Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My Classroom Behavior Management Plan

I'm dropping by today to share with you what my classroom behavior management system looks like. Of course I also have individual systems in place too, like my cool points charts, self-monitoring sheets, and token systems you've probably read about...but this is an overview of my "whole" classroom system. 

Yes folks, I do use a clip chart and love it! My system is much more than just a clip chart though!! It is not only easy for my students to understand, but is a very powerful visual for my students and let me tell you why. There are other components that make it so powerful!

My student's take home charts completely align with the clip chart. The emotions on my clip chart match the faces on their take home charts. This is another thing that makes it so comprehensive and meaningful for my students. This allows all of my students, even my lowest functioning students to easily understand their take home chart. These hang in student view each day.

Students having a rough day can often be caught sneaking a peek at their chart to see what they got.

Here is a closer view. The clip chart is recorded on their take home charts 3 times a day. This allows students that may start out rough to turn their day around and end on a good or super. Parents are required to sign them and return them each day. Then, they are filed in an individual student binder as data. (Sorry for the end of the year rough copy that's been recopied over & over. The original is crisp)

Students that end their day on good or super, get a small treat on their way out each day from this little drawer that sits at my exit door. Again, this is very successful for your challenging behaviors, because it gives those students the opportunity to turn their day around, rather than figuring, "Oh, I already blew it and got sad so I may as well misbehave the rest of the day now." 
I also change this up from time to time with stickers, no homework coupons, or a stamp on their hand. (On a side note: Make sure to keep your "end of the day treat box" filled with treats that those challenging behavior students LOVE!!)

What else is key and makes this system so powerful is "The Treasure Tree." One of my classroom favorites!

Every Friday, students that have ended every day that week on good or super on the clip chart, get TREASURE TREE! So there's a daily incentive and opportunity to turn your day around, and then this provides a weekly incentive. So how do I keep track of who gets treasure tree on Friday?? Very simply (and my aides do it).

These incentive charts are marked at the end of each day with where they ended up on the clip chart. Here is what the colors mean.
Purple = Super
Green = Good
Yellow = Warning
Red = Sad

So, as you can see, this student ended on warning (yellow sticker) on this particular Friday, so she did not earn treasure tree. She did earn it though for the previous weeks; weeks 1, 2, and 3, and she got the "end of the day" treat on Mon.-Thurs. The two "X's" means she was absent or there was no school.

This system is even more powerful when parents buy in and support it. I say this because the students that have consequences at home for coming home with warnings or sads, are the students that are not only frequently checking their charts, but are also the students that literally will cry when they have to move their clip down. 

Students that don't have consequences at home, still want to follow it, because they want that end of the day treat and that prize they've been eyeing all week on the treasure tree. 

That's why the treasure tree is also another powerful component to this system. It is an incentive in itself. New prizes are added every Monday morning and they can't wait to pick out what they're going to work for each week when they arrive on Monday morning. It also remains there as a visual reminder all day and all week long!

I also love the treasure tree because the time my students used to take rummaging through the treasure box breaking other toys trying to decide what they wanted, and me having to do a countdown to help them make a decision DROVE ME CRAZY! Not with the treasure tree. BTW, it is out of student reach.

I could just go on and on, because I love my system so much and it is so effective! But I won't! I'll leave you with some frequently asked questions though, that you might have too.

Q: What about dealing with more aggressive behaviors in the classroom?
A: The first paragraph of this post has 3 links that offer suggestions with this. Plus, if you search "behavior" on my blog you'll find many posts.

Q:What if a student is absent 3 days? Do they still get treasure tree on Fridays? 
A: No, I require a student to be at school at least 3 days that week to be eligible to earn treasure tree. It's not fair that other kids have to work hard all week to earn it. 

Q:Do you still give the candy/sticker treat at the end of the day on Friday too?
A: No. That is only given on Mon.-Thurs.

Q: How do you find the time to keep up with this? 
A: This is all delegated to one aide. My aide takes 20 seconds to mark "morning" on the take home charts on her way out to lunch. She marks "afternoon" upon their return from lunch and specials. Last 30 minutes of our day is "social time" and this is when she marks "end of day" and takes care of the stickers charts.

Q: How are the clips moved?
A: Students are simply asked to move their clip. They are always happy to move up, but of course not always happy to move down. If a student refuses and staff has to move it, then the clip is moved down two times. So instead of going to warning, they would go all the way to sad.

Q: What if a student is ODD and simply refuses to use clip system and/or gets very angry and has a meltdown when clip is moved.
A: Good question! Occasionally, you will have a student that you simply cannot ask to move a clip down due to their negative response to punitive consequences. For those students my "Cool Points" charts are very effective. 

Q: Is this a new system you started?
A: No, I have been using this exact system in my classroom for 5 years and will continue because it is so effective and meaningful for my students. If it's effective, why change it? 

Q: If I use a clip chart will I be focusing on negative behavior?
A: No, my classroom is centered around and functions on positive reinforcement. I believe in catching my students being good and reinforcing positive behavior, while ignoring the negative. "Praise the best, Ignore the rest" is my motto. But there are times when we simply cannot ignore a negative behavior and a child needs to be held accountable for his actions and learn to understand consequences. 

If you need something new and you'd like to give this a try in your classroom, the take home behavior charts are available in a few versions that I have customized for other teachers and are FREE at this link.
Take Home Charts

You will find the clip chart link at the link above too.

I couldn't find my exact tree I use for my "Treasure Tree" (5 yrs old), but you can find a very similar one here

Just remember with anything, it has to be implemented with fidelity and consistency. This clip chart could not stand alone. It would have no meaning whatsoever. It is the components that all tie in with it and the consistent implementation that my staff and I fulfill that make it so effective and powerful. 

If you have more questions, leave them below with your email and I'll get right back to you!

Happy Summer! 


  1. This looks like a very effective system! I love all the pieces to it, and that it can be customized to an individual's needs. I especially love the tree! That is an amazing visual for the kids to see and be reminded of what they can earn! I had a couple of questions. First, what do you do for kids who need reinforcement more frequently? I am thinking of kids who don't need minute by minute reinforcement, but also can't wait until the end of the day? Last, when I have seen criticisms of clip charts, one of the main ones is that some people feel that it is shaming, as the clips are available for all to see (good and bad), and that sometimes there are kids that are always in trouble and can be excluded. Of course, most of those reporting this are in gen ed settings. I am just curious if you have experienced that, or had any negative reaction (aside from being upset about moving from doing a good job to not so good) from either kids or their families? Just to be clear, I am not criticizing, just wondering as I contemplate doing something like this. I want to make sure I have thought about all possible issues before I implement any changes to what I am currently doing. Thank you!

    1. Jannike, I am providing positive reinforcement in addition to this all day long with token boards and my cool points charts. Those links are in the first paragraph of this post. As far as the negativity and shaming people speak about the clip chart, I actually chuckle at that because I have experienced NONE of that from my students or parents. In my classroom we think of one another as family. We speak very openly to one another about our disabilities, behaviors, goals and what we each need to improve on, and we help one another to reach their goals!! No one is ever shamed or embarrassed!! We all support each other and try to help everyone do better!! Hope this answers your concerns!

  2. I love the idea, especially the tree! I also checked out your "Cool Points" system. I wish I had seen that for my classroom last year! I was teaching some kids with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities, and nothing worked. I ended up implementing a level system that was used by the therapeutic treatment school in our district, but even that didn't work well. I think this Cool Points system would have been a great idea.


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