Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thank You

As one more school year comes to an end, we either are giving a shout of praise for surviving or feeling sad that a sweet class is moving on. We might be in a place where we don't know what lies ahead of us. We might have been given gifts to our favorite place to eat or shop or our gifts might have been in a child's hug or the memory of a child who got it....a child who reminded us of why we are a teacher.

I believe God put each kiddo in my room for a reason. It might have been a kiddo who needed me as I tried to remember to have a heart of patience or He might have put that child in my room to teach me to have more patience. Our children learn so much because we are a lesson to them.

My greatest gifts have been in the encouraging words from a parent who has told me how much I have helped their child and them. Even when I have not heard those words, I remember Colossians 3:23- "whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

Yes, there are times I complain A LOT! There are times I wonder if it is time to become a Wal-Mart greeter. There are times I feel as if I am a warden baby-sitter just there. Then, I remember that I might be making a difference. I often see the caterpillar emerge from its cocoon as a butterfly. I remember that we are leaving heartprints.

So, take a little time today to know that you ARE making a difference.

As I am thinking about the Conscious Discipline I want to share, I want to know what your thoughts are on clip charts. Do you use a clip chart? If you do, I would LOVE to hear what you like about it. If you don't, I would LOVE to hear what you do instead.

From My Heart to Yours,

41 heart notes:

Barbara said...

Oh, Heather, this is beautiful! Thanks for sharing. You are SUCH an inspiration to me and our blogosphere!! I'm reading TWO Conscious Discipline books this summer; cannot wait to dig into Managing Emotional Mayhem!

EnJOY the meet-up today; I'm sending smiles from Friendswood.

The Corner On Character

Kristin DeYoung said...

This is awesome, what an amazing blessing you are to those kiddos!!

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for the scripture reminder! I really needed that. I loved my class of first graders this year and was so sad to see the school year end.

I used a behavior clip chart for the first time this year. I liked it, but didn't have any kiddos that really needed much "reminding" about behavior. I am very interested in reading Conscious Discipline. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

Morning Sun First Grade

Alyce said...

What a wonderful reminder to me today. Thank you. I can't wait to hear what everyone says about the clip chart.

Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

Camille said...

You are an inspiration to all of us! I always appreciate how real you are and yet how positive. Yes, there are moments when we want to pull our hair out, but we love our kiddos so much and would not want any other career.
Love o you,
An Open Door

Mrs. Egley said...

the video brought tears to my eyes. I had a very difficult class this year and I cried when I took them to meet their first grade teacher for next year. I am going to create a clip chart and use it this coming year so I am very anxious to hear what others have to say about it. Have a great summer


Kim and Kelly said...

Thank you so much for following our blog. We are your newest followers as well! I love your blog and am looking forward to reading more! Happy Summer to you!

jodi said...

WOW!!! Truly inspiring!! I will be saving this post to share with my grade level. Thank you soooooo much for sharing this!! You are an amazing woman!!

Busy Bees said...

I love Ray Boltz's Thank You song. It has been one of my favorites for ages. I think of that song lots when I am need a pick up from feeling "tired" from teaching at school and being a Sunday School teacher. Thanks for the inspirations~

Jennifer K. said...

Beautiful post again Heather!

I do use one of the 7 step behavior clip charts. I started this year and the reason it drew me was because 1) it acknowledges all that good behavior that the card systems usually ignores and 2) it allows children to "redeem" themselves or clip back up after going down. One mistake early in the day doesn't ruin the whole day.

Imagine if you're a child and you're cranky and tired because the heat got turned off so you couldn't sleep, then mama was screaming at you because you were dawdling, and then you get to school and because you are cranky and have so much going on you lash out in some way and have to change your color.

Well with the card system, it usually goes downhill from there. Precious child realizes that there's no use in changing their attitude because it won't change anything and by the end of the day that child is either on red or in the office because, heck if they're going to get in trouble anyways, they might as well make it worthwhile!

