Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In Defense of the Clip Chart

Morning all,

So I've been reading lots of posts about behavior clip charts in the classroom, especially questioning their effectiveness. As a former classroom teacher for students with behavioral challenges, this topic is near to my heart. Recently Based on some common arguments against using behavior clip charts, here are a few thoughts on why we SHOULD use behavior clip charts in the classroom and how to use them EFFECTIVELY

  • Many bloggers, teachers, and parents have argued that behavior clip charts do not change behavior, they only track it. I disagree entirely with this logic. The purpose of this method is to hold students accountable for their behavior while directly providing consequences (read: punishment and reinforcement) immediately after a child exhibits a behavior. Yes, it does provide you, the educator, with some informal data about how a students' overall school day went, but does not nearly provide the whole picture. If you are using a clip chart as your only method of data collection, I urge you to reconsider. If you are interested in finding the causes and/or solutions for your students' behaviors, you should be taking much more specific behavior data. This chart is less for you and more for them.
  • Another argument for the dismantling of the classroom clip chart is that it is punitive to students who don't (or cannot) adhere to the classroom expectations. My concern with this logic is that, if you are strictly looking at a procedure as "punitive" then you are not able to see the potential positive effects of these procedures. Yes, when students misbehave and their behavior is corrected, they may become embarrassed. Just like anything else. If a student is unable to consistently follow a specific expectation due to say, a neurological dysfunction, then that needs to be recognized by the educator. Not everyone functions in the same way, therefore not everyone has the same set of expectations. For example, if a student with ADHD has trouble following the direction to sit in her chair "appropriately" and is consistently marked down on the clip chart, maybe its time for you to change your expectations for her. The expectation for your other students may still be the same, but instead of constantly punishing a behavior that is otherwise not detrimental to the learning community, and frankly may be out of the child's control, why not change your expectations for that rule for that individual? You as the educator need to be flexible and differentiate for each student, both academically and behaviorally. You need to ask yourself: "What are the reasons this student is not adhering to these expectations?" It is not the clip chart's fault. It is the fault of the educator for not properly implementing the procedure. 
  • Some opponents argue that by having the chart have the potential for punishment (generally the yellow, orange, and red portions of the chart), the assumption is made that the student can and will misbehave. I wholeheartedly disagree and frankly am confused by this logic. Misbehavior happens. That's why these charts exist. Young students are impressionable and nonverbal cues have been proven as an effective way to remind students of the expectations. No assumptions should ever be made. As an educator, your classroom climate should ensure your students always feel as though they are in charge of their behavior. The idea that by having a behavior plan in place (in this case, a clip chart), that the students are going to misbehave is concerning. That means that the chart is responsible for the students' behavior, not themselves. That's a slippery slope!
  • Some argue that even though we try to make the chart seem positive and that it is just a "reminder", it can still be embarrassing. My response to that: Yes. It can be embarrassing. Just like your "quiet space." Kids are smart. A time out is a time out. If they are required to go to the "quiet space" as directed by an adult, it is viewed as a time out, because it is. It's time away from the activity, regardless of what you label it. Now, don't get me wrong. I used "quiet spaces" in my classroom throughout my teaching career. I love them, and utilize them the same way many of you do. However, I know what the kids view it as, try as I might to call it something different. It's okay to utilize this strategy in your classroom, especially if it works. It's also okay to utilize a behavior clip chart even though kids may actually be held accountable for their behaviors.
  • Many argue that a student may become "anxious" or their undesirable behaviors may increase as a result of seeing their clip go down the chart. If this is the case for one of your students, I have a solution. Provide a personalized clip chart- one in which no one else sees it but you and the student. I have done this with a small version on the student's desk and only their name. If you have a particular student who when they end up on Red (or whichever color you have as the "lowest" point of the chart) their behavior increases or responding stops all together (basically, they shut down), adjust the chart accordingly to provide it for the child. We are teachers. We are experts and differentiation. This, just like academic curricula, needs to be individualized to support all of our students.

These charts do not solve the problem. They do not teach alternative behaviors. That is your job. You can't expect a child who continues to move down the chart because he keeps calling out that he knows what he's doing to earn the new color. YOU need to teach him the replacement behavior. And then, every single time he engages in that replacement behavior MOVE THE CLIP UP! If you are using the behavior chart effectively, you will be punishing inappropriate behavior and reinforcing appropriate behavior. This is a teaching moment!

