Taking the BOTTOM OFF the Clip Chart!

So who's like me and has a bazillion things to remember, do, write down, grade, do at home, etc.??  I just can't seem to remember everything anymore!  Well, one thing I have always had difficulty with in my classroom is keeping up with my classroom clip chart. I've tried everything! I mean everything! I've made a nice table to record the spot each student was on at the end of the day. Well, things get busy, I forget, and then the kids come in.  Then, I'm having to tell them to wait to move the clips back so I can record them.  I know it probably sounds like it's not that bad, but doing that repeatedly gets really annoying! hah So, I've gone away from the clip chart to do Class Dojo, and I can't keep track of that because I don't always want my iPad, iPhone, or computer near by.  It's a great tool too, just not for me.  The one common occurrence is that I ALWAYS return to the clip chart!!!  My kids LOVE the clip chart so I thought why not change it up a bit to work better for me!


First of all, my glorious clip chart is from For His Glory on TPT!! I LOVE that the kids are learning idioms when they don't even know it!!!

Today, I sat and had a little chat with my students. I love including them in decisions in the classroom. It gives them more ownership over procedures, activities, etc. in our class. I've read several articles this past year talking about how the clip chart system is humiliating to kids with it being so public. Even with just their numbers, kids know who the clips belong to. Now, I'm not saying I agree with everything, but when they put it like this, it made me stop and rethink.

"How would you feel if you were in a staff meeting, and you were sharing this awesome idea you came up with last night while the leader was talking. The leader told you that you needed to come up and clip down for talking. How would that make you feel to walk in front of everyone and clip down?" 

Now, I know the above is a little far fetched, but it made me just stop and think, what is my goal for using the clip chart. I'm not saying that you don't address kids making not so good choices at all because I definitely do. However, I'm trying to be more proactive than reactive. So, as my students and I were talking, I asked them if they ever feel embarrassed when they have to clip down. Some of them did shake their heads yes. Not all of them, but the ones who did, were the ones I thought would feel that way. The kids that are the ones who always do the right thing.  Now, you might say, well those kids never clip down. Yeah, normally they don't, but I don't want them soooooo scared to make a mistake or fail for a second because they are going to be embarrassed. Learning how to deal with embarrassment is a part of life, I know, but I don't want them already feeling like this now, at age 8 and 9. I want them to make mistakes so they can learn and know that making mistakes is a part of life and how they grow.

Ok, now, I'll step off my soap box for a second and get back to the point! :) So, as a result of our talk, we decided to take the bottom half off the clip chart. I was going to do this regardless, but I wanted to make sure to have their buy in first. Teachers are sneaky, aren't we?!? hah They all agreed and were excited. We said goodbye to the bottom and got started.


Here's a little view of how we do this now...

1. GREEN: Everyone starts on green (All Ears).

2. SPARKLERS: I use sparklers (pom poms) to pass out to students when they are making good choices. I got this awesome idea to use these from Mel D at Seusstastic's fuzzy system and changed it up a bit for our room. Each sparkler is worth a different amount. They mimic the sizes of pennies, nickels, and dimes. So my tiniest sparkler that's very glittery is worth 10 like a dime. My medium sized sparkler that is also glittery is worth 5 like a nickel, and the medium sparkler with no glitter is worth 1 like a penny. This HELPS SO MUCH!!! I know it sounds funny, but it's so much easier for me just to toss sparklers to students from my apron rather than saying clip up. When they get a sparkler (which I separate them into pockets according to sizes), they know they have to wait till we switch groups to go clip up. This way there is NO interruption with this. I honestly don't have many problems in the room with the sparkler system. I use Seusstastic's Reward Coupons for PAY DAY (every time I get paid, they do too)! They add up all of their sparklers according to their worth which works on money counting. Then, they can SHOP the reward coupons which are different values themselves.
3. FALLING OFF THE CHART: If a student CLIPS DOWN and FALLS OFF of the clip chart, I put their clip in my apron pocket. Now, they are not in the spotlight for making a mistake, BUT I know exactly which kids need a little guidance getting back on track! Before, I had a hard time remembering to check who was in the bottom half of the clip chart. I'd forget why they had to clip down in the first place, and then, they were given no help to improve their situations. One of my teacher/blogger friends shared a great point with me...IF YOU DON'T REMEMBER WHY THEY CLIPPED DOWN, THEN, IT PROBABLY WASN'T WORTH CLIPPING DOWN FOR. AHA!!! Wow! SOOOOO TRUE!!! Now, I'm very aware of what I make them clip down for. When they repeatedly do something wrong like talking, I definitely give warnings first, but I'll have them clip down if it continues. At that point, though, I would remember. However, what a great point!!! Not having the bottom half on also helps remind me of this as well!! It's much more to have to give their clip to me.

4. END OF THE DAY: If at the end of the day, I still have their clips in my pocket, I will make a phone call home. I need to be communicating with parents more so this will help me remember who I need to call AND to call! :) Today, I called back the one student who's clip was still with me, and we had a quick discussion of how his day went and steps he can make for tomorrow. The other kids were getting ready to go home so they didn't even notice him.

5. KIDS ON THE CHART: The students who stayed on the chart for the day will get a red raffle ticket for our monthly Book Raffle that you can read more about HERE!! They LOVE the Book Raffle so it's a huge deal for them. With this AMAZING clip chart, when a student reaches the top "Walking on Sunshine," we stop and SING TO THE STUDENT!!!

"Johnny's walking on sunshine, woah woah, and he's bound to feel good!!"

The kids LOVE it!!! If they clip up once more and get OFF THE CHARTS, I WEAR their clip somewhere on my clothes PLUS they receive 5 Book Raffle Tickets!! 

I know that was a very LENGTHY description of my system, but I finally feel like I can keep up with this while also promoting positive behavior and guiding those kiddos that just need a little more love that day! I hope you found this helpful!!! 

I would LOVE to hear if and how you use the clip chart system in your classroom!!! 


  1. Hello!! I am looking for something similar to your system to use in my classroom this year! I have a question...do your students move their clip up every time you give them a sparkler? Or does it have to be a certain kind? How do you justify a students moving their clip up? Thanks!

  2. So do you send any kind of daily or weekly behavior chart home?


I always LOVE to hear from other teachers and bloggers so thank you so much for taking the time to comment!! It's so exciting to meet new people who share in your passion!