Ditch the Clip?

Oh boy, talk about a conversation. Teachers everywhere are arguing about whether to "Ditch the Clip" or make children face consequences for their actions. Why is it either/or? What am I referring to? Well, Joe Dombrowski (who is awesome by the way) posted this on Twitter the other day, then posted it to Instagram.

It was pretty interesting to read the back lash that he was getting from posting this and the thing is, this isn't a new topic. He was only posting what he thought about an already old topic.

Now, do I feel that people who use Clip Charts are evil? No. I don't even think they are terrible, rotten, and beat down a child's self-esteem (neither does Joe) but I do think we need to pause and think about the real message here.

Were Clip Charts used when you were a child? They were in my classrooms. Was a scarred for life? No...but I do remember the times I had to move my clip and I was humiliated. The other problem was...I never had a chance to explain. I know what you are thinking...."Well, if you were talking, you shouldn't get a chance to explain." The problem is, sometimes I deserved to get into trouble...other times I was only saying yes to the simple question, "Can I borrow that?"

Fast forward a few (many) years and I am a teacher. I found myself doing the exact same thing. Zapping children for talking and not letting them explain.

Maybe talking isn't your issue, maybe you move clips for bigger violations. I get that. Again, I don't think you have a rotten classroom management system. In fact, some schools require Clip Charts. *face palm* anyway...another topic for another day.

What is the alternative if we do not use Clip Charts?

Well, that answer is simple in my classroom. Behavior Logs. Is this a new and brilliant concept that will no doubt go viral and I will become famous for inventing it? Ummm...no. It is a folder with 3 brads and a behavior log in it. Fancy Smancy Huh? See, I do all the things Clip Chart people do. I just do it in a personal log for the child. Every child has their own log and they keep it on top of their cubbies every day (or in their desk if the cubby thing is not an option.) The students know that during the day and at the end of the day, I will be writing a quick note (or stamping if they had a great day) to their parents. Any violations are in those logs and they are great for parent conferences. In fact, you probably do that in addition to a Clip Chart...if you do, what is the purpose of that chart? I did one for three years the realized I was pulling double duty. Just log the behaviors in the log and be done with it.

We are all in this to teach children how to be functioning (and brilliant) members of society. Moving a Clip for bad behavior doesn't really do that (in my opinion.) Are their consequences? Absolutely. I have children of my own and I expect their teachers to provide consequences. Do I publicly humiliate them? No. I love my students (and so do you)...our job is to help them correct the behaviors, notify the parents, and teach the students consequences. I do all of that without a Clip Chart.

In my life...I enjoy learning life's lessons much better without public humiliation. Don't you?


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