It’s true. I don’t use a clip chart as a behavior system.
Are you still reading or did you click out already?
I know. I’m such a rebel. So is Jen over at The Teacher’s Cauldron. She recently talked about her behavior system which is not a clip chart either. She inspired me to be brave. Thanks, Jen.
I did use a clip chart at one time. Back in the dark ages before I think it was even cool to do so. Call me a pioneer, if you will. Even then, I was a rebel because everyone else was using those “Turn Your Card” systems.
I don’t know. I don’t think I used my clip chart the way they’re used now. With the “top of the chart” and “add a jewel” options. I think I just said, “Move your clip.”
And then I moved to a different school and met Christina of Mrs. Winter’s Bliss, and Susan, two of my teaching heroes. And they did “Gold Tags”.
And that was that. I fell in love. I copied the system as soon as I could and have never wanted to do anything else. Neither have my teammates, as a matter of fact.
Here it is.
Laminate yellow construction paper and cut them into the size you like. Mine are 5×1. Or 1×5. What do I know? You could go crazy and do 1×6.
Get some library pockets. This year, I got fancy pockets and I’m just going to use a regular old address label with their name to stick on the front.
Now, pass out gold tags for good behavior. All good choices. Give one to those kind students who pick up the supplies that fall out of someone’s pencil box because they have no idea where their body is in space and constantly elbow it off the desk. Pass out gold tags to kids who transition quickly. Or who walk in line nicely. Anything and everything. Surprise the whole class when they’re
not listening to you so engaged in a lesson that they are too engrossed to look up by showering the one student that is listening with ten gold tags in one fell swoop! That, my friends, gets them. Then, instead of a class of hooligans, I have a brigade of soldiers standing at attention. The kids will fill up their gold tag pockets.
On the flip side, you can take away gold tags if you have to. But I would rather GIVE gold tags to a quiet student than take a gold tag from an unruly one. Although, honestly, if I do have to take away a gold tag, it speaks volumes to the whole class.
The best advice I can give for this is set the rules. Discuss the rules. Ask the class to vote on how many gold tags should be given for this or that, or if/how many should be taken away for this or that.
For example, last year, it was voted that if one line was quieter than the other, that whole line should earn one gold tag. It was also voted that if you’re sent back to your seat during a lesson on the carpet, you would owe TWO gold tags. Automatically. No questions asked. My class decided that. Not me. Apparently, I am so fascinating that the very idea that someone would talk or fool around on the carpet while I was in the director’s chair doing what I do was so incomprehensible that two gold tags were necessary! Gasp. TWO GOLD TAGS. Obviously, they didn’t vote on any more than two being taken away at one time.
So what are all these gold tags for?
FUN FRIDAY! Otherwise known as a
twenty to thirty minute prep period chance for students to extend their learning, and work on social skills on Friday afternoons.
Here’s my Fun Friday chart.
Before we begin, the kids count their gold tags. I teach them to do it in tally marks. It’s a MATH SKILL. But they don’t know it.
They write their name and the number of gold tags they earned on a “certificate”. Kids love certificates!
I call one table at a time to turn in their gold tags (to the basket) and give me their certificate. I’ll fill it out later and stick it in their homework folder that goes home the following week. I start putting the certificates in order of who-has-the-most to who-has-the-least. It’s okay if kids have the exact same number. It’s not an issue. They’re tied. I’ll still call them up to the chart one at a time. They’re fine.
When we’re ready, everyone comes to the carpet. The person with the most gold tags gets to choose their Fun Friday center first. That student will take a clothespin from the center of their choice, clip it on, and off they’ll go. And it continues. If there are no more clothespins for the center, then too bad, too sad. Pick something else.
Meanwhile, the kids on the carpet are dwindling and everyone is playing and you have about three kids left on the carpet waiting for their turn. This is a perfect time to do a little, “So, um . . . what happened this week?” And then the culprit usually shrugs and says, “I don’t know.” To which I say, “Well, I noticed that every time I called the class to the carpet, you were always the last one. And so you kept missing out on chances to earn gold tags. What should we do next week?” Or I might say, “Remember how you were using unkind words with your friends this week? How could we work on that next week?”
Anywho, the kids all play while I try to gather materials and get stuff going for the next week. The students can put clips back and choose different ones if they want to. Or they can stay in that center the whole time. I don’t care as long as they
leave me alone work on their independent skills.
Kids totally understand the concept of earning and losing gold tags for their behavior. Not to mention, they become extremely competitive. It becomes less about Fun Friday and more about “How many gold tags can I earn?” I love to hear kids say, “I broke my own record!” Not only did they do that, but they behaved VERY WELL for me! Win win. I LOVE it.
The centers on my Fun Friday chart have been staples for years. Some I bought and others just happen to be around the classroom. Once you have them, you have them. Mine have been “free” forever.
That’s it in a nutshell.
Yes, I’ve had kids steal gold tags. Yep. The horror.
It’s pretty obvious when it happens because it’s usually a student that is . . . um, how do you say . . . er . . . behaviorally challenged and you can only recall giving him those two on that Tuesday when he actually told the truth to a question that you asked him (even if that question was “Did you really just break all of your crayons in half?”). So said student should only have two gold tags and now he has a whopping 48 or whatever. Well, sad to say, but said student doesn’t get Fun Friday when that happens. They get to write a letter to their parents. Or me. Or both. Or whatever you want that kid to do. Send them to kindergarten to sit at a back table, or fifth grade to copy a page out of a dictionary (That only happened once and the dictionary idea was not mine!! I swear. But, man, did it work.).
I also had a repeat offender one year, (can you say
klepto he thought everything should be shared?) and so I made his gold tags blue. Yep. His were blue. I just made some tags in blue and those were for him. After a few weeks of that, he was ready to try the gold color again and then all was well.
Some of my teammates also have red tags for the bathroom. Each kid gets 2 or 3, and they can use the red tags to go to the restroom during class time. Once they’re out, then they have to use their gold tags. (I don’t use this method because when I was in first grade, I wet my pants ALL THE TIME, and I have let this earlier life trauma influence the way I allow my kids to use the restroom during class time. But that’s another story for another day. Suffice it to say that my kids are almost always in the bathroom, and never in class so I’m usually napping.)
I start the week off by giving my kids two gold tags every Monday. Just for showing up. Because I know it’s hard and they’re lucky I came. And that I’m not wearing my pajamas.
And there you have it. My behavior system. Which isn’t a clip chart.
Now. I doubt you want this system because you’re a die hard clip chart-er. I get it. I understand. Except that I’m a die hard gold tagger.
If you want to get started, this pack is completely editable and you can customize it to meet your classroom needs:
Did you put down the rotten tomato?
P.S. Raise your hand if you think Wil from Big Brother has the same hair style as me. And did he purposefully drop the second “l” in his name? Is this a new thing? Jef. Wil. Clif. Bil. Tod. I don’t get it. I think I’m going to buy a consonant and add an “n” to my name.