Behavior Chart: Tips & Tricks

Greetings Friends!

Back to School is right around the corner for many (or has come and gone for others). As you settle back into your classroom routine, I wanted to write a post, prompted by a few questions from readers, for how I used my behavior clip chart in my classroom in the past. Read on for some suggestions on types of consequences, timeline for rewards and types of class-wide rewards!

How Do You Choose the Consequences?

Because the chart is used to identify and help change behaviors of varying degrees, your consequences should match. If a student calls out one time during a class (and conceivably doesn't "misbehave" again that period or day), you wouldn't immediately move their clip to Red and call mom to report this infraction. Likewise, you probably wouldn't reward a student with a one-on-one pizza party of the student did raise their hand (though you might!). You need to think about if the "punishment fits the crime" and if the "reward fits the success."

You may want to incorporate some of the worksheets I have provided in the Behavior Management Starter Kit for use with you consequences. For example, if a student had a particularly difficult day, but doesn't warrent a phone call home (I like to save phone calls home for MAJOR incidences, such as a school fight) you may require the students to fill out the My Behavior Reflections worksheet or the Behavior Think Sheet.

Also included in the Starter Kit are rewards, sticker charts, and positive notes home. I often used these to reinforce certain behaviors ("focus on yourself" was a big one in my class!) that didn't require any money and very little time. It was also very exciting for many of my students who felt proud bringing home a note from home.

You can also include things like class sticker charts or individual sticker charts. These would be for long term goals you want your kiddos to work on. The purpose of the sticker charts are to provide immediate reinforcement using secondary reinforcers (in this case, stickers) to build up to earning a larger, more substantial reinforcer. (read the section on classroom goals and rewards for more info)

Overall, I try to stick with the motto "make the punishment fit the crime" especially when it comes to consequences for negative behavior. While my school had a policy about missing recess (we were allowed to use that as a consequence), it oftentimes was not effective, and in fact usually detrimental. Take, for example, the student who cannot stay in her seat, no matter how many warnings. Do you think taking away recess, the only time she can actually let all this built up energy out, is a good, effective strategy? Likely not. Thankfully, as teachers, we are creative, passionate, and smarty-pants. You can think of applicable and effective consequences that will fit with any behavioral infraction you run into.

Is your behavior chart just for individuals?

While the chart itself may be centered around individual behavior, I make sure to incorporate classroom behavior goals as well. Students need to learn how to work together as a team and to build each other up. This is a real world skill! While it's important not to have a reward riding on one member of the group, allowing the group as a whole to earn a larger reward for each other is a great way to build a community and cooperation among your littles.

How do you choose the classroom goals and rewards?

The way we determine our goal is to discuss this together as a class. It will be much more effective if the students are involved in choosing their own goal to work on rather than me. I offer suggestions and reasons why I think one type of goal will be better than another (such as, oh I don't know...raising your hand vs. giving more hugs to your classmates) and we choose together as a group. You as the teacher decide how long you think your students should work toward earning this prize. I usually had a "Goal of the Month" and while our BIG reward was earned at the end of the month (provided we made it, which we always did), I would have little mile markers for smaller rewards.

Do I have to use EVERYTHING in the Starter Kit?

Absolutely not! I didn't even! I made sure to add lots of different resources for you to pick and choose what works best for you. You may even have your own rewards system that you use separately from your clip chart, and that's okay! The point of this type of resource is to provide you with supports and strategies you need to run a successful classroom.

And while we're on the subject, check out this post on Behavior Charts: Why We Need Them and How to Use Them.

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