Be the change, classroom management, new year, Student-centered

How to Make Your Anti-Rewards Philosophy Fit in A Pro-Rewards/PBIS School

image from icanread

4 years ago I decided that rewards in its most basic sense of trinkets, special events, and things to earn had no place in my classroom.  I threw it all out, decided to go rewards free and then held my breath.  3 years ago my former school adopted PBIS.  And I was in a dilemma.  Questions like what do you do when you are anti-rewards but part of a school that has a school-wide reward system?  What do you do when you are seemingly the only person like this?  How do you follow the expectations and rules without betraying your own philosophy? surrounded my brain.  Turns out I am not the only one in this situation.  In fact, this is one of the most common emails I get from people who have read my book “Passionate Learners” or this blog; how do you fit into a school that does rewards when you don’t believe in it yourself?

It would be easy to say that you stand your ground.  That you refuse to give them.  That you tell everyone how wrong they are and that you will never, ever participate.  But let’s be real.  If I had done that it would have been put in my file as being a non-team player.  I also would have looked like a jerk.  And nobody wants to look like a jerk.  So instead there is a few things you can do if you find yourself in this situation.

You can participate like everyone else.  I did this my first year.  I followed all of the expectations, didn’t ask any questions (for a while any way) and made sure I gave it a chance.  I did not want to judge something that so many people loved before I had fully tried it.  What I discovered helped me shape how I worked with the expectations in my own classroom.

I discovered that PBIS, or similar all school “management philosophies” works on noticing the positive.  That I could stand behind.  It also works on common expectations and common language.  That I also believe in.  So those parts were fine with me.  What I didn’t like so much was the handing out of rewards to earn something materialistic, the singling out of certain students, and the exclusion of others.  I had a hard time being okay with handing a student a ticket for walking properly in the hallway, following normal rules, and pretty much just doing what was expected.  And yet I had to work with it, not against it and thus make it work.  So, some ideas to work with this are:

  • Create your own “awards”– rather than trading tickets in for things, my students could show them to me and get a thumbs up/wohoo/high five etc.  This may sound totally ridiculous but my students work on being noticed for their great behavior and so I worked on noticing those.  Often we get too busy with teaching that we don’t see or say when kids are being great, a few seconds here or there for positive call outs go a long way.  So when students were awesome, I told them that.  When students weren’t so awesome, I also told them that.  They would rather have words from me than a ticket.  However, if you have to hand out tickets for students to earn things, see if they can earn time with you, earn time to read more, earn time to read a picture book etc.  That way you are still following school rules but getting rid of the trinkets.
  • Have class parties.  My students never earned these in the traditional sense, I would surprise them with a special afternoon when they had worked really hard.  Parents knew and would help behind the scenes, but the students most of the time did not know it was coming.  They never acted in a certain way to get something and no one ever lost the privilige to take part.
  • Have students pick students to be recognized.  I was put in the uncomfortable position or picking two kids to honor at an assembly.  Uncomfortable because I really had a lot more than two that could have been honored.  So instead of picking, I let the students vote.  That way they were recognizing their peers, which meant more in the long run.
  • Have them set their own rules.  Yes, we were a PBIS school with PBIS rules, but I also wanted students to set their own expectations for behavior within our class.  I wanted them to decide how they would get the most out of school by deciding what their learning environment should look like and feel like.  This was not to replace what the school had decided but to supplement it.  Students made rules that worked for them in their language and then modified/fine-tuned throughout the year.
  • Plant a seed.  It is okay to start a conversation on how PBIS or other all-school reward/award philosophies can be changed to fit your school and all kids better.  You don’t have to come out with guns blazing, you can bring up small questions and points, thus planting the seed of change.  You can discuss how you would rather not reward students with trinkets for what they are supposed to do, and then offer alternatives.  You can discuss how you work with it in your class.  You can also have students discuss it.  When I asked my students whether they thought the tickets made a difference, some of them laughed.  They did not care much about them and saw them as silly since it seemed random as to whether they got them and the prizes associated with them were not very good (gotta love 5th graders’ honesty).
  • Band together.  Find people who also question some of the philosophies and discuss it with them, this is not to form a terror group of “we are right, you are wrong” but rather to not be alone in presenting your views.  If more than one person is questioning certain parts, a better conversation can be had with differing viewpoints.
  • Make it work for you.  I think we can take even some of the strictest systems and make them work for us by starting thoughtful conversations with those in charge, by asking for small tweaks and changes and explaining why.  Don’t try to ridicule the system because parts of it does work, but find ways to work with it without making yourself sick.  There are always battles to pick and fight, but compromise goes a long way as well.  Yes, in a perfect world, we would not have to change our own philosophies to fit our school’s, but we work in buildings with many needs.  What works for us may not work for others and if we model that belief we can create a space where we all fit.