Absolutely clip charts can feel embarrassing or demoralizing -especially if the students are going home feeling defeated. This is a reflection on the implementation, not the behavior strategy itself. However, when implemented appropriately and effectively, they are an extremely helpful behavior tool to aid in non-intrusive supports for each and every student.

Students are individuals. They should be treated like that. What one student may get a "yellow" for, another one may not. We are doing the students a disservice if we treat them all the same, expect the same behaviors, and especially overlook certain behaviors because we don't want to student to feel sad.

NONE of this is to say that your Behavior Clip Chart will solve every behavior problem in your classroom. Of course you should be doing everything in your power to set up your classroom to be as engaging and reinforcing as possible. Additionally, using strategies from other behavior and social curricula will only make your classroom more responsive, responsible, and happy. Whatever you choose to do, please don't write off a legitimate, effective behavior tool just because some teachers disapprove, or worse, are not implementing it correctly. It is all in how you use it.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. What do you think of clip charts? Do agree or disagree with my post? Speak up! Let's start a conversation 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Shop for Less: Best Online Shops for a Teacher's Budget

Hey all,

Even though I'm not a classroom teacher anymore, I still know what it's like to try to buy a functional work wardrobe on a teacher's salary. That being said, I've compiled a list of online stores with budget-friendly options for teachers and other budget-conscious professionals.

In no particular order...
  1. Front Row
  2. River Island
  3. Koshka
  4. Dorothy Perkins
  5. Sheinside
  6. Asos
  7. Joe Fresh
  8. Uniqlo
  9. ModCloth
  10. Go Jane
  11. Zara
  12. Topshop
  13. Style Moi
  14. Lulus
  15. Charlotte Russe
  16. Choies
  17. UrbanOG
  18. Romwe
  19. Boohoo
  20. Ruche
Some of these sites have unlimited awesomeness as low prices, while others you need to search a bit for some great deals (I'm looking at you Asos). Still, if you are looking to spice up your Kohl's wardrobe a bit, check these out!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Faves

Afternoon All,
(Thank God It's Friday Before A Long Weekend)

I've fallen in love with many things this month. Today, I want to share these things with you, in the hopes you will love them as much as I do...

one. My newest Appsession (see what I did there...) is Steller. Compose your own story using text, pics and vids, all from your iPhone. Check out other amazing journals too! Here is one of mine to give you an idea.

two. This article from Upworthy is quite funny...if you think satirical sexism is funny.

three. Dolly Poulet. Just Google her. She is everything.

four. Tiny Hamster eats tiny pizza, tiny burritos, and tiny spaghetti

five. This video is instant therapy. Seriously.

six. The Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival. Surprised The Husband with tickets (jeez - count the capital letters so far), and had an absolute blast! We are both big into stand-up comedy, so this was quite the treat.

seven. My newest purchases and recent loves. Turns out they make a pretty good outfit too...

My Recent Loves

eight. Speaking of comedy, check out my newest TV obsession: Nathan For You on Comedy Central. Remember Dumb Starbucks? Yeah, it was him.

nine. And now, speaking of newest TV obsessions, The Husband has gotten me into watching (or re-watching for him) The Shield. I know I'm like...12 years behind (The series started in 2002), but with my weird TV anxiety (absolutely NOTHING scary, or gory, or upsetting) it took a lot of convincing to get me to give it a shot. Now, I'm obsessed. However, I do still need to leave the room sometimes, and one time last week, an episode was too upsetting for me that I had to take a break from the series for a few days...

What are some of your faves? Share! I LOVE checking new things out :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quickie Post: 3K GWAY

Hi Folks,

Just dropping in to tell everyone about a HUGE giveaway from my friend Natalie over at Teachery Tidbits! Make sure to stop by to congratulate her on reaching 3,000 Facebook likes AND make sure to enter to win one of five awesome product bundles!

 Enjoy and good luck!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Job-Hunting Teacher Series: Thank You Notes

Hello again friends!

