It’s that time of year… the time when behavior management issues start to pop up! Maybe it’s because of the wonky school schedules, the wearing off of the beginning of the year “honeymoon” period, or the sniffles and sicknesses setting in… but this time of year I always had those kiddos who need a little more structure for behavior expectations bubble up during this time. First of all, and most importantly reach out the to family of the child to chat about the behaviors in a productive way (and ALWAYS have something nice to say!) and offer the behavior plan as a strategy to help with the situation. Also reach out to the teachers and support staff in your building as needed. They may have some insight into the behavior and some suggestions, since behavior management is such an individual process.
I’m going to share with you the three step approach I took to pick a behavior management plan, as well as one little secret I learned along the way!
Step 1: Observe
Observe the child. Notice the behaviors you’re seeing and the frequency of the behaviors. I sometimes use a little notebook template, and sometimes I just jot down the behaviors I see and make tally marks. This also serves as great data if you end up needing to move to a higher level of behavior support.
Step 2: Target
Here’s the secret… when you’re choosing the behavior to target for intervention…Choose 1 teeny tiny small behavior to target first. (more about this here)
The advice I once got from a very well respected mentor of mine was to choose the one thing that drove me nuts the most. This is usually the thing most disruptive to instruction and the overall classroom management.
Choose a way to track this behavior visually for the student. (more about this later). I usually have a checklist of the time frames during the day and the student either does or doesn’t earn the check or star or whatever way they desire to mark that space.
Step 3: Implement
I implement the behavior management plan, and checklist, with the input of the student. We have a private conversation about the behavior. It’s not a shameful situation, it’s an empowering and goal setting situation. This sets the stage for the plan to take affect! Give the student some input as to how they will mark their chart, where it will be kept etc. You can also choose to have a reward of some kind if you wish (I sometimes offered time reading to another class etc.) I also set the limitations about what will happen if they are not to meet the expectations ( Here’s a rough example: “You will have one friendly reminder. The reminder will look like/ sound like this. If the behavior continues, then you will not earn your mark”)
The super important parts of implementation are modeling the behavior, cueing the desired behavior, and checking back in frequently throughout the day. (more about each of these steps later).
I’ve written about all three steps in more depth in separate posts, but I hope this overview can help you to kind of focus the process and find a place to start!