After trying at least 5 different behavior management systems in my first two years, this year I have finally found one I love. Friends, 2011-2012 has been the year of the Clip Chart for me! I talked about how much I love the clip chart and how I use it in this post, but I wanted to update today on one little thing: clip colors. All of my kiddos started the year with a plain clip with their number on it. At the end of the day, every student that reached Outstanding (the highest level) receives an MVP award and a sticker on their clip. Since I have a sports theme in my classroom, the stickers are all different sports balls. Once they have earned 5 stickers on their clip, they get a brand new clip. First is a red clip, then orange, yellow, and so on. The colors go in order of the colors on the clip chart. I didn't explain any of this to the kids at the beginning of the year, just told them to "pay attention to your clips--things might start happening to them as you do outstanding work."
Anyways, there were a lot of whispers between the kiddos when one student filled their pink clip for the first time--pink is the highest level of the clip chart. What would happen? I surprised them all when the next day it was replaced with a silver clip. After silver comes gold, and, finally, the ultimate highest level: the jeweled clip. I used regular markers to color all of the clothes pins in the regular colors, but used silver and gold paint pens. (Silver and gold sharpies would work too.) For the jeweled clips, I flipped their gold clip over so the stickers were on the back and hot-glued a row of rhine stones to it. I decided to make jeweled the highest level--kids don't change clips anymore once they've reached it. I think that's perfectly okay because the kids that reach jeweled early don't need that extra motivation/incentive to behave. I love the system and it is so easy. I add the stickers after school in about 1 minute, and earlier in the year I had a few of my students stay after school to color a whole bunch of clips. Now when someone needs a new clip, I just grab one out of that bin and add their number to it. The only thing that takes a few minutes is the gluing on the jewels, but it's worth it IMHO. :)
Also, this year I've really been trying to help alleviate test anxiety in my kiddos. In keeping with our sports theme, I've started telling the kids that tests are like a "big game" that they are ready for after all the practices we've put in. I tell them that tests are their "opportunity to SHINE," like the super bowl or stanley cup playoffs. I've taught them all year that we should approach any challenge with a "bring it on" attitude. In fact, before a challenging thing, I will say to them, "And what do we say to a challenge?" The kids respond by shouting, "BRING IT ON!" Back to tests: I've had the kids write "Bring it on!" at the top of their test papers all year. No, it's not going to work a miracle. But if it helps one student do their best, I'd say it's worth doing!