Saturday, July 21, 2012

Clip Up, Clip Down: A Behavior Management System

Confession: I have been envious of all of the darling behavior clip charts that I've seen on fellow teacher blogs. 

So you can imagine my excitement when my vice principal caught me in the parking lot after sports camp and handed me a copy of this:

 Clip Chart eBook

We have a school wide behavior plan that uses the "pull a card" method, which is fine, and it's what I've always used regardless of it being mandatory or not. But, nonetheless, I still envied the cuteness of those clip charts. Here are some of those cuties!

(I couldn't trace this darling movie themed chart, so if it's yours let me know so I can give you credit!)

(from Mrs. Sheehan over at Learning in Wonderland)

(A magnet version from Teaching in Flip Flops)
Don't you just LOVE them!

First of all, I felt honored that she would ask me to look it over and give her some thoughts and feedback. 

Second, I was so excited to think that I might be able to implement this system in my class. 

Since I'm taking good notes anyways, I figured there's no better place to also share those thoughts than here!

Rick Morris, creator of New Management, was not the mastermind behind the clip chart system for behavior management, but he offers some good explanations about why it's a good method to use. He also gives some good ideas to deal with the rebuttals that may come from the "pull a card" veterans. Snag his free e-book here if you want more details. 

Here are a few of the reasons Rick suggests we consider the clip chart over the "pull a card" method:

-All students start on the best color with the "pull a card" method, which is a level that was not achieved or earned by any of their actions. He calls this giving a sense of false accomplishment. 

-Because there is no redemption value in the "pull a card" method (you can't earn cards back) teachers may be hesitant to pull a card, or even worse, make threats about pulling cards. 

-With the pull a card method, you're focusing on negative behaviors. Students quickly learn that if they break the rules they'll pull a card, but if they have good behavior, nothing will happen. 

Overall, the clip chart has the ability to send a much more positive message to students. I love the fact that with the clip chart you can praise good behaviors as well. 

Here is my one concern: 

We give behavior grades on report cards and in the past it has been determined by how many times a child pulls a card. do I easily keep track of behavior when students are moving up and down the behavior chart all day?

Rick suggests using a behavior card called Making Better Choices that the student has to fill in when they move their clip down. You can either file it for conferences or send it home for parents to sign.

I'm thinking a fun Vistaprint project may be in the works....hmmm.....

Do you use a clip chart in your class? What do you love about it? How do you keep track of those pesky "clip down" moments? 


  1. I am thinking about using the clip chart too. I am a pull a card teacher right now but I never really liked it. It was just what everyone started using a few years ago so I went along. I have to say that I have told kids I would pull their card and then didn't:( Bad I know but it never really worked anyway.

    I'm excited to see how you plan on taking grades and letting parents know because that is where my struggles are on this plan too.

    The Busy Busy Hive

  2. I need to make a new one, so thanks for the great samples! Just found your blog and cute, cute ideas!!

  3. I need to make a new one, so thanks for the great samples! Just found your blog and cute, cute ideas!!

  4. What I do is I give the kids a calendar every month. At the end of each day, they color in their color they had on their behavior chart that day. Once they had 10 green squares, they would show me their calendar and they would get a prize. If they had a blue or purple, they would pick a prize from a special prize box. This worked really well for me last year. I hope this helps :)


  5. Thank you for featuring my clip chart! It's made a huge difference in my classroom. I use a weekly form that goes home where the kids color a circle that shows how they did for the day. I'm thinking of how I'm going to revamp the home piece for next year.

  6. I don't use a clip chart, so no help there. I just wanted to stop in and say hi. I saw your blog on the Newbie blog hop. I teach third too. I'm your newest follower!

    Mrs. T
    Teaching Mrs.T

  7. Thanks everyone for the input on how to track. I appreciate you all!

  8. The kids do the calendar in their binders, but I also have a chart that gets filled in at the end of everyday so I have it right there as well :)

  9. My kid does great with clip system. So much I'm making one for home. My kids do not behave for me but are angels for everyone especially at school. I'm going to make a graph chart to keep track long term. I have my 1st graders attention and I will make it work for my teenager as well. Wish me luck.

  10. I am an Assistant Principal who intervenes with discipline issues all day long in a heavily trauma-impacted school. A few of our teachers use clip up/clip down for management. It triggers kids left and right. It traumatizes all over again kids who experience trauma on a daily basis. A few teachers have abandoned the charts as a result of trauma-sensitive training we are doing as a class and have replaced it with positive intervention supports; these teachers say they will never go back.

  11. This seems like a rather public display of humiliation for those kids who either have a harder time sitting still, following directions, etc etc. It's great for the "easy" kids but for the kids who don't fit in the "easy box" I'm not sure I would like this as a parent.

  12. Anonymous Principal: Thanks for your feedback! I don't teach in a heavily trauma-impacted school and since we're required to use the "pull a card" method, I figure this is at least a step up from that. I'd love to hear about the positive intervention supports. Can't have enough tools in your arsenal!

    Elizabeth, I can totally understand where you're coming from...again, this is a step up from the card charts that I'm required to use. At least with the clip chart students have the opportunity to make smart choices and then clip back up so there is some positive wrapped in there too! Thanks for commenting :)