I know I am not the only one in this boat, so what has worked for you?

I am a passionate  teacher in Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

 

 

Be the change, classroom management, punishment, reflection, Student-centered, students

Do We Really Need the Public Call Out?

When I moved this blog to WordPress some posts did not survive, so in an effort to move some of my favorite posts with me, I will be republishing them here.  This one was first written in April, 2011.

“Joe, you need to pay attention!”

“Sit up, Peter!”

“Lisa, what happened there?”

 All day and every day, we use our students names when they are off task, when they are fiddling, sleeping, or simply not performing to the high standard we have set for them.  We see something out of sorts, judge their action, find them guilty, and deliver the verdict all within a few seconds.    As our lesson continues, we don’t always have the time to dig deep so we assume instead that we know why they are fiddling, why they are not paying attention, and so we correct, coerce, call out their names until they are with us again.  

Their names.  Something that is so intricately linked with who they are as a budding person.  Their names so linked with their identities.  And yet we use them to our advantage, without a second thought as a way to maintain control, as a way to punish. 

This week I asked my students to finish the sentence: “Being a good teacher means…” and what Nathan wrote really made me think: “Don’t yell out the kids name that does something wrong.”  At first, I scoffed at this notion, after all, what else are we supposed to do as teachers when our students are off task?  Calling out their names is one of the most efficient ways to re-direct them quickly.  And yet, as I thought about it more, I understood his thoughts.  Calling out a student’s name in front of the whole class means that the whole class knows that the student is not doing what they ought to.  Some teachers use it specifically for that purpose; the public enforcement of expectations.  And yet, calling out a name means that what one student is doing (or not doing) becomes the focus of the entire class.  Yes, you achieve your goal of attention redirection, but you are directing everyone elses’ attention to that child without fully knowing what is going on.  So I make it my mission to reduce the public negative call out.  

So what can I do instead, because we all know, there are times when even the most attentive student gets off-track and I would otherwise use their name to re-direct right away,  

I could take a breath, hesitate, and see if another strategy can grant the same outcome.  Can I redirect them silently?  Can I signal them?  Can I tap them on their shoulder, or pass by their work area?  Do I need to shout out their name?

I could also re-evaluate, do a quick scan of the room, is this the only child off-task?  Is the whole class really not interested anymore? Did I speak too long, do we need a break or to do something student-directed or hands-on?

Yet, sometimes, it is not me or the students that are the problem.   I am reminded that my students live full lives that sometimes interfere with our school day.  This is when I take the time to stop and talk and ask if everything is alright, is there anything I need to know?  Sometimes they are just so excited about something happening that they cannot focus, other times it is lack of sleep, of food, or they are distracted by life situations.  Sometimes, they will just tell you they are having an off day.  That is alright too, after all, we all have off days.

This isn’t a perfect system, nor is it intended to be.  It is rather one more step in learning how to be a better teacher, one that doesn’t cause embarrassment for the students because I don’t need to embarrass them into behaving.  One that takes the time to figure out the real reason behind distractions and then works with the student rather than just dolling out punishment.

