Friday, December 13, 2013

Guest Poster Corrina Allen: Student Behavior Charts

This year I lucked out and have an amazingly polite and well-behaved group of students. Their focus and manners have impressed me since the first day of school and make our classroom environment pleasant for everyone. However.... occasionally there is a child who struggles to follow most classroom expectations and needs a more individualized plan.  This behavior chart template can help you monitor the child's progress as they start to take more responsibility for making better choices throughout the day.


1. Communicate and Coordinate with parents / team members.
Meet with the others at your school (counselors, psychologists, administrators, team members, etc..) to plan what goals would be most appropriate for the child and determine the extent of the plan. (Will it include special areas and lunch? Who will fill it out each day?) Discuss the plan with the child's parents. Some may wish to get involved and reinforce the positive reports from school with a reward at home. Sometimes parents may decide to leave it up to the school. Either way, parents should be informed.

2. Conference with the child when you are both calm.
When a child repeatedly misbehaves, it can be very frustrating.  Getting the child to open up and get on board with a behavior plan will go more smoothly if the meeting is not emotionally charged. Schedule a private conference with the student to talk about their behavior and keep the focus on their success, rather than the disruption to others.
You might say something like....."I want to do whatever I can to help you be really successful and happy at school. Could we meet tomorrow morning to talk about that together?"

3. Enlist their help in creating goals.
Help the child to create 3-4 attainable behavior goals. They should be doable but also stretching the child toward positive behaviors. For example, if completing all their classwork is going to be difficult, you might adjust that to just one key assignment per day to start with.  Then, ask what would help them meet their goals. (Moving their seat? Organization help?) Having the goals be their idea (or at least making it seem that way!) is ideal.
You might say something like....."What are some things that are difficult now that we could work on improving?" Or "One of our classroom expectations is respecting school property. What would that look like?"

4. Set up a reward trigger.
Decide together how many yeses circled will result in a reward and what that reward will be. For children who need more immediate feedback, having a reward in the morning and then in the afternoon can work until they can develop more self-control. Here are some ideas that have worked well for my students:
  • playing for 10 minutes on the iPad / computer
  • helping out a younger student in another class
  • picking an item from a class prize box
  • having a piece of gum or a mint
  • telling a joke to the class (this works great with attention seekers!)
  • drawing with special markers or pens
5. Follow through
This may seem obvious, but staying on top of a behavior plan takes time and it's vitally important to be consistent. If your student sense that you are half-hearted about it, they won't care either. 

6. Analyze and share the data
Don' just let the chart get tucked into a drawer. Send copies to parents and team members who may work with the child. And take the time to analyze what is happening throughout each day and notice any patterns. Are Mondays especially difficult since they've been at a different house for the weekend? Are they avoiding writing? Is independent work a struggle? Try to find the source of the problem and guide them toward solving it.  (This documentation can also be essential if the child's behavior escalates and you need to conference with administration.)

7. Reassess and Adjust
Meet with the child again after a set amount of time to discuss their successes and make any adjustments in their goals or rewards.

Hopefully, all your students will be perfect angels all of the time.  ;-)  However, even the most fantastic classroom management plans don't work for some children with complex challenges and I hope you'll find this template helpful. The entire document can be edited and customized to suit the specific needs of the child.

Corrina Allen lives in Central New York with her husband and their two young daughters. She's been teaching for over 9 years - most recently 5th and 6th grades. She is the author of the blog, From Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files, where she shares teaching strategies, free resources, and reflections on her classroom experiences. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

1 comment:

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