Learn how two little behavior note templates can be a complete classroom management game-changer.
Glow and Grow Behavior Notes are a simple and highly effective behavior management strategy for kindergarten and beyond. Parents will love getting positive behavior notes sent home, students will love earning them, and teachers will love how easy they are to use and implement in the classroom. These notes are an excellent alternative to the traditional color clip chart. Read on to hear how glow and grow behavior notes to send home came to be and how you can use them successfully in your classroom.
Did you ditch your clip chart because everyone told you how terrible it is? (That's a debate for another blog post!) . You tore the chart off the wall, but now what can you do? If you are anything like me, you don't have time to keep up with a complicated behavior system with tickets and cashing in for prizes or little behavior tags to pass out when you catch your students being good. Maybe your school has a school-wide PBIS system that you are required to use but it's not enough motivation in your classroom. Who has time for another complicated classroom management strategy? I needed a simple, quick, and effective way to positively communicate and document classroom behaviors. Thus, Glow and Grow Behavior Notes to send home were born.
An Alternative to the Color Clip Chart
When I first threw out my clip chart, I found myself writing long notes and emails or worse yet, making phone calls daily to address parents' questions about classroom behaviors. There were also parents that I truly needed to address certain behaviors that didn't warrant a phone call or conference but needed to be addressed none the less. Dealing with negative behaviors began to consume my planning time and I often forgot or ran out of time to recognize kids for their positive behaviors. It just wasn't working. I had to find something that was less time-consuming and still motivating for students. Sound familiar?
On a whim, I developed 2 behavior checklists. One for positive behaviors and one for negative behaviors. On each list, I added a place for notes and a place for parents to sign and return to school. I copied the checklists on brightly colored paper, like this Astrobrights paper on Amazon (affiliate link). Then, I kept a stack of each on my desk. At the end of each day, I sent at least one positive note home with a student and I sent home “needs improvement” notes as needed. All I had to do was check a box or two to note the behaviors I saw that day. That's it. Simply write a student's name at the top and a checkmark or 2 is all I needed to effectively communicate with parents. Sometimes, I jotted an extra note if I had time.
Soon, students were begging to know who was getting a note sent home at the end of each day. That's when I knew I was on to something special. So, I reworked the checklists to be prettier and have more positive language. I called the positive notes “Glow Notes” and the improvement notes “Grow Notes”. This simple change allowed me to send improvement notes home more often because parents and kids could view them as opportunities to grow and not as a punishment.
Keep It Simple So You Can Be Consistent
Being consistent is the key to success with any classroom management tool. Kids need to know that what you say is what you mean. When I started using Glow Notes, I made sure to send at least one home every day. Because this only takes 30 seconds per note, it wasn't difficult or time-consuming. This helped to build anticipation and got students to “buy-in”. After a few days of only sending home Glow Notes, I was able to send home Grow Notes as needed. A student called out all day long? Grow Note sent home to let parents know. A student went out of her way to help a friend who was having a hard time? A Glow Note was sent home.
As a classroom teacher, I never have enough time to devote to keeping track of who got a note sent home when. That's just another thing to add to my never-ending to-do list. Instead, I kept a parent signature line on each note and hard students return them to school. Then each note went into the student's folder. This allowed me to keep a record of communication with parents. If an administrator every wanted to know how I was communicating with parents or more about my classroom management, I had the notes on file to show them. It also helped me to see at a quick glance who I needed to be sure to “catch being good” soon. The beauty of Glow and Grow Behavior Notes to send home are in the simplicity!
Everyone Wins with Glow and Grow Notes
Communicating student behaviors to parents and families does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. Behavior notes do not have to be long and complicated if you have the right template. Keep things simple and to the point, while using positive language and you will win families over. With effective behavior communication, everyone wins. Kids are happy to be acknowledged for their positive choices, parents are thrilled to see happy notes come home, teachers have an easy way to keep communication open and admin will love the focus on the positive to improve student behavior and promote a positive classroom community. The terms glow and grow help to keep the communication light and positive. These notes are truly a game-changer for classroom management.
When you have more challenging behaviors in the classroom, Glow and Grow notes may not be enough for certain students. Like any classroom management tool, there is no “one size fits all” approach. However, at least the Glow Notes will help you to recognize students who consistently are doing their best. Over the years, I've learned that visuals are a powerful tool in the early elementary classroom. Read more about how I use visuals here. The other strategy that I've used with great success is a calm down space.
How to Get Started with Glow and Grow Behavior Notes
Every classroom is unique and has its own challenges. That's why I created editable Glow and Grow Notes templates for teachers to use. I have a few different sets available in my TPT store. Teachers can use the premade templates or add their own behaviors to the checklists to mee the specific needs of their classrooms. For this resource, editable means you can change the list of behaviors but not the entire note (due to clip art restrictions). If you are ready to jump right in and want an editable set, you can find all my editable Glow and Grow Notes here in my TPT store.
Not sure how these will work for you? Join my e-mail list below and get a FREE set of Glow and Grow Notes today!