Friday, July 31, 2015

Positives Only Clip Chart

Positives Only Clip Chart - Blog Cover Image

Last summer, I read a great blog post about why you should NOT use a clip chart in your classroom. You can find this blog post HERE.

Now, being a music teacher that DOES use a clip chart this really made me think. I thought about why I used it and if it was truly getting the results I wanted. I realized that the main reason for having my personal clip chart was to track GOOD behavior and reward it after a set amount of time. So, I decided to change my clip chart to a positives only clip chart. What does this look like? Well, it looks something like this:
Chart Picture 1
Chart Picture 2
Chart Picture 3

Notice how each step is just building on each idea. The idea for my first positives only clip chart was for a baking theme I used in my classroom last school year. Each step is another piece of making cupcakes.

How it works:
  1. First, each class has a clip at the bottom of the chart. Each one of these clips is actually a little magnet for a refrigerator, but they were so bright and colorful I just had to use them for this. (I numbered the classes instead of putting the teacher name on them, so that I can re-use them.)
  2. Clips - Incentive Program
  3. At the end of each class time we determine if, as a class, we were on track, mostly on track, or not on track. Classes that were on track or mostly on track get to clip their clip up one clip. (I never allow two clips in one class time.) Classes that were not on track quickly discuss what we need to fix to stay on track next time and their clip stays where it is. This allows me to reward the classes that stayed on track, but still remind classes that didn't stay on track of the expectations in class.
  4. When a class gets to the top of the chart they get to take their class cupcake and move it to the "Batch #" they have now achieved.
  5. Cupcake Magnets - Incentive Program Cookie Sheets - Incentive Program
  6. When they reach this status their clip goes back to the bottom of the chart, and their class receives a reward of some kind.

So, what are your thoughts on clip charts? Good? Bad? Would you think of using a positives only clip chart? Why or why not? I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. I like this idea. Our art teacher had a similar system, as did our PE teacher. It worked well for them.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jennifer. Glad you like the idea. :-)

  2. Hi - Clever idea! I am a little confused about the batch # part. So when someone reaches the top, they earn their first batch of ¨cupcakes¨ and move their class cupcake to Batch 1? And after they complete it again, to batch 2? Does anyone get more than 6? What kind of prizes do you do when they reach a batch? Thanks!

    1. Yep, you got it about the batch #. It's mostly just keeping track of classroom success and how many times they made it to the top of the chart. I only see my classes once a week at that school, so honestly none of them even got past the 4th batch. I would guess classes you see twice a week would get to all 6 if not exceed 6. I knew that wouldn't happen there.

      For rewards I do some of the following:
      - Music games (any game we played in class before)
      - Music dances (any dance we learned in class)
      - Freeze dance (for some of my younger classes)
      - Music videos (for some of my older classes - they specifically LOVE Pentatonix, Piano Guys, and Lindsay Stirling videos, so it normally includes one of them)
      - Free choice (they get to vote on an activity they like to do in music)

      I also normally only reward the class for 15 of the 45 minutes (since I do only see my classes once a week). When they got to the higher batches sometimes I'd make it a little longer of a reward time.

      Thanks so much for commenting and reading my blog! :-)