Behavior Chart Ideas for Kindergarten

Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

Are you considering using behavior charts as a classroom management tool for your kindergarten students? This lesson will provide you with examples for class behavior management ideas, as well as student-specific charts that are easy to implement.

What is a Behavior Chart and How Can it Help ME?

A behavior chart is a graph or chart that tracks behaviors. Behavior charts encourage students to demonstrate positive behaviors and/or eliminate negative behaviors by tracking their actions throughout a particular time frame. You can use them for the class or for certain students. They can be used to track overall progress or even specific behaviors that you are trying to increase/decrease. Behavior charts are a great behavior management tool because you can design them to meet your exact needs.

Behavior Chart Strategies

The following strategies are ways to manage behavior in the classroom. Each strategy includes the materials you need to create it. Remember you can always modify these strategies to meet the diverse needs of your specific students.

The Clip System

This strategy is designed as a class behavior management tool. To use this, you need a large chart that has been divided into levels and a clothespin labeled by name for each student you are tracking. Use a poster board or piece of card stock for each level, and if possible, use assorted colors. Also, make sure you display the chart in an area where it can be easily seen and accessed throughout the day.

To begin with, or for low-ability students, you might only have two or three levels; you could add levels for high-functioning students as needed. The bottom level would be labeled 'Needs Improvement' or 'Not Ready to Learn'. The middle level would be labeled 'Making Better Choices', 'Ready to Learn', or 'Showing Improvement'. The top level would be labeled 'Star Student' or something similar. Try to use positive language when labeling, and avoid terms like 'warning', 'consequence', etc. Also, you can engage students by having them help to design the chart and pick the rewards.

Then, throughout the day, the students or teacher, depending on behavior and ability, will move the clothespins up or down the chart. The movement of the clip will depend on the student's behavior. If they are demonstrating appropriate behavior, they can move their clothespin up a level. If they are making poor choices or exhibiting problem behaviors, they can move the clip down. The goal is to have your clip on the top level and you will want to reward the students who reach it. Kindergarten students are often motivated by verbal praise about the level they are on and you could also add tangible reward like stickers, etc. Make sure you praise/reward students several times a day.

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