Alternatives to Clip Charts

Over the past few days, I’ve shared two other blog posts about clip charts in the classroom.

First, I shared reasons why teachers choose to use clip charts. I feel like when we know what problem we’re trying to solve, we can come up with better solutions.

Why Do Teachers Use Clip Charts

Then, I blogged about what the experts are saying. There is SO much research about the negative impacts of clip charts and other public behavior management systems.

What Do Experts Say About Clip Charts

Now that we’ve covered those 2 topics, let’s talk about what we can do instead.

Correct and Redirect Privately

No matter what systems we have in place, there will always be times we need to remind students what our expectations are. I distinctly remember how nervous I would get having to walk in front of my peers. I used to ask my friends to sharpen pencils for me so I wouldn’t have to walk to the front of the class. If sharpening a pencil is embarrassing, imagine being told to move your clip…and then look at it all day.

I always try to walk to the student, instead of having them walk to me. It’s less disruptive and other students are less likely to notice. During whole group, eye contact is a great way to redirect students. I often rely on turn and talk, as well. During a read-aloud, I’ll ask my students a question about the book for them to discuss with their neighbor. Then I can casually walk over to the student and privately say, “remember we keep our hands to ourselves.”

Set Students Up For Success

There are lots of things we can do as teachers to help our students be more successful. It’s important to be proactive about student behavior, by planning ahead and offering tools and suggestions. A few ideas include:

  • Setting goals (Today we will raise our hands before we speak.)
  • Non-verbal cues (When I touch my ear, that is a reminder to listen.)
  • Picture cues (Whenever I show you this card, that will remind you to use your feet safely.)
  • Tools (fidgets, bouncy bands, timers)

Focus on Intrinsic Motivation

When we use rewards, like treasure box, stickers, etc. we teach our students to do the right thing to get something. Of course, there’s a place for that, and many students do very well with it. However, we also want to make sure we’re encouraging intrinsic motivation. There’s no special product or tool for helping students with their intrinsic motivation. We can, though, be mindful of the language we use. Some things you might say include:

  • You must have worked really hard to learn those new words!
  • Our hearts feel proud when we practice new things.
  • It feels good to be helpful to others.

Focus on the Function of Behavior

We know that student behavior is communication. When a student is doing an undesirable behavior, they are trying to communicate something. They aren’t trying to make your day harder, or punish you. When we know the function of a behavior, we can target THAT and hopefully stop behavior before it starts. Some examples of behavior functions include:

  • A student calls out in class, because they are excited about their learning and lack impulse control. We can provide them with a notebook to write their thoughts in immediately, or offer more opportunities for turn and talk.
  • A student puts their hands on classmates because they are seeking peer approval and attention. We can offer them more opportunities for appropriate play and social interaction.

TEACH Behavior

The final thing I encourage you to try is to explicitly teacher the behavior we want our students to exhibit. Just like we teach students how to decode words and use a number line to subtract, we can teach students how to show self-control and handle conflicts. My Social-Emotional curriculum is a great way to teach desired behaviors in our classrooms.

The more we learn about student behavior, the more we understand that relationships matter. Above all, prioritize strong and secure connections with your students. ?

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