February 6, 2012

Random Classroom Updates: Clip Charts & Test Anxiety

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!


  1. I use your clip chart in my classroom, albeit in a slightly different way. SO useful! Love the bring it on attitude!

  2. I use the clip chart and I love it as well! And I LOVE the idea of having them shout/write Bring it on before a test!!

  3. I love the clip chart! I wish I had done it in my class-- I may actually start it for the last trimester! Better late than never, right? I really do like the idea of switching out the clips for different colors and the JEWELS! That would totally motivate me!
    To The Square Inch

  4. I love the mantra/motto: Bring it on! Will have to try that with my 6th graders. I feel like all I do with this group this year is lecture/reprimand because of laziness and lack of effort. It's REAL BAD this year. :)

    By the way I just completed week 5 of the Couch25k training program and have lost a total of 14 pounds since December 27th! Woohoo! Loving this jogging/walking! :)


  5. I'm an education major and I have been reading your blog for the last couple of hours. It is so obvious you love and care for your kids, and I have been so inspired by what you have written. I especially like the idea of the clip chart, and I am very pleased you are building self-esteem in your students. I hope to be a teacher like you. =)



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