Effective Alternatives to Clip Charts


I thought that clip charts were a thing of the past, but I still see them in many classrooms! Even though they serve as a visual reminder to make positive behavior choices, the truth is that they just don’t work. In this post, I’m going to share some simple alternatives to clip charts that are much more effective!

Effective Alternatives to Clip Charts

The Trouble with Clip Charts

1. They Single Out Students

Visuals can serve as helpful reminders for students to make positive behavior choices. This is why many teachers like to post clip charts in their classrooms.  Unfortunately, this can single out students as they walk over and move their clip in front of the class. Plus, a clip chart hanging on the wall can publicize your students’ behavior choices to any classroom visitors, including parent volunteers.  Even if you use numbered clips instead of names, it doesn’t take long to identify patterns.

Clip chart with illustration of a teacher shaking a finger

2. They Cause Unnecessary Worry

Clip charts give well-behaved kids unnecessary worry. My daughter, ever the perfectionist, lives daily with the fear of moving her clip, causing anxiety that just shouldn’t exist in the classroom. Even if you have a clip chart that allows students to move their clip up for positive choices, students might worry about why their friend got to move their clip up and they didn’t. Going back to the first point above, some students might dread moving their clip in front of the class even for a positive reason!

3. They Aren't Motivating

Students who truly need behavior support are rarely motivated by a clip chart. The criteria for moving the clip is quite subjective, which can be frustrating for students who are rarely “caught being good.” This can really impact student buy-in for the clip chart! Moving a clip could also be motivating in all the wrong ways! For example, some students welcome the chance to stretch their legs and say hi to their friends as they move their clips from green to yellow. The last year I used a clip chart, I had a very spirited kindergartener who loved the color red. It was his favorite. So moving his clip to red did nothing except reinforce the undesired behavior.

Does Your Clip Chart Work? 1) Student Breaks a Classroom Rule 2) Students Moves Their Clip 3) Does This Fix the Behavior Issue?

4. They Use a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Behavior management should never be a one-size-fits-all approach.  If you decide to use a whole-class behavior incentive, it’s important to focus on specific goals that adjust based on the needs of your classroom. A clip chart just doesn’t allow for this flexibility.

Alternatives to Clip Charts

Now that we know the trouble with clip charts, let’s find something different! These alternatives to clip charts are all simple and easy to implement in a kindergarten classroom.

Alternative #1: Build-a-Reward Chart

A whole-class incentive can be a great replacement for a clip chart.  You’re able to celebrate the positive behavior choices that students are making as they work toward a specific goal as a class.

Build a spaceship reward chart

It is motivating for students to see the picture come together one piece at a time, plus they will receive a reward once the chart is complete!

Alternative #2: Glow and Grow Notes

Glow and grow notes are wonderful alternatives to clip charts. You can use a glow note to acknowledge students who are making great choices. This is especially helpful for students whose misbehavior outweighs their positive choices. With a clip chart, that student’s one excellent choice might have helped them move up from red to yellow. This isn’t very motivating! With a glow note, that positive choice is celebrated with a note home to parents.

Unicorn glow and grow notes

Grow notes are also more helpful than clip charts. Instead of parents hearing a daily report of “red” from their child, a grow note gives specific information about their child’s behavior choices during the day. Plus, the note is phrased as an area of growth, rather than just a report about misbehavior.

Alternative #3: Individual Reward Charts

Some of your students will need additional reminders to make positive behavior choices.  A clip chart just doesn’t offer that level of support! Instead, you can use individual reward charts to focus on a specific goal throughout the school day.

Sticker charts are one example of an individual reward chart that you can use to help students exhibit more positive behavior during the day. Any time you notice the student meeting the goal, they earn a sticker. Once the chart is complete, they earn a reward. You can adjust the stickers, the reward, and even the chart to make it more motivating for the student.

Spring reward charts with rainbows and flowers

Another great option is this coloring behavior chart. You can split the day into different time periods and have students color in the box if they meet the goal during that time period. You could also leave it open-ended like the sticker chart and have the student color in a box any time they are exhibiting the target behavior.

Alternative #4: Token Boards

Finally, a token board can be a helpful alternative to clip charts for students who need a more visual reminder of their behavior goal and reward. Students earn individual tokens for making positive behavior choices and can select a reward from a choice menu.

Reward choice menu and token board

This is a very individualized and targeted behavior incentive for students who need this level of support. It’s much more effective at extinguishing negative behaviors and encouraging positive behavior than a clip chart could ever be!

Printable Alternatives to Clip Charts

To make it easier for you to ditch the clip chart for good, I’ve put together a bundle that’s full of tools to help your classroom run smoothly without one!  My Classroom Management Mega Bundle has everything you need to remind students of behavior expectations, communicate with families, manage classroom behavior, and address individual student behavior. If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this huge bundle, you can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on TPT.

Teacher Toolkit - Classroom and Behavior Management

Save These Clip Chart Alternatives

Be sure to save this post if you’d like to come back to it later!  Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to quickly find these resources when you’re looking for clip chart alternatives.

Simple and effective alternatives to clip charts for kindergarten


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