Behavior Scenarios for Elementary Students

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

Helping elementary students learn behavioral expectations can be challenging. This lesson offers some scenarios you can use for role plays that make behavioral education more fun.

Using Behavior Scenarios

As an elementary school teacher, you know that behavior management can end up being a big part of your work. Whether you are helping students learn better self-regulation, teaching them the specific expectations of your classroom, or helping them with social situations that grow increasingly complex as they get older, you might be seeking some ways to make teaching behavioral expectations more fun.

One way to teach students about behaviors is to work with scenarios. You can use scenarios in role plays, for writing exercises, or simply to start a group discussion. When you present students with a complicated scenario, you give them a chance to think about why proper behavior matters, what they can do to help manage their own behavior, and how they might respond in a variety of situations.

This lesson provides some sample scenarios that you can modify to meet the needs of the students in your class.

Behavior Scenarios

You can read these scenarios to students or offer them to students to read, interpret and think through on their own. Then use the prompt questions to discuss the scenario or for writing exercises. You can add variety by having different students role play a scenario as written or improvise how they would prevent or solve the problem in a scenario.

A Math Lesson

The second graders in Mrs. Murphy's class are gathered together on the rug for a math lesson. As Mrs. Murphy begins to teach, Austin just cannot seem to get focused. He begins drumming his pencil on the floor loudly and wiggling his body around. Then he starts calling out random words. Soon, several other students grow distracted by Austin, and Nick is so frustrated that he throws his pencil at Austin's head.

  • What do you think will happen next?
  • How would you feel if you were in Austin's class? What could you do about it?

Morning Meeting

When the fourth graders in Mrs. Lee's class gather for their morning meeting today, Audrey feels really excited. She wants to share everything that has been happening in her house; they got new baby chicks, and her grandma is coming to visit! Mrs. Lee brings the class together, and Audrey starts calling out with all of the stories she has to share. Mrs. Lee reminds her that calling out is unacceptable. The class gets quiet, but as soon as Mrs. Lee starts speaking, Audrey starts calling out again.

  • What do you think Mrs. Lee should do now?
  • Have you ever felt like calling out when you knew you shouldn't? What happened?

Reader's Workshop

In Mr. Gaines' fifth grade class, it is reading workshop time. That means that students are supposed to be focused on independent, quiet reading of their own books. Sammy, Tyler and Nate are sitting together. Sammy flicks a rubber band he has found on the floor at Tyler. When Tyler ignores him, Nate starts smirking, picks up the rubber band and flicks it at Sammy. Soon, the boys have forgotten that they are supposed to be reading; they start giggling and throwing the rubber band back and forth.

  • What do you think will happen next?
  • If Tyler wants to concentrate on reading, what could he do to avoid getting involved with what the other boys are doing?

Special Performance

It is a big day at Maple Elementary, because a local dance group is coming to perform. When the third graders from Ms. Newman's class get to the auditorium, Hazel feels excited. She pulls a notebook from her pocket and writes a note to Simone. She passes it across the aisle to her friend. Simone is excited to write back, and soon the girls are deeply involved in passing notes back and forth to each other, even as the dancers come on to the stage.

  • What problems could passing notes cause?
  • If you were sitting next to Simone, what could you do to help her behave better?

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