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July 27, 2015

Keep Calm and Clip Chart On? {FREEBIE}

Hey y'all!  Welcome to my blog!  First, thanks SO much for stopping by!   I hope to keep sharing lots of fun happenings and products (and freebies) as Keep Calm and Love Kinder expands.  I am kicking off my blog with a rather controversial topic:  the clip chart.  All summer my Facebook newsfeed has been full of posts arguing both sides.  The good vs. the ugly.  I have used a clip chart in my Kindergarten classroom for several years, and it has been successful for me every year.  I have to admit, though,  all the hoopla had made me wonder if maybe I was missing something! This summer I was fortunate enough to attend a classroom management session by  Elizabeth Hall from Kickin' It In Kindergarten at the I Teach K! Conference in Las Vegas.  She put all my worries to bed! Thank you, Elizabeth, for making me feel okay about using my clip chart!

The clip chart, like all classroom management tools, can be used to build up or break down a child.  It is so important that it be used the right way.  From the first day in my classroom, I make sure my students know exactly what behaviors are expected of them and what the consequences will be if those expectations are not met. We read lots of stories about making friends and being a good citizen.  Some of my favorites are "How to Lose All Your Friends" by Nancy Carlson"Have You Filled a Bucket Today" by Carol McCloud,  "Rules Rap Sing & Read Along" by Dr. Jean, and "A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue" by Julia Cook.
 Something else I am going to use this year to help teach expectations are these clip chart readers I created, and you can find them over in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  I love these readers because they give students specific behaviors to work toward for clipping up and to avoid for clipping down.  I also think they will be beneficial for parents!  Every year I have parents ask, "What can my child do to clip up?" I hope that these readers will create better understanding for students and parents of clip chart expectations.
One of the best ideas I took away from Elizabeth's session in Las Vegas was adding visual cues to a display in the room help students understand which behaviors were associated with clipping up or clipping down.  So, I came home and added the visual cues to the actual clip chart!
I love using a clip chart because I think that it helps the students feel accountable for their actions and, at the same time, positively reinforces good behaviors.  I have rewards in place for my students who clip up to WOW and stay on GOOD WORK, and there are consequences for those who clip down.  For clipping up or staying on GOOD WORK, I give my students "tickets" that can be traded at the end of the week for treasure chest or class coupons (ranging from "Bring Show and Tell" to "Pick Your Seat for the Day").  We store our tickets in buckets in a shoe storage rack on our classrom bathroom door.
When a student clips down to WARNING, nothing bad happens.  If they have to move down to OOPS that is the "Teacher Choice" section and might include time out, loss of recess or center time, or other similar consequence.  OH NO is a parent contact or principal visit, depending on severity of the actions of the student.  Also, if you are new to clip charts (which you probably are not), you need to know that students ALWAYS start the day on GOOD WORK no matter what the previous day held.

Another key component of the clip chart for me is parent communication.  We have folders that go home with students ever day.  There is a pocket in the folder called keep at home, and I put a page in there called "Daily Notes".  This is another file (editable!) in my store.  Every day I highlight what kind of day students had and write notes (good or bad) if applicable.

Clip charts and the tools used to reinforce and discipline vary so much from classroom to classroom.   You truly have to find what works best for you and your group of students.  I have my Visual Cues Clip Chart (Black and White version)  up in my TPT store as a FREEBIE!  To create my clip chart, I printed each of the pages on different colors of cardstock and laminated for durability.  I three-hole punched the tops and bottoms of each page and hung them with loose-leaf rings. It is different than the one pictured in this blog, so head over to TPT and download to check it out!  Clip charts are not for everyone, but if you do decide to use one, I hope that you will find this one helpful!

Run on over to my store and grab this freebie! 

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