Behavior Journal Template

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

A behavior journal can be a really important way for teachers, other school professionals, and families to communicate about a child's behavior. This lesson offers a template you can use when developing a behavior journal.

The Purpose of a Behavior Journal

Are you trying to find ways to keep communication about student behavior more consistent among different members of a team? Many kids have a lot of different adults supporting their development, from classroom and subject area teachers to resource teachers, occupational therapists, counselors and speech therapists. Moreover, it is so important to keep family in the loop when it comes to student behavior; you never know what input a family might be able to offer, and they will appreciate a detailed understanding of what happens during their child's school day.

One way to keep these lines of communication open and organized is to start a behavior journal. A behavior journal travels with the student over the course of his or her school day, and then it goes home with them each afternoon. Most behavior journals require parents to at least sign off to indicate that they have seen teachers' comments, and parents might also want to include input and insight of their own.

There are many ways to keep a behavior journal, but if you aim for consistency, you will want to find an organized structure that does not require too much effort on the part of any one participant. The template offered in this lesson includes explanations of each section as well as brief examples.

Behavior Journal Template

Contract

If you are using a behavior contract with your student, it can be helpful to include a signed copy of the contract in the front cover of the journal. This reminds everyone of the goals and agreements for student behavior, as well as the agreed-upon consequences for misbehavior.

Date

Above each entry in the behavior journal, you will want to include the date and, if possible, the time. This will help you keep track of patterns in student behavior, and it will also help you keep the journal organized.

Location

You will also want to jot down the location for each entry. For example:

  • hallway
  • lunchroom
  • recess yard

Along with the date, noting the location will help you understand patterns and triggers for both positive and negative behaviors.

Behavior

This is the most important section of each entry. Here, the teacher should jot down a brief but specific description of the behavior the student exhibited. If possible, try to catch positive as well as negative behaviors. Offer enough details that anyone reading will be able to understand, but try not to get overwhelming with the amount of information you give. For example:

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