With the clip chart system, it is possible for that child to clip down, change their attitude and make it to the Top of the Chart! I cannot tell you the pride I have seen children feel this year because they got to the top of the chart or even better, "Off the Chart!"

Usually I could just say, "I love how Robbie is standing so quietly in line, go ahead and clip up when we get back to class please." and next thing I knew everyone was doing the right thing, hoping to be recognized. Sometimes I would just wander close to the chart when they were working at their seat and suddenly everyone was much more focused, knowing that I might clip up.

I found that, on the whole, I was much more focused on positive behaviors than on negative, which made our classroom environment so much more positive.

I could probably write a book lol but I think you get the idea :) Sorry it was so long!

Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

Jill said...

I used the clip chart this year and my class LOVED IT. I had a few challenging students who came into the year with negative attitudes about themselves - which was sad, as I have first and second graders! They'd already been trained to think that they were "bad kids."

I really tried hard to focus on finding the positive things that these particular children were doing, and it felt good for me to see the smiles on their faces as they stopped telling me how they can never do anything right and how they're always in trouble.

So I really liked it a lot and I look forward to using the clip chart next year! :)

Marvelous Multiagers!

Jenna said...

I love the clip charts and hope to use them in my future classroom
Come by and visit!

Just diving In

Steph said...

Hey Heather,

Thank you for posting such beautiful words. It's a thought we all need to remember.

I use a clip chart in my room and LOVE it. It's seriously so easy to put into the classroom and so practical. I find it most effective when the class is getting just a little too chatty. I'll find one student who's doing the right thing and tell them to move their clip up--after that the good behavior spreads like WILDFIRE :) They all want to clip up!! I really love having it in my class.


The Quirky Apple

Debbie said...

Thank you for this wonderful reminder of what we do and who we are actually doing it for....I am waiting to go into a classroom...hopefully this fall....but I plan on using a clip chart!

Stacyfud said...

I always look forward to your blog, but this one was really special. Thank you for sharing.

Angela said...

I use Class Dojo, kind of an electronic version of a clip chart. I love it because kids can earn back points. The kids really respond to it and I can run reports so I know exactly which behaviors are a problem. I want to start Conscious Discipline and I'm not sure Class Dojo will mesh with it's philosophy.

Sarah said...

Oh the clip chart discussion! This is one of the subjects I struggle with most as I think about setting up my classroom. I really like that most clip charts allow for students to move up and focus on the positive choices. It gives students a chance to improve their behavior and make a better choice. It also seems like a lot of teachers love this system and it works for their classrooms! However, I have a few problems with clip charts. I think the biggest problem I have with them is that everyone can see it. All of the kids can see who is being “good” and who is being “bad.” I think this sort of feeds off of humiliation and can give children that attention they crave (even if they make bad choices.) I remember accidently doing something wrong in elementary school and my apple fell off the tree and I was just devastated and humiliated because everyone knew. I also think it’s hard to manage because children are going to be constantly moving up and down and up and down throughout the day. I haven’t been able to think of a better alternative though. I can’t wait to read everyone’s thoughts and ideas!

Yeehaw! Teaching in Texas

LindaC said...

I really love your blog, Heather. There is always some uplifting in your posts. Regarding the clip chart discussion, I agree with Sarah above about everyone knowing about the bad choice. In my district, though, we have to use this. What I plan to do is this: keep this chart in an inconspicuous place and try my best to counsel with the student asap about the choice. With some kiddoes, the sight of the clip moving just sets them off. If you have to use this system, the student should move his/her own clip(you made the choice, you move your clip).


Unknown said...

Hi Heather! In response to your question about the clip chart...

I used one in my classroom this year. And to be honest, I did a much better job of keeping up with it at the beginning of the year than towards the end. That's one of the reasons why I'm contemplating maybe doing something different next year...I shouldn't have to 'keep up' with my behavior management plan.

However, it was nice because at the end of the day, my kids would color in their charts and it was a helpful way to have a record of overall behavior and keep in contact with parents.