So once again, my students teach me how to be a better teacher.  I should be using their names wisely, reserving the public call out for when it is truly necessary.  Nathan taught me that and for that I am thankful.  He had enough courage to tell his teacher the wrong of her ways, and lead me to deeper reflection.  When we ask our students questions, we may not like the answer, but there is always a great reason for that answer.  A reason that should not be taken lightly, but rather explored, reflected upon and then acted upon.

I am a passionate  teacher in Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

Be the change, being me, classroom management, reflection

I Do Not Manage

When I moved this blog to WordPress some posts did not survive, so in an effort to move some of my favorite posts with me, I will be republishing them here.  This one first appeared in March, 2011.

I am sick of the word “manage” as in “classroom management” or even better how do you “manage” your students?

Well, I don’t manage them.  I teach them, guide them, and learn along with them.  I do not come to school intent on herding cattle but rather helping young minds develop their knowledge, as well as their desires to become more knowledgeable.  I do not manage my classroom, but instead I collaborate with students to set up perimeters for us to function at our best, be our best, and want to stay that way.  I do not manage their desires to learn or become better citizens; I nourish it, sometimes light it, but always, always maintain it.

I do not manage to get through my day, I flourish through it, loving the trials, the ups and downs, the wondrous moments that come with teaching.  I do not manage my life or my curriculum, I live it, love it, and will continue to push myself as a teacher, a human being.

I am not a manager, I am a teacher, and I would like to stay that way.

I am a passionate  teacher in Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

being a teacher, being me, classroom management, new year, punishment, Uncategorized

So How Do You Manage Your Classroom When You Don’t Punish?

image from etsy

 

Following the debate over public behavior charts, many people wondered what they could do in its place to still keep students engaged and on track?  I referred to a few posts but then realized that I did not have just one post that laid out exactly what I do in my own room, tips and ideas are in many different places.  And then I realized, I don’t really have one system because my approach changes every year depending on the needs of the students and the type of community we strive to make.  And yet, there are threads that run through every year with my students of what we do.

  • I don’t set the rules.  The students know how to do school, in fact, by 5th grade they are experts at it.  So instead of me telling them what the rules of the room is, I ask them to make them.  They discuss expectations in their table groups and then share with the class.  Nothing is written down on paper but instead we get a feel for what type of classroom we want.
  • We create a vision.  Every year, I ask the students to create a vision of the room.  Sometimes a theme emerges and other times it is just our hopes and dreams.  This is one of the first steps in our community building.
  • We do community building all year.  Even on the last day of school we are trying to create family, and so we do challenges throughout the year, we have “huddles” (meetings led by me or students), we discuss how our room is doing, we change our rules, we set up new expectations, we sometimes even call people out.  Building community is not a beginning of the year thing, it is an all the time thing.
  • We do challenges together.  The very first day we do a bloxes challenge simply so I can get the students working together, this has to do with seeing them grow together and how they function without my guidance.  I love what this simple challenge shows me about the students.
  • When a problem arises, I consider my option before speaking.  Rather than call out a student for misbehaving I often pull them aside, ask them to leave the room to think about it, or do a quick check in.  Humor also gets me far in many situations.
  • When a larger problem arises, I stop if I can.  Often when a students is very, very angry, it needs my intervention or if more than one student is involved.  There is a root to the anger and something needs to be done to uncover it.  While it is very hard to stop what you are doing if you are the one passing out the information, often my students are engaged in a self-driven project r investigation.  This therefore frees me up to discuss/deescalate situations.  Not always, but often.
  • Engagement matters.  If my students are engaged, they misbehave less.  So if behaviors seem to be out of control it is often because of what we are doing.  If we need to stop, reevaluate, and re-think whatever we are doing then we do just that.  Yes, there is curriculum we need to do, but there are many ways to get through it.
  • I ask the students point blank what is going on.  I used to assume I knew why a child was misbehaving, now I ask them instead.  If its because they are bored, I dig deeper.  If it because of some other reason, we find the time to figure it out, even if it means for now they sit and take a breather for a bit.
  • I ask the students how they think their day is going.  If a child seems off, I can guarantee I am not the only one that notices.  That child, more often than not, is acutely aware of it as well.  So why not take this opportunity to build a deeper relationship?  If a child is acting out, there is a reason, we have to try to find the time to work with them and uncover it.
  • I look for the good.  I used to get so fixated on all of the things that were going wrong in the room, all of the “naughty” things a child kept doing that I forgot to see all of the good.  I now remind myself to look at the moments of kindness, the hard work, the laughter and learning that happens within a room on a daily basis.  I hold that up higher in my mind than the bad.  Sometimes it is all about mindset.
  • Every day is a new day.  Rather than label my students, I try to wipe the slate clean every day (of course, this is easier said than done).  Just like I want a new chance every day, I afford that to my students as well.
  • There are consequences, but they make more sense.  When I tell people I don’t punish they assume kids get away with whatever they want in our room, but that is not it at all.  There are consequences yes, but they are not meant to publicly shame a child, but rather to have them reflect and work on their behavior.  This can certainly still be viewed as punishment in the eyes of the child, but I do try to have a growth opportunity for them instead of just a  one action fits all solution.

