Behavior Chart Ideas

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Behavior charts, if used appropriately, can be helpful for managing difficult issues in the classroom. This lesson offers a few ideas for how to use behavior charts effectively.

Why Use Behavior Charts?

Are you dealing with complex and difficult behaviors in your classroom? Perhaps your focus is on an individual student who struggles and disrupts the class, or maybe you are concerned with your students' behavior overall. One of the most effective ways to handle concrete behavior challenges is by constructing a behavior chart, which is a document that tracks student behavior and reinforces positive behaviors as they evolve over time. In order to create a useful behavior chart, follow the guidelines listed below.

  • Clearly define 1-3 target behaviors you hope to see from the students.
  • Make sure students understand how the behavior chart works.
  • Determine the time period in which you would like to see the behavior change.
  • Provide an appropriate incentive for when the behavior chart is complete.

Whole Class Behaviors

Some behavior charts can be helpful to a whole class, particularly if you are looking to establish good routines and habits among all of your students. Perhaps you want to create a behavior chart early in the school year to help establish strong habits for classroom routines, or maybe it is later in the year and you feel students are not following their routines appropriately. Either way, you can create a whole class behavior chart designed to target specific routines.

Choose three routines that students need to work on. For instance, you may choose to target handing in homework in the morning, pushing in chairs in the afternoon, and coming in to the classroom quietly after lunch. Put each of these behaviors on its own row down the left hand side of a poster, and write each day of the week across the top. Create a grid of rows and columns. If your students come in quietly after lunch on Monday, put a star or sticker in the corresponding box on the grid.

You can have your students assess their own accomplishment of the routines, or you can do it yourself. If they receive the desired number of stars by the end of two weeks, they will earn a reward like extra recess, a class celebration, or a day with no homework.

Individual Student Behaviors

Sometimes, behavior charts are more private, and are oriented toward evolving the behavior of one specific student. In this case, you will want to work with the student to determine the desired behaviors and reasonable time intervals. It can be helpful to get parents or support staff involved.

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