Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Color Chart

When I reflect on things that work well in my room, the first thing that I think of is our Color Chart. This is my behavior management system. Last year I used a simple green, yellow, red chart with clothespins. Each child had a clothespin with their name on it. At the beginning of the day everyone was on green. If I had to speak to a child about breaking a classroom rule, they would move their clothespin to yellow as a visual warning. Then, if their behavior continued, they would move down to red. I really dislike taking away recess, so if a child is on yellow they walk 3 laps outside around the playground before playing, and then come talk to me about why they are on yellow, and what they will do to get back on green. (I always allow students to "work their way back up.") Children on red receive an appropriate consequence, depending on which rule they broke. For example, if they broke a rule while at computer station, they would loose computer time.

I have essentially the same system this year, however I spruced up my behavior chart. I got this idea from Rick Morris and his Clip Chart. This year I have the typical green, yellow, red, but I also added blue and purple sections above the green section.

My husband helped me build this color chart out of wood. We then painted it with magnetic primer (available at Lowes) and then taped off the sections, before spray painting each color. You will notice the green portion is slightly larger than the other parts because this is where all the students start their day out. I wrote each student's name on an index card, laminated the cards, and then put a magnetic strip on the back.

If I notice a student exhibiting above average or great behaviors I move their name up to blue. If I see outstanding behavior then the student moves their name to purple. Students on blue and purple get 5 extra minutes of play time at recess. In addition, if a student is on purple they get to pick a "Purple Star Coupon." These coupons have things like
  • Eat lunch with the teacher
  • Teacher for the day
  • Pick out of the treasure chest
  • Extra computer time
If a student earns up to purple I add a purple star sticker to their name tag to show their great achievement. Some students have many stars on their names, and others are working in the new year to earn a purple star sticker.

I have found that this helps me keep a positive spin on behavior management. Last year the children who followed the rules rarely got the praise they deserved. Now, those students that set good examples can quickly be recognized and rewarded for their behavior. It also allows the class to see examples of "blue" and "purple" behavior and try to follow these role models.

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