If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may have seen this post that I wrote last year about my clip chart. I have used a clip chart ever since I started teaching as a classroom management strategy, tweaking and changing it along the way. Please don't throw tomatoes...if you read my earlier post, you will see how and why I think that clip charts can be a useful tool, despite the bad rap they have been getting lately. But, because I am me and always have to switch things up, I have decided to do my clip chart a little bit differently again this year!
A few weeks ago, I read an AMAZING blog post that showed up on my Facebook page. It is called Why I'll Never Get Rid of My Clip Chart and is written by Sarah Plum(itallo). You can read her original blog post HERE. I have reached out to her and she is in full support of me adapting her original brag tag clip chart idea, and sharing it with you here, in French :)
Before reading that post, I had already decided to add "Brag Tags" to my classroom management strategy this year. You have probably seen them on Pinterest - they are dog tag-sized tags that students can earn through positive behaviour choices and put on a necklace chain or binder ring. Kids try and earn as many as they can throughout the year. I couldn't find any in French at all, so I decided to create my own over the summer.
I see a MASSIVE value in teaching children character education. I read a great book this summer called "How Children Succeed" by Paul Tough, which confirmed how I already felt about what we should be teaching children if we want them to grow up and become contributing members of society. Did you know that characteristics like grit, determination, and resilience can predict later success even better than IQ?? I am sure that you can think of many examples of children who have "beaten the odds" and become successful adults despite seeming to have all of the cards stacked against them - these children have learned certain character traits that led them to this success. According to Paul Tough, these characteristics can and should be TAUGHT to young children - resilient kids are not necessarily just "born with it". It is important for children to learn that if they persevere, they can do hard things.
You may have noticed my growing bundle of Brag Tags that I recently added to my TPT store. I call them "Médailles merveilleuses".
I plan to use them to both teach and reward my students for showing strength of character, good citizenship, great choices, etc. I have ordered ball chain necklaces from Amazon, and planned out my bulletin board display. However, I didn't totally want to get rid of my clip chart - I love my lunch dates with my kiddos who clip up 25 times in a year and the way their little chests puff with pride when a guest comes into our room and sees who has clipped up.
(You can check out my previous post about my thoughts on clipping down, but if you are pressed for time, I feel I need to put a little disclaimer here - I do not have a red zone, clipping down is very temporary, and it is extremely rare that a child would clip down anyways. I have a different, private system for kids who would clip down more often than once or twice a year.)
Enter Sarah's blog post - a perfect solution for me! My brag tags are already divided into categories (citoyenneté/amitié, traits caractéristiques, responsabilités, bravo!, succès académique), so I have made a clip chart that has five different categories, plus a "landing zone" for kids not on the chart yet. There are no "good colours" and "bad colours". Getting your clip onto the chart is automatically a great thing, and all categories are of equal value. I will be sure to discuss each category with my students, and provide them with lots of examples of behaviours that could help them clip onto the chart in each of the five categories. In the beginning of the year, before we have discussed being good friends, developing important personality traits, and being responsible, most children will probably only receive tags from the "bravo!" set or the academic set, but that is totally fine. As the year progresses and we learn more and more, they will learn how to clip onto the other categories. Rome wasn't built in a day, and they are just kinders after all! It is really important to me to take the time to explicitly teach the behaviours and characteristics that I want my students to show, in the same way that I would take time to teach them an academic skill or concept. I know that my students are fully capable of learning how to be great classroom citizens, and I truly believe in the importance of taking the time to teach them these important, life-long skills.
I will continue to use my washi-taped clothespins on my chart, and every 5 times a student clips on, they will get a new coloured clip. They will get the legendary "silver clip" after 20 times, and after 25 times on the chart, students will earn lunch with me from the cafeteria, just as they did with my previous clip chart. I really enjoy my lunch dates and am not willing to give them up! ;)
As a landing zone, I added a space on the chart called "Prêt(e) à apprendre". This is where I will keep everyone's clips until they earn a brag tag. Once a student earns a brag tag, they will move their clip to the corresponding category. For example, if they win a tag for working well with a partner, they will move their clip to "Je suis un(e) bon(ne) citoyen(ne)!". At the end of each day, I will move everyone back down to "Prêt(e) à apprendre". It is my expectation that this is our "default" state as we arrive at school each day. Another thing to note - I believe that an unwelcome behaviour doesn't erase or cancel out something great someone did earlier that day. So, if a child got on the chart for being a great partner, but later didn't complete their work, the fact that they didn't complete their work doesn't erase that they were a good citizen earlier that day. I do not plan to remove a child's clip from the chart until the end of each day, when I put everyone back on the landing zone, even if they didn't make great choices ALL day long. We are here to learn and work on our stamina together! Some children will require different behaviour systems than their peers to keep them on track, and that is something that you should work out with them, their parents, and the resource/guidance teacher - you should NOT use a clip chart to publicly shame anybody.
As I am not willing to let my students wear their brag tag necklaces every day (I have spent WAY too much time laminating to have them get lost or destroyed!!), I am hoping that this clip chart provides a great way to celebrate everyone's achievements in earning brag tags all week long. I plan to let my students wear their necklaces every Friday while they are in the classroom, but this chart will be a great way for guests and students to see who is working hard on developing their positive personality traits and citizenship each day.
My brag tag bundle isn't complete yet - it is growing. I hope to have all 5 sets in before school starts, and then add some fun seasonal tags throughout the year. If you teach in a French classroom and are looking for French brag tags, now is definitely the time to purchase - the price will only increase as more sets are added. If you want to take the plunge and change up your clip chart to correspond with my brag tags, there is a FREE version of my chart in my FREE French Resource Library.
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If you use this chart and/or my brag tags in your classroom, I would love to see!!! Tag me on Instagram (@mme.andrea) in any pictures you take that use my resources.