I like the clip chart because it is something visual and tangible. With my clip charts I always be sure to have at least 2 "jumps" up and 2 "jumps" down.
I currently use the ocean themed chart shown below. The other one I used when I had a circus theme in my room.
To spice it up, if a child moves their clip to the top and are still behaving well then I move their clip onto my clothes.... Yep, that's right. I put a clothespin on myself. No one said teaching kindergarten was a fashion show. Want to motivate them even more?.... if that child continues to WOW me with their behavior then I put the clip in my hair! They LOVE this! I have to say I did not come up with this idea. I got it from Rick Morris who has GREAT ideas and if you can ever see him speak you SHOULD whether this is your 1st year or your 30th year! Here's his site: http://www.newmanagement.com/index.html
Another little fun trick I use (that I again got from Rick Morris) is to have a child paint their clip gold after they have reached the highest point on the chart 3 times. Actually it's just yellow paint, but we call it gold because I often say, "You are good as gold!" If they move that clip up another 3 times then we add a little glitter... and in kindergarten, glitter makes everything exciting! After we add the glitter we "retire" the clip and the child starts fresh with a plain wooden clip. I have a ribbon hanging near the chart for all our retired clips. The kids are motivated to get as many clips as possible on that ribbon. So yes, I need to have a good supply of clothespins on hand, but you can find them at The Dollar Tree.
The key is that I try to focus on the POSITIVE! I tell the parents that they will hear from me if their child ends the day at the very top or very bottom of the chart, but any other movement in the middle is between the child and me. This is the note I send home if they move their clip all the way up: (It actually available at my TPT store along with the ocean clip chart shown above - Just click here!)
I don't have a generic note for when a child reaches the bottom of the chart. In these cases I contact the parent and handle each situation as I see fit.
It is a bit tricky to manage how many times a child has reached the "Super Star Starfish" or whatever I am currently calling the top level, but I have had the most success with just good old fashioned tally marks by their name. I used to use an a spreadsheet and date it- but this was too much work and not necessary.
I used to have a treasure chest, but I don't anymore. I find that they are very excited about all the clip shenanigans! And to make sure it works all year... I only introduce things one at a time. Right now (since we are only 9 days into school) it is just the chart. In about a month I will start "wearing" the clothespins. Then another month later I will introduce painting them... and so on.
On another note, I also use whole group class motivators. This year I am using sand dollars. I have ten (real) sand dollars.... hey, I live at the beach so I figured I should have some authentic "ocean" things going on in class. Plan A was to add a magnet to each one and put it up on the white board when the class earned one, but they seem too fragile. So Plan B is to just put them in a mason jar as they are earned. Once all 10 sand dollars are in the jar we will earn a prize. It is the marble jar concept, but 10 sand dollars is a lot quicker than filling up a whole jar with marbles and for kindergarten I like to speed this process up. I think if they have to wait too long for anything exciting to happen they lose interest. In the beginning of the year I am more generous with my sand dollars because I want them to have the experience of earning the prize so they can look forward to it next time.
They can earn a sand dollar for all working quietly or cleaning up nicely. I tell them one for sure way to earn a sand dollar is if we get a compliment from another teacher or staff member. They walk down the hall so quietly when they see an adult just hoping they may say, "Oh what a nice and quiet line you are walking in!" Sometimes I will even give them one if the whole class remembers to return their library books. I do also take them away if needed. This rarely happens and actually if I just walk near the jar and hover my hand over the top it seems to do the trick!
The prizes vary depending on what I can get my hands on and what that particular class is like.
I like the balance of the group working toward a common goal and each of them also being responsible for themselves on the clip chart.
I am linking up with What the Teacher Wants and their Linky Party! Check out all the wonderful ideas out there!