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Growth Mindset

Why My Classroom Behavior Chart Only Goes Up

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher (who shall remain nameless, but I still totally remember her name) had a happy face board and a sad face board. 

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was always on the happy face board. Like ALWAYS. Until one day, when my bright, little kindergarten heart was crushed.  A little boy named Kevin (last name not listed, even though I ALSO remember it) was sitting next to me during circle time. 

He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. Naturally, I screamed, thinking WHY IS THIS BOY KISSING ME?! My teacher jerked her head in my direction and yelled at me to put my name on the SAD. FACE. BOARD. WHAT?!?! 


It is something that I obviously have not forgotten. In fact, Mr. Kevin tried adding me on Facebook a few years back and I DENIED his request. No thank you, mister! 

Anyways, this experience made me really think about my own classroom behavior management system, and I decided to implement something that some might be fearful of…a behavior system where you can’t move down, you don’t get points taken away, and you’re not singled out in front of the class. 

Yup. A behavior system where you can only move UP!

I know you may be skeptical, but it totally does work. 

My behavior chart is simple. It consists of three colors:

Green: Ready to Learn
Blue: This Day Just Gets Better
Purple: Awesome Day!

All students start on Green and are “ready to learn.” As the day progresses, students can move up to the other colors. If students do really, really well, they can “fly off the chart.” All this means is that their clip isn’t on the chart and gets clipped to me!

Any consequences that need to be dealt with, are dealt with privately. Students aren’t singled out in front of other students.

When I told parents about this behavior system at Back to School Night, they were thrilled. Even more ecstatic were the students. One parent emailed me after the first day of school and said their child was so happy they could only move up, because they had been fearful in the past of moving down.

In the end, we should always ask ourselves how we can change students’ behavior, rather than just punishing them. If we teach them in everything else, why can’t we teach them how to behave in a positive way?
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