Dear Coach Chris,
How can I use the Y-chart concept in a way that
keeps my room from feeling cluttered? I have only a few Y-charts for various
things, and although I could use many more I don’t feel that I have the wall
space for them.
I also wonder whether having so many of them could burn
the kids out or create sensory overload. I want the charts to be interesting and
catch students’ attention so they are really reading and remembering the
expectations. Too many charts may cause their heads to swim. One idea I had was
to create more Y-charts that are usable in multiple situations and fewer that
apply only to specific routines.
Finally, do some routines not fit well
with Y-charts? Are there other ways of visually setting expectations and/or some
routines for which whole-group conversations work best?
Coach Chris says:
You are on the right track. Too many
written reminders hanging on classroom walls and hallways can be
counterproductive. You need some wall space to display quality student work,
photos from a field trip, or other relevant academic and community
Your Y-charts can help you revisit a routine that you’ve
already modeled. After the modeling, write on the chart a few student-generated
ideas about how the routine should look, sound, and feel. Post the chart for a
few days and refer to it to reinforce and remind. Once the routine is up and
running, store the chart away. If things start slipping, repost it and review it
with your students. In this way, you’re likely to have a chart or two up at any
given time, leaving most of your wall space for other things.
Y-chart or other visual reminder (see example charts in Classroom
Discipline: Guiding Adolescents to Responsible Independence) for each of
your major routines-such as entering the classroom, independent work time,
transitions, clean-up, circling up, walking in the hallways, using the rest
room, and handing in work. You don’t have to create a visual reminder for every
routine, since modeling is sufficient sometimes. If the modeled routine slips
later, you can remodel and/or create a visual reminder. Listing the steps of any
routine (when there aren’t too many steps) is another format you can use for a
visual cue-and don’t forget that simply using reminding language helps: “Who can
remind us how we’re supposed to enter the classroom?”
Hagedorn is a former Developmental Designs consultant.
Published January 2011