Welcome back to the Job-Hunting Teacher Series. Today's post is about writing "Thank You" notes after your interview. This is a crucial step in the interviewing process! Some employer's actually think less of those interviewees who do not send a prompt "thank you." To make sure you don't end up on the Black List, follow these tips for writing and sending the perfect "Thank You."

Preparing Your Thank You
  • Make sure to have the name(s) of the person(s) who interviewed you.
  • Make every effort to write to each interviewer. If it was a large panel interview, it is appropriate to write a note to each of the mangers of the departments that were present.
  • If you grabbed business cards at the interview, this is an easy way to make sure you have everyone's name and correct spelling.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help! When I interviewed for a teaching position a few years ago, I knew a fellow teacher already on staff. When I went to write my thank yous, I realized I didn't remember one of the interviews. I Facebooked (yes this is a word) my (future) colleague to ask her for her name, as I knew what her position was. Easy as that!
  • Alternatively, you can make use of the internet for this as well. If you don't have the spelling of the Assistant Principal, take a look on the school's website.
Writing Your Thank You
  •  You want it to be personable, but not too chummy. Make sure to include a formal salutation, but do not spell out titles such as Mr., Ms., or Dr. Err on the side of caution when choosing to write Mrs. This assumes more than you know. Stick with Ms.
  • Use a colon after the salutation line. This is more formal, for business purposes. Save the commas for your letter to Grandma.
  • Click the image below for a PDF to help format your thank you letter. 

Sending Your Thank You
  • Send your thank you letters within 24 hours of the interview, if possible.
  • If time is a factor, a thank you email or phone call can also be appropriate. You may still choose to send the traditional thank you note as well.
Handwritten vs. Typed:
  • Some people believe handwritten notes are dated. Others think typed and signed letters are too stuffy. Still others find e-mail too informal and inappropriate. So which is best?
  • The answer is not that simple. It depends on the company's climate (in many of our cases, the school's climate), your personality (particularly in regards to how you interview), the job you have interviewed for, and how much time the employer has before offers are made. For example, a handwritten note may indeed seem very irrelevant if you are interviewing for a high-end tech firm. Likewise, in a small community school, an email thank you may come across as cold and ingenuine. Know your audience, your field, and yourself to make the decision. But if time is a factor (such as school starts in 2 days and they need to hire a teacher), it is generally viewed as acceptable to send an email thank you as an initial follow-up.
For most posts in the series, click the image below.

Do  you usually write thank you notes after your interviews? Which method do you use? I want to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We Love Special Educators FREEBIE Hop and Giveaway!

Did we mention how much we love special educators??! 
Well just to show you how much, 24 of us have joined together to help you start your new year out with a BOOM! 
We are beyond excited and even more excited for you! Ok, maybe even just a wee bit jealous! :)
These 24 awesome special educators, including me, have put together 5 fabulous giveaways and a freebie hop with over 20 freebies just for you!! 
Shall we get this party going!!? 
Are you ready?
The first 3 giveaways are split into 3 categories; early childhood, primary, and intermediate! So be sure to enter the one for your grade level! You can click on any of the pictures to view the product in their store or to wishlist it in case you don't win!!{wink}
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Early Childhood Pack!
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Primary Pack!
Seriously!!!!?? Are you feeling the Love?!
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Intermediate Pack! As you know, it can be a challenge finding resources on TpT for this level, but we did manage to put a few things together that we think you'll love!
a Rafflecopter giveaway But wait! There's MORE! David at "Attainment Company" was generous enough to give two lucky teachers a copy of this e-Book for their iPad. (This e-Book is compatible ONLY for iPad, so if you do not have an iPad do not enter!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway How many of you have seen this book, or are even using it in your classroom to assess and determine presents levels?? Brigance CIBS
Last year a new and improved updated version was released...... Brigance CIBS II
and we're super excited that Robin at "Curriculum Associates" has generously donated it for us to give to one of you!! Folks, this is a $339.00 value!! Now this one definitely makes us just a wee bit jealous!  (Our apologies, but this one is for U.S. residents only) a Rafflecopter giveaway And now it's time for a............... FREEBIE HOP!
Check out a sample of my Kindergarten Daily Warm Ups! Then, enter for your chance to win my September Daily Warm Ups! OR, if you are feeling eager, you can purchase my new Daily Warm Up BUNDLE - 20% off the regular price! It's like getting 2 months for free!

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