and that is that. Since those on red and yellow filled it out with me, I don’t have to worry about them trying to be sneaky and color the day green.
What do you do when the month is over?
I am not big on a reward system for everything BUT I do like to reward my students if they stayed on green for the entire month. I would buy packs of party favors (bubbles, army men, animal figures, sticker packs etc.) for my “treasure box.” If the students’ entire month was green, they were allowed to pick something from the treasure box. They loved it!
When the day is done, I file the sheet into the student’s folder.
You have parent contact AND documentation all on one sheet. BOOM (lol – I always thought that was a big bonus because I always disliked writing things down in multiple areas).
How will this help the behavior in your classroom?
Sure, it documents it, but does it help it? In my experience YES.
Making a child take responsibility for his/her actions makes them much more aware. I typically would have some kiddos on yellow and red during the first couple of months but after that the number is reduced drastically. I am very firm the first couple of months because my students need to know what is expected of them and they are generally pretty good at it! Of course there are hiccups but that is expected.
I continued to use it every year because it was easy, effective, and my students and parents liked it.
How can you get them?
I am pleased to say that this year I updated them quite a bit! Are you a sucker for themed things like I am? While there is still the generic happy faces, I also added a set of themed faces. So for example, October is all pumpkin faces! Cute right?
On top of that, I added a set that is editable. This way you can add in your own info like “NO SCHOOL” or “OPEN HOUSE.” It serves as a great reminder for parents.
You can grab them HERE:
Want to try before you buy? Try my behavior chart FREEBIE that has the month of August ready for ya!
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