In the end, I believe student motivation is a huge part of why students behave in a certain way in our rooms.  In fact, so much so, that I wrote about it in my book, “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students.”  I therefore leave you with an excerpt from the book to help you peek into my brain some more.

Not punishing students does not mean letting things slide or letting them walk all over you. It simply means handling situations calmly and figuring out the “why” behind the behavior and then working on that rather than enforcing a set of rules. How you react changes from situation to situation — something that’s much more difficult to do when you have cut rules into stone the first week of school.

Much of misbehavior comes from students’ perception of control within the classroom. That perception also affects their intrinsic motivation for wanting to be successful participants. A problem with punishment and reward is that it often only motivates in the short term. And yet many teachers do not know how else to get students to behave. I certainly was not consistently successful until I realized that the problem wasn’t the students, it was more often the curriculum and how I taught it. Meaning, it was really me. While I may not be the one who decides what to teach, I am most certainly the one who decides HOW to teach it. If I thought that mostly lecturing (which even put me to sleep in

college) was going to capture the imaginations of 9-year olds, then I was in the wrong job. So I began to think and learn a lot more about motivating learners.

My lessons in motivation

Here is what I know about motivation from shifting my own teaching practice:

  • Choice matters. When students choose not just what they will do for a project but also what they would like to learn about (within some boundaries), you get buy-in. This continues to be one of the most simple and exciting realizations I have experienced.
  • Motivation is contagious. When one student gets excited and has an opportunity to share that enthusiasm, the contagion spreads. My students get to blog about projects, we have huddles where we share, and we are a bit louder than we used to be. But guess what? Those loud noises are usually indicators that my students are super excited about something inside those boundaries I mentioned.
  • Punishment/reward systems stifle learning. This short-term approach to motivation proved to be more harmful than helpful. It created a toxic learning atmosphere. Now we have class parties when we feel we want one. I have lunch with all my students several times a month because they ask me to. No one is excluded from anything. When homework doesn’t get done (I have limited homework when kids don’t get enough time to do it in class or they don’t use their time well), I ask them how they plan to fix it, and most students choose to do it at recess. This is fine by me; they are free to go out and play if they choose.
  • Be excited yourself. The fastest way for kids to lose interest is if you are bored. I faced up to the fact that I hated some of the things I taught and how I taught them (goodbye grammar packets). Something had to change. Now my students joke about how I almost always introduce something new with “I am so excited to do this…”
  • Consider outside factors. Some students have a lot more on their plates than we could ever fully imagine. We need to ask questions, get to know our students, and be a listening ear. When my husband lost his job, it was hard for me to be excited about everyday life. I was too busy worrying. I understand how outside worry can influence the way we function within our school. I’m sure you do, too.
  • Manage and guide what’s in front of you. We will never be able to control what our students go home to, but we sure can guide what happens in the room. Good teachers choose to create a caring environment where all students feel safe. Students let their guards down and feel it is okay to work hard and have fun. It’s the first essential step toward building a learning community.

