Thursday, 26 July 2012

Classroom Management

So I have jumped on the clip chart bandwagon for next year. This is my first year trying it out, but I've heard so many great things about it. I think it will really work for me and my class. Here's a picture of my clip chart all put together:

Everyday the students will start in the middle on "Ready to Learn". I believe every day should be a clean slate! During the day, students can move their clip up or down based on the choices they make. In September, we will brainstorm our classroom expectations and decided what behaviours might move our clips up (helping a friend, cleaning up without being asked to, working quietly, etc.) and what might move our clips down (breaking classroom rules, hurting someone, not doing working, etc.).

If students move down the chart, the first time an "infraction" occurs they will get a warning, which will be a short little conversation with me. The second time it happens they will get a timeout; this may mean time off recess, time at the "cool down table", or just time away from an activity. The third time it happens, I will contact the parent--either a note, email, or phone call.

I will allow my students to move back up the chart if they start making good choices again. I don't want them to feel defeated, like there's no point trying. There is always room for growth and improvement.

I decided that I wanted to have a daily communication tool between home and school that recorded the student's behaviour, so parents could get a good visual. This is also good to see if there are any patterns in the behaviours too. I created monthly calendars to go in our daily folders. On the side of the calendar there is a visual of the clip chart that tells the parents what the colours mean. At the end of the day, students will colour in the square on the calendar with the colour that they ended that day on.

If you are interested in my clip chart and calendars, you can check them out at TpT by clicking the picture below:

On one of my book buying trips I found three excellent books by the author Julia Cook. These are perfect for the beginning of the year, especially when dealing with first graders! Click each of the pictures to check the books out on Amazon.

"My Mouth is a Volcano" is the perfect book to talk about blurting and interrupting. You get to understand how it feels on both sides of the blurting... the boy feels his important words bubbling up and can't help it, so he just blurts them out. When it's his time to share, someone else blurts out words and takes away his special time. At home, his mom gives him some tips on what to do when he feels the words bubbling up!

"Personal Space Camp" tells the story of a boy who is sent to Space Camp. He learns all about personal space and comfort bubbles from the principal. Very cute story!

"A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue" is a great book to discuss tattling. It goes over four rules of tattling: be a Danger Ranger, be a problem solver, now or later?, and mind your own beeswax.

Another book for tattling that I like is "Don't Squeal, Unless It's a Big Deal" by Jeanie Franz Ransom.

Tattling was one of the most common problems that I dealt with last year. We seemed to deal with it ok in September, but by the end of the year it was back up to a major high! "She looked at me." "He budged in line." "She's eating two snacks." GEE WHIZ! Oh, and my absolute favourite, "He lied." Uhm. I'd ask you to elaborate, but I DON'T CARE!! 

Here are a couple of things I am planning to do next year to hopefully curb the tattling a little more. I like to differentiate between "tattling" and "reporting", so I made these scenario cards for us to sort together. I am hoping it will lead to some really good conversations about accidents vs. on purpose, how to solve the problems they want to tattle about, and what to do instead of tattling. I chose 20 really common situations that I dealt with constantly last year. The major rules for "reporting" a behaviour are if someone is hurting someone else (or threatening to hurt someone), if someone is hurting themselves, or if they are doing something illegal/dangerous.

You can download the tattling cards {here} for free.

Another thing I might try is this pin from the blog Playground Duty. It's a Tattling Teddy. It's kind of like the Tattling Turtle you can buy from Really Good Stuff, but you can make it yourself and use any stuffed animal you have. My first graders will definitely not be at the writing stage at the beginning of the year, but they can just tell the teddy what is wrong instead of telling me.

I hope this has been helpful! Does anyone else out there use a Tattling Teddy or something similar? Does it work?


  1. Thank you for the freebie! Love the visuals!

  2. I LOVE Julia Cook's books! I don't have the Personal Space Camp but it's going on my wishlist. Tattling is so hard for kids. Thanks for the freebie. Printing it now and will use it in August.

  3. Thanks for the book suggestions and the tattling/reporting sort activity. I'm doing that today with my pre-Kinders (who have a HUGE problem -- more than any other class I've had -- with tattling).