Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Best Ever Behavior Chart

When I first began teaching over ten years ago, I tried just about every trick in the book when it comes to behavior management.  The first year I tried giving stickers on a sticker chart every day.  The second year, I tried the old fashioned name on the board and a check mark.  The third year I started a card pulling system, which actually worked pretty well, but the cards got ripped by the end of the year, so I'd always have to replace them.  Everything I tried was okay for a week or two, but I found most of them very hard to maintain.  If I can't be consistent with something as important as behavior, then it's just not worth it. 

I finally discovered this very simple and effective system for behavior management using a simple, laminated chart and clothespins!  This little gem was a tip from an old assistant principal of mine who once used this in her own classroom.  Here is what mine looks like:
The way it works is very simple.  Every student begins the day on green.  Green equals GOOD behavior, and being on task.  (I usually put all the boys pins on the left and girls on the right, to make it easier for them to find their names).  If a student needs redirecting, I usually give a verbal warning first... but if they continue the negative behavior, they will be asked to "move their pin" to the next color down.  Yellow equals a warning.  This is usually enough to get the students to think about their behavior and make a better choice.  However, there are those few who do not always follow the rules, and in those cases they would be asked to move their pin to RED.  In my classroom, RED equals a loss of recess.  If the negative behavior continues or gets worse, or if they do something very inappropriate (i.e. the "severity clause") then they may need to move their pin down to orange, (which hardly ever happens). 

I've been using this in my second grade classroom for the past four years, and I can't tell you how effective it is!  I have had the best classroom behavior, and I think a large part of it is due to this very simple behavior chart!  I also have the students color their behavior on a calendar they keep in the back of their homework folder each day.  It's part of our daily routine as we pack up to leave each day.  If a student had to "move their pin" to yellow, red, or orange, I will sign their calendar (in ink) and state the reason why. 

Last year, I decided to add a little incentive to those exceptional students who always go above and beyond.  I added PURPLE to the top of the behavior chart, which is for "Super Star Behavior" or doing an exceptional job on homework, classwork, tests, etc.  This has been a huge motivator for my students, and they all get so excited when they get to "move up to purple".  An example would be, "Wow, Julian!  I can tell you really took your time to write your spelling sentences neatly and they are so descriptive!  Great job following directions. Go move up to purple!" 

At the end of each day, I take less than a minute to recognize those special students who moved up to purple by giving them a "Super Star Behavior" ticket.  They can write their name on these and keep them in their desks for a weekly prize drawing.  It's lots of fun, and very easy to implement in the classroom!


  1. Hi Samantha...I just found your blog via the Spark Students Motivation Linky. I'm your newest follower! I look forward to all your ideas as well as getting to know you :) I love your blog name!!

    Stephanie Ann
    Sparkling in Third Grade

  2. Thanks so much, Stephanie! I really appreciate you stopping by! I will have to stop by your blog as well. Love all the great ideas I'm seeing in these Linky Parties! So fun!

    :) Samantha

  3. Thanks for sharing Samantha! I like that you have the "overachiever" section for behavior! It gives everyone something to work for! Thanks for coming to my party!!!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

    1. Thanks so much, Joanne! I'm loving all the great ideas for motivating students, and I can't wait to get those place card holders for my class! Such a great idea. Thanks for hosting! I'll be back!

      :) Samantha