I also agree with how it is a bummer that everyone can see what kind of behavior a child is having that day (or that moment). But then also, what appealed to me was that this system has so much 'upward movement' in contrast to the other color card system.

As a class we talked about good and not good choices, that they had positive and negative consequences and one of the consequences in our classroom was clip moves (up or down). We also discussed how they were the only ones that could make their choice, no one else could make it for them, even me! Eventually, it's truly up to them as an individual.

Okay, so that was a whole bunch, but those are my thoughts on having a clip chart!

~Heidi V.

PS Thanks for reminding us about that Bible verse. There's a song that's played on the radio that is inspired by this song that really gets me pumped for school when I hear it on the way to work. :)

Sarah said...

Linda: I love that you mentioned talking to the student ASAP about the choice. I think that is the most important part in any discipline plan. One of my professors told a story about a boy stealing from another child. The teacher involved took the time to really talk to te kid and see what was going o rather than just punishing him. Turns out the boys mom had been in the hospital and really sick and the boy was just trying to do something bad enough to go home and be with his mom. it really reminds me to look at the cause of motivation of every behavior. Sometimes I wsh my district had a set plan. It probably really helps the kids as they adjust from grade tn grade using the same system.

Heidi: That's so nice that the kids color the chart themselves! I'm sure that really saves a lot of time and helps with the end of the day craziness!

Susan Case said...

Heather - I'm wondering if your email notification works? Also, being senile, I'm wondering if you are the one I sent my book: "Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents." We discussued doing a review and giveaway? Thank you so much for the beautiful video on your post. I hope you have a wonderful relaxing summer! Here is my email address:

Jamie said...

Such a beautiful post!! It takes posts like these to remind me that God has placed every child in my life for a reason, and He has definitely taught me to have more patience with many of them.

I use a 6-step behavior chart (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red). Students start in the middle on green and move up and down depending on their behavior. I really like this because it allows me to reward students that are going above and beyond and also just following the rules. My students love it!

Tawnya said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog Heather! I love your blog too. You seem to really have a heart for teaching.
I used a clip chart this year and really prefer it over a card system. I like that I can teach the kids to make better choices and move back up. It allows me to be more positive and reward those that are just great students everyday. In the past I would find those kids got forgotten some cause I was focusing on the negative behaviors so much. As for the comments on all the kids seeing the other kids' clip moves...I didn't see a problem with that at all in my class. Also any system you use is going to be seen by the whole class...(cards, sticks, red light, moving a name, etc.) I try not to make a big deal out of moving down, just do the consequence and then work to move back up. If I do here talking about the kids who have moved down, I say things like I know ____ will work very hard to move back up. I like teaching them that it is only a mistake if you don't learn from it.

Allie said...

Hi Heather! Thanks for sharing this. I love your blog! That's why I'm giving you the One Lovely Blog Award! Stop my blog to see what it's all about!
The Gypsy Teacher

M said...

Heather- I am so happy that we found each others blogs. I've been reading your blog and am excited to see someone so passionate about teaching and their students.

I am excited to follow your blog and to meet another Texas teacher.


Kate said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you especially for the inspiring post! I love Colossians 3:23. My goal for next year is to take a minute or two at the end of each day and sit in a student's desk and say a prayer for them. :)

I have used the clip chart concept for two years and have had great success with it! I will write a post about it soon, but feel free to hit me up if you have any questions along the way!

EduKate and Inspire

Erica said...

HI again, Heather! I just loved meeting you on Saturday. Thanks for driving so far. It was a true pleasure to meet you. I adore your blog and the wisdom and creativity you share. Enjoy your summer!


Sprinkles to Kindergarten

Blair said...


I LOVE your blog! I'm so glad you found mine (my old one - my new one is so that I could follow you!

I love seeing what other Texas teachers are doing! I just finished my first year of teaching (whew!) so I'm hoping to have more time this year to blog, create, and do more fun/cute activities with my kiddos.

Thanks for sharing your brilliance!

Blair said...

OH! And I do use a clip chart! I read about them and saw them all over Pinterest, so I decided to try it. Anything to help with the first year of teaching, right?