And finally, read more about old and new ways to deal with common forms of misbehavior in this chart I’ve put together.

I am a passionate  teacher in Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

being a teacher, classroom management, punishment, reflection, students

Call Me Crazy But It Is Still About the Kids…

I stopped using a punishment system in my classroom, when I realized I already knew who would get in trouble.

I stopped using a reward system in my classroom, when I realized I knew who would be rewarded.

Few kids ever proved me wrong, instead they mostly stayed within the track that my management system had placed them in.  And those that were always on the board?  Who I was always calling out?  They didn’t stay there for lack of trying, oh I tried to reach those boys behaving badly(because let’s be honest most of them were boys).  I tried to reason with them, talk about the future, praise them when they made better choices, point out their mistakes so they could fix them, help them grow, help them learn.  Support them, guide them, punish them when needed.

Sure, there was change.  I could usually get them to work after a while.  You take enough away and most kids will crumble at some point.  You yell enough and most kids will get to it.  But their behaviors never changed for good.  The next day, the next week,sometimes the next period, the battle started over and sometimes I ran out of punishment options.  Where do you go after you have sent a 10 year old kid to the office, had the principal yell at them, and pulled in their parents?  Do you start to suspend so that they will work harder?  Do you take away every privilige until they break?

It wasn’t until I got rid of my systems and started working on relationships, community, trust, and creating a passionate classroom environment, that the behaviors changed.  It wasn’t until I took down the behavior charts, and started to get to know my students better that the kids, those kids, started to care more.  As one principal told me, “It is not for themselves they work, it is for you, we will get them to work for themselves later.”  So I set out to create an environment where they wanted to be, create a classroom filled with learning that spoke to them.  That didn’t mean throwing out the curriculum but it meant working with it in a different way to reignite a curiosity that had been forgotten.  It didn’t always work, sometimes kids come to us with bigger demons than we can ever fight, but a seed had been planted in some of these kids that perhaps school wasn’t just out to get them.

I never knew that writing about public behavior charts would ignite a firestorm of comments on this blog.  After all, I have tackled bigger topics before.  But this one, this seemingly small part of our classrooms, has taken on a life of its own.  Some agreed, some discussed, and some simply thought I was crazy to put it mildly.  My skin has definitely grown thicker every day.  What upset me the most were not the words spoken about me, but rather about the kids we teach and how if we don’t do something like this, they will turn out in a certain way.  Here are a few highlights from comments…

” I’m sorry, but being an overprotective, hypersensitive teacher will get my students nowhere.”

“Maybe if we didn’t “baby” kids they would be stronger individuals.”

“…we are raising an entire generation of hypersensitive kids who are unable to behave appropriately, and take responsibility for their own actions. ”

“…is it almost came off sounding like if you use behavior charts you’re a bad, horrible teacher that could care less about the feelings of your students.”

“You want a society of sociopaths? Keep rewarding (or not addressing) bad behavior and failing to teach values.”

“So tired of these parents who want to caudle these disrespectful beings….oh I don’t want to hurt their feelings….please….I seriously would like to see you try to teach a group of children who are quite difficult….making noises, throwing chairs, flipping desks, kicking or hitting THE TEACHER! ”

In the end, what we do is about children, and I chose to get rid of a system that did not work for my students, nor me.  It did not promote unity, self-control, or solutions.  It was  a quick fix that sure let a child know where they stood for the day, but also let the rest of the world know.  As an adult, I am given the privilege of a private conversation whenever I screw up.  I wanted to afford my students the same thing.  That doesn’t mean I baby them, nor that they are coddled.  My difficult children, the ones that fist fought, that threw tables, that told me that there was nothing I could do about it.  They were the ones that needed me the most.  They were the ones that needed some control the most.

