(A little background: two years ago, I wrote a post about why I do not use behaviour charts in my classroom, and it went nearly-viral. To this day, it remains the most popular post on my blog, and it generates the most questions, the most discussion, the most debate, of anything I have ever written.)
Ever since I started the “Ask Miss Night” feature of my blog, a significant majority of the questions I get are about HOW, EXACTLY, teachers can go about getting rid of their behaviour charts or systems. I am so grateful to those of you who have sent in your questions, because you have helped me understand that there are more barriers to “chucking the chart” than I ever realized. I am also SO THRILLED that there seem to be a large number of teachers who are willing to consider getting rid of their charts, and managing their classrooms in a way that better honours children’s dignity.
So. I started off to write one big giant post: The Ultimate Guide to Chucking the Chart. But the more I wrote, the more I realized: this needs to be a SERIES of posts, and the comments from one section may help inform the next sections. I want it to be like an FAQ about chart-free classrooms, and I want to do the best possible job of answering your questions.
SO, please be patient. I promise to get each post up as quickly as possible (and I’m so excited about this that they are coming together pretty darn quickly!). I’ve started working on all of the following questions, which have come from many of you:
- Why should I take down the chart? (This is, in large part, answered in my original post: Too High a Price, but I will flesh out the 3 specific reasons you should re-consider chart-based classroom management.) Update July 15 – This has been posted under part 1 of the series: Chuck The Chart: But Why?
- How do I go about removing my chart from my classroom?
- What do I do INSTEAD of a chart system? (This, also, is largely answered in Behaviour Management: Not Systems but Relationships, but I’ll share a few more tips and tricks, too.)
- My administrator/district requires a publicly posted classroom management plan. How can I persuade them that there are better alternatives?
- Without a chart, how do I keep parents updated on their child’s daily behaviour?
- My report card has a mandatory citizenship/behaviour section. How do I assign a grade without keeping track of how often a child is on red/green/purple/happy face/sad face?
- How do I respond to colleagues who think that charts are the bees knees?
- This is really scary for me. Do I have to go “all out” right away? Can I ease into this chart-free business?
- How does a chart-free classroom work with special populations? (If anyone out there would like to collaborate with me on this section, please let me know, as my experience base with special populations is pretty limited.)
Are there any more sections i should add? Are there other questions I am missing? PLEASE share them in the comments, and talk to one another, too!
In the meantime, in case you missed them the first time around, please re-read (and SHARE!) the posts that started it all, and which remain the most popular pieces I have ever written:
Update, July 17, 2014: The series has started, and you can find the links below:
I’ve also added a page completely dedicated to this series: Chuck the Chart.
I am so excited about this project, and I love the idea of this blog becoming a go-to place for relationship-based classroom management.
Because our kids deserve better than colour-coded clothespins.