I did the whole starting on green thing, then moving the clip up to blue, purple, then pink for good choices. Orrrrr moving down to yellow, orange, and red for bad choices. If they were on purple or pink at the end of the day, they received a "Temple Ticket" to use as "money" for our treasure box.

I liked how easy it was to recognize good (or bad) behavior. All I had to say was "I LOVE the way _____ is sitting quietly! Please go move your clip up." I did not have to go get any stickers, write any notes, or do anything, THEY got up and moved their own clip. And they are SO proud!

It also helps for those who make bad decisions. THEY have to move their clip down, not me. Since I did not make that decision, they are responsible for their behavior. They were responsible for giving their own consequences. If they got to red ("contact home"), I would sign their folder and/or call their parents depending on how bad the offense was.

Now, I will say that doing the Temple Tickets at the end of each day got really tiring. As well as having them pay for treasure box rewards... I got way behind on doing treasure box... it was going to be a Friday thing, but we got SO busy!

Anyway, there's my two cents!

Tammy Benedict said...

I remind myself every year before I read my class list exactly what you said, God has placed each of them in my class for a reason. And love that passage, thanks for reminding me!!

Mrs. B said...

I love Dr. Becky Bailey and her Conscious Discipline ideas! I have used a clip chart before. It can be a great classroom management tool, but I prefer using the filling buckets concept instead. Thanks for visiting me! I will definately be back again! hugs, Gwen

ThinkWonder Teach said...

Guess what? Guess what? Guess what?? Whining works!! Well sometimes cuz right after I whined the doorbell rang and GUESS WHAT!!!?? IT's HEEEERE!!!

Can ya tell I am excited?

Think, Wonder, & Teach

Christy said...

I absolutely love this post. You are an amazing blogger and can't wait to see how we connect through this new adventure of mine! Please visit often! :)

Crayons and Curls said...

Love this Heather! You inspire me to be a better teacher! I had a very challenging class this year and my clip chart did not work and I am so willing to try something new next year! Would love to hear your ideas! :)
PS I am coming to Lake Toledo Bend the week of July 2nd! :)
Crayons and Curls

Trish said...

Dearest Heather,
I just got my Conscious Discipline books yesterday. I just could not put it down! I am going to reccommend it to my principal. We are attempting to eliminate bullying and create a safe and caring school. We already have a motto that says "Small School-Big heart". There are so many amazing things I am learning so much from this book and from reading your blogposts about the book! I am a FAN!! I have had some amazing AHA! moments! I am looking forward to seeing more posts about Conscious discipline and your personal ideas and struggles with it. Thank you for sharing your learning! I already have plans to implement this way of living in the classroom this coming fall.

Samantha said...

Thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us what a tremendous responsibility and privilege it is to be a teacher. My mom is a teacher and I'm in school to become one as well...this post was such an encouragement!

scrapbooker210 said...

Wow! How strange! I just listened to this song today on Itunes and always it makes me smile and cry. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts that were going through my head today!

Rene Machjewski said...

I have always used a clip chart but never one that had spaces above the Great Day space. Everyone all started on green and that was the highest and best they could do. Poor choices resulted in moving down the chart and consequences went with each move. But, they were always able to earn the chance to move up to green. Clothespins moved all the time according to their choices in behavior. I am going to consider the spaces above green too.

A Passion For Primary

Dede said...

I used a clip chart and I love it. I had the 7 steps, and my kids really liked that they could move back up after they made a poor decision. My kids and I made a chart with things that they could do that would move them up/down. That helped so much! If a kid was having a bad day, it was a nice reminder of what they could do to do their best. When someone got to "top notch," they got a cheer from the class, and got to work at my desk or at the beanbag. It was a good motivator. My difficult kids would get a good note home after getting to top notch, and this helped with on-task behavior for days after.

On the last day, one of my (most difficult) kids asked to take it home so it can remind her that she can be good! It's nice to see that she changed her opinion of herself.