You may not agree with me on public behavior charts, you may even want to attack me personally, calling me delusional or worse.  But the kids?  They are not all bad kids, who we need to toughen up.   Some of these kids have had lives that I could never imagine dealing with.  They are not all kids that get away with whatever they want.  They are not all kids whose parents are not raising them right.  They are kids who are trying.  They are kids who want to make good choices.  They are kids who probably have dreams.  They are kids…Let’s not forget that.

I am a passionate  teacher in Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

Be the change, behavior, being me, classroom management, reflection, students

So What’s My Problem With Public Behavior Charts?

image borrowed from Kimberley Moran – see her great post on how to move past behavior charts linked at the bottom of the post

 

The day starts out fine, you had your breakfast, you had your tea, you feel prepared, happy even.  You are off to school and ready to teach.  At the morning staff meeting you get so excited over an idea you lean over to your colleague to whisper in their ear.   After all, they really need to hear this.  “Mrs. Ripp, please move your clip.”  Shocked, you look around and feel every set of eyes on you.  You stand up, walk to the front, move your clip from the top of the chart to yellow or whatever other step down there is.  Quietly you sit down, gone is your motivation for the day, you know it can only get worse from here.

Ridiculous right?  After all, how many times as adults are we asked to move our name, our clip, our stick, or even write our name on the board so others can see we are misbehaving?  We don’t, and we wouldn’t if we were told to, after all, we demand respect, we demand common courtesy, we expect to be treated like, well, adults.  So us, moving sticks, yeah right…

Search for “Classroom behavior charts” on Pinterest and prepare to be astounded.  Sure, you will see the classic stop light charts, but now a new type of chart has emerged.  The cute classroom behavior chart, filled with flowers, butterflies, and smiley faces.  As if this innocent looking chart could never damage a child, as if something with polka-dots could ever be bad.   And sure, must of them have more than three steps to move down, but the idea is still the same; a public behavior chart display will ensure students behave better.  Why?  Because they don’t want the humiliation that goes along with moving ones name.  Nothing beats shaming a child into behaving.

The saddest thing for me is that I used to do it.  I used to be the queen of moved sticks, checkmarks, and names on the board.  I used to be the queen of public displays heralding accomplishments and shaming students.  I stopped when I realized that all I did was create a classroom divided, a classroom that consisted of the students who were good and the students who were bad.  I didn’t even have to tell my students out-loud who the “bad” kids were, they simply looked at our chart and then drew their own conclusions.  And then as kids tend to do, they would tell their parents just who had misbehaved and been on red or yellow for the day. Word got around and parents would make comments whenever they visited our room of just how tough it must be to teach such and such.  I couldn’t understand why they would say that until I realized it stared me in the face.  My punishment/behavior system announced proudly to anyone who the bad kids were, so of course, parents knew it too. So I took it down and never looked back.  No more public humiliation in my classroom ever again.

We may say that we do it for the good of the child.  We may say that it helps us control our classrooms.  We may say that public behavior charts have worked in our classrooms.  I know I used to.  And yet, have we thought of how the students feel about them?  Have we thought about the stigma we create?  Have we thought about the role we force students into and then are surprised when they continue to play it?

The fastest way to convince a child they are bad is to tell them in front of their peers.  So if that is what we are trying to accomplish, then by all means, display the cute behavior charts. Frame them in smiley faces, hearts or whatever other pinterest idea you stumble upon.  Start everyone in the middle so the divide becomes even more apparent when some children move up and others move down.  Hang those banners of accomplishment, make sure not everyone is on there.  Make sure everybody has been ranked and that everybody knows who is good and who is bad.  Create a classroom where students actions are not questioned, nor discussed, but simply punished.  And then tell them loudly and proudly to move their clip.  After all, if the whole class doesn’t know someone is misbehaving then how will they ever change?

To see one teacher’s journey of how she moved past public behavior charts, please read this post by Kimberley Moran “Moving Past Behavior Charts” 

PS:  As Patrick’s comment wonders, what are the alternatives?  I have blogged extensively about what to do instead, just click the links highlighted in the post or go to this page 

PPS:  More thoughts on this have been posted tonight 

I am a passionate  teacher in Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.