Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dear Future Teacher

Do you have this student in your classroom?

My son has dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. He also has ADHD. School is not a happy place for Tyler. The boy in this picture is not him could be. 

I have done a lot of reflecting on my classroom management. After many years and different grade levels I have finally found a system that works for me. 

At least I thought I did.

Then Tyler started telling me who misbehaves in his class, and why, and how, and what happened next, and it went on and on until I changed the subject.

And then I thought....Oh. My. Word.  What if this was one of my students?  I would feel terrible for THAT student. The one that everyone was talking about at home with their families. What if this was my own son?

I'm thrilled to be linking up with my friend Missy from Dirt Road Teacher this week to share a classroom behavior management strategy.

So....this chart that I have used for years....that has worked wonders for me and I really, really couldn't live without.  It's gone. 


See ya later never. 

I have never used it again.

Now I can sleep better at night. True story.

I thought it was the greatest thing.  And it was...except....

Everybody knew what everyone's card color was.

Everyone knew everybody's business.

Everyone knew who was acting like this:

and who was acting like this:

Not good. Not good at all. What was I doing to their self esteem?

So then I found this on Pinterest. Because...isn't that where all greatness can be found? 

Many, many thanks to Sarah from Miss A's Kindergarten for posting this on Pinterest because it's awesome! You can find her original pin and idea here.

And just like that....the heavens opened up. 

And now I have this...

Concrete, visual, yet discreet behavior modification program for the elementary classroom.

I used large Popsicle sticks and colored duct tape. I chose duct tape because of the bright colors and it was on sale and truth be told if something says "sale" I feel like I have to have it or I'm missing out.

Then I went to the Dollar Tree and found these.

Concrete, visual, and discreet behavior modification system for the elementary classroom.

I numbered the sticks and I numbered the zippered pouches. I didn't label them with student names so that  

1. I can use them again.
2. It keeps behavior status anonymous.

I don't have desks in my first grade classroom. I have tables. I store these in one of the drawers of the Sterlite storage drawers I bought for each table to store table supplies (pencil boxes, folders, workbooks, journals and the plethora of other stuff).

So...back to the color system and how it works in my classroom.

Every child gets a Popsicle stick covered with the colored Duct Tape and a zippered pouch. The clip chart stick and the pouches are numbered so you want to make sure each child gets the same number stick and bag.   You can use whichever colors you like but I use pink, orange, yellow, and green. 

Everyone starts off with pink since I am "tickeled pink" with their behavior. Therefore, each student begins their day with their clothespin on the color pink. 

If student makes a poor choice, they move their clip down to orange. This is a reminder. A second reminder is a clip down to yellow. A clip down to green would mean a note, email, or phone call home.

 Very, very rarely have I ever had to have a student clip down to green. In fact, I think maybe a handful of times.

 When moving the clip, the student tells me how they can make a better choice the next time. 90% of the time, the clip doesn't move down again for the remainder of the day. 

Each student's clip stick stays in the zippered pouch. We use the zippered pouches to keep the kiddos from playing with them and to keep the system as anonymous as possible. The zippered pouches also store brag tags but...

more about that in a bit.

Concrete, visual yet discreet behavior modification system for the elementary classroom.

When the clip stays on pink for the day, students get a punch on their punch card. Here's an example of the punch cards I use (which are seasonal).
When the punch card is full, they can choose a reward coupon.

And just like that... the prize box that I've always used...started collecting dust.

Not because I was denying anyone a prize....but because they truly wanted a reward coupon instead. I love it!

I love it because I'm not buying prizes anymore, or reminding the kiddos to keep them in their backpack until they get home, or replacing broken prizes, or running out of prizes and on and on and on. 

Now....these rewards are just plan simple. I mean....easy, peasy. I wanted rewards that weren't going to be a pain were easy.

Things like: use a pen all day, sit in the teacher's chair, wear slippers to school, etc. I know....silly.

But you would think that this has happened when a student gets to choose a reward coupon:

I'm. Dead. Serious.  They get that excited.  For real.

And then when they choose a reward coupon they can also choose one of these brag tags if they want:

And then this happens:

They wear these brag tags around school the next school day like nobody's business.  They. Love. It! Even the boys.

They especially love it when another staff member or student asks "How come you have that?" They get so proud!

Some students like to save their brag tags and wear them at the same time on one necklace.  I allow time on Friday afternoons for Brag Tag wearing.  Otherwise, the day they earn it, is the day they wear it (except for gym and recess).  Students store their brag tags (if they decide to save them) in the front pocket of the zippered pouch.

Concrete, visual, yet discreet behavior modification program for the elementary classroom.

The great thing about this system is that everyone is aware of it. It is a concrete model. Students, parents, and even substitutes know this plan. I leave a note in my sub folder that explains my behavior management system. It is the same note that I send home to parents at the beginning of the school year that explains our classroom behavior management system.

I have a little freebie for you!  A sample of the brag tags featured in this post is a freebie right now. 

Brag tags offer a great way to reward positive behaviors.

The complete set of Brag Tags can be found here.

Brags tags offer a great way to reward positive behaviors.

Also available here are the punch cards and reward coupons I use.  The whole behavior management set (punch cards, reward coupons, and brag tags) can be purchased here at a low bundle price.

Make sure to check out the other bloggers below to get some more ideas on behavior management in the classroom. Start the year off with a system in place and have a great year!


  1. I like your system, and I really like the brag tags! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Love your discreet, yet simple system that students are already familiar with! Thanks for linking up!

  3. How do you have students move their clips if it is in the middle of teaching, do you wait until you have a free moment and go up to them privately?

    1. Hi Diana, Great question! It kind of depends at the moment, if that makes sense. Sometimes I will walk over to them quietly, sometimes I will leave them a sticky that says "clip down" at their desk or table spot. Sometimes if they are really disrespectful or unruly and I'm in the middle of teaching I will ask them to take a break and then I will talk with them quietly when I am done. And honestly I have asked a child to clip down during a group lesson if they have been asked repeatedly to stop the behavior. I think we go with our instinct on what is best at the time. I hope this answers your question.