There’s a new sheriff in town and her name is The Color Chart. Employed in kindergarten classrooms across the region, she is an imposing tower of color blocks that rewards children by bestowing her color goodness to the um, behaved.
BLUE for the exceptionally well-behaved, You went beyond the call of duty.
GREEN for fair to middling behavior, You are doing a good job sitting still.
YELLOW for poor behavior, Don’t hit Billy, he’s crying.
RED, for bad behavior, You did not listen despite the 323 warnings you were given, and now you must sit there with that red glow around your head so that all can witness your shame.
So if I’m good, I don’t get that new Thomas train but instead I get to move up to blue? YAY!!
Did you get that? The reward is not a toy or bowl of chocolate ice cream, it is a color. This is genius.
It works like this: the kids arrive at school in the morning and all hang out together on GREEN, each on their own clothespin, each with a fresh start and the possibility of moving up. Of course that means there’s also the possibility of moving down. As the day goes on and as it perhaps gets harder to sit as still or stop yourself from blurting out your every thought during circle time, your pin might begin its downward travel.
I’ve been volunteering in Sam’s classroom every week and I rarely see anyone on red. (Although I know a few sometimes land there because Sam likes to tell me which friends went where that day). I say this is genius because when you have a room of 25 kindergarteners and spend any extended length of time with them, say more than 10 minutes, all you want to do is put your head on a pillow and gouge your eyes — that’s how exhausting it is. The teacher is a saint and I can’t believe she not only shows up every day but that she smiles the whole time. The Color Chart, you might say, is her assistant teacher.
So Sam came home one day and said: “Mommy, can we have a color chart here?” I know I’ve said it already, but Genius!
We found sheets of construction paper and made our own sheriff. Since we were out of red, we used “our imaginations” to make peach-colored paper red. The only problem is that the Sheriff has been a pain in my butt. Sam talks about it non-stop. “Mommy, I got out of bed, can I move to blue?” “Look! I ate my oatmeal, can I move to blue?” “Mommy, John didn’t listen to you, I’ll move him to yellow.” I’m not sure why John is on blue here and Sam on green, but I’m guessing that Sam will change that soon. Today, I can’t remember the infraction, but I threatened to move him down to red and HE threatened to run away.
The new sheriff? Pretty powerful stuff, but perhaps too much like crack?