Saturday, June 25, 2011

Behavior Modification :: Kindergarten Lessons

This is a cocky-little-dude.
You would be astonished at the volume of noise emitted by this tiny body! It is incongruous. (I bet the neighbors picture a fifteen pound, three foot tall rooster with a mic and a podium. Sorry neighbors.)

This is a kindergarten graduate, posing at the end of a very long, full, happy, face-painted, last day of school.

This is a behavior chart... a motivational device that tracks good and bad behavior, and is meant to inspire the participants to be polite, quiet, cooperative, adorable, precious... well, mostly polite and quite.

Maria's name is on the clip, and for the entire school year her name always stayed in either blue or green, which means that she was always polite and quiet in school. She never dropped down to yellow, and would have fainted, cried, fainted again, and gone straight to therapy if she were clipped in the red. (Personally, I found this system somewhat fascist oppressive, because it compelled her to be as silent as possible, all day. By the time I picked her up from school she was like an unexploded-verbal-bomb! I am not sold on the idea of rewarding silence.)

However I feel about the chart, it became an obsession for Maria, and on her last day of school she came home and made a chart for home use, with a certain cocky-little-dude in mind. Her chart is similar, but not the same as the one at school. Depending on how Zoltar is behaving, the clip with his name, moves up and down (mostly down) the chart. The idea being that the shame and degradation of being noted for poor behavior will motivate him to improve himself, to rise above his inclinations and be a very good, very kind, very quiet rooster.


Yes, at the top we have the highest level of acceptable and inspired behavior. This is like the Gold Medal of good behavior, the Pulitzer of quiet, the Noble for polite and courteous, the Big Smile of Well Done!

Zoltar has yet to achieve this level of honor and esteem, but you better believe he wants it. He wants it bad.


Here we have good behavior. It inspires a contented response, less actual smile, but still pleased with the level of goodness from the participant.

And here is where we find Zoltar, today.


This is where it gets hilarious. Nothing like the actual chart in her classroom, thank goodness.

Uh-oh. Now you've done it. We are not happy. Somewhere along the way, you have blown it. It's not quite hopeless, yet, but clearly the participant is failing to keep it together.

Oh dear.
Come on!!

Desperate, crushed. Clearly a disappointing and unacceptable, a shocking event, or breach of protocol has transpired. And I love the expression... you can hear the indignation, the expectation that things could be, should be, better!

Zoltar's clip has been here, often.

Oh gosh! How do you recover from this?!
The once happy face, has lost all hope, is overcome with the gravity of the situation. Clearly someone is out of control... but by this point it is hard to tell who needs the time out, the student or the teacher.

This is why we have summer, people! So we can take time to diffuse, to breath deeply and come back ready to move our names up the chart! And maybe throughout our day we deserve time to be ourselves, get loud, shake things up, speak out ... not rude, just free to cut loose a bit, without shame.

There. That's better.

But this cocky-little-dude can't seem to rise above Come on!!!


Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this chart! The faces are priceless. I could use one for how I feel about my clients!

I don't often comment, but I do read all your entries--you're on my Safari top sites page! I guess you can call it the "Wow" page.

Have a lovely summer with your family.

Anonymous said...

This is funny. Love the expressions. Zoltar gets an "F" for listening skills.


Miriam said...

I need one of these charts for Hector - yes, Hector, the rooster we thought was mute until all of a sudden he started crowing, and now he can't shut up! Not so bad in the winter, but these days the concert starts at about 4:15 and doesn't end until bedtime. Come on!!

My verification word is "lonsom", which is what we will be because all our neighbours will disown us, unless Hector modifies his ways...

tara said...

I love it. I can see a lot of thought went into this. I may have to institute something similar.
I am at the library to comment (wont work on my iphone) and your blog had parental control locks on it. I had to convince the librarian that yours was a very nice site and not something else.

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

OMG, Maria's rooster behavior chart is just cracking me up. Too cute for words! Happy summertime Maria!

judy in ky said...

But he is so good-looking!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Nice to meet you Sylvia, and thank you for commenting. Maybe Maria should publish behavior charts? She could customize them for different situations! I hope your summer is full of "Wow!!!!"

Miriam... oh dear. Hector, Hector, Hector. Shhh!
Now it's summer and more windows are open, we are ever more astounded at Zoltar's volume. Can we get them blackout curtains? Would it help?

Oh! You went to some trouble to comment Tara... thank you. Parental controls? For Chickenblog? lol...

Maria is having a happy summertime! Thank you Tami. I have to be sure and show her the fascinator you made. She designed one that we made... she wore it to Maker Faire (

Dear Judy... looks can be deceiving! He pecks, he harasses, he heckles, he crows and croons, he scratches, he postures, he threatens, he... he is good looking, isn't he?

Whimsy Workshop Teaching said...

That chart is the sweetest thing! Love it!