Simple Behavior Charts

As a special education teacher, I am often asked to help create behavior charts for students. I find often times that behavior charts are complicated and too confusing for students to understand. They also make it difficult for the classroom teacher to keep up with. Over the years of creating charts, I have come to realize simple is best. This chart is meant for students at the Elementary level or students with disabilities that are older (but I would suggest a more age-appropriate theme).

1.    Select a Goal
After observations and discussions with those that work with the students, decide on one goal. When creating a behavior chart we want to select multiple goals. In my experience, selecting one goal for a student to work on is best. Goals could include: raising your hand, staying on-task, staying in your seat, keeping hands to yourself, etc. Goals should be written in the positive. You want to tell the student the behavior you want to see - not the behavior you don't want to see. The child will either meet the goal or not meet the goal for each subject. There is no sort of met the goal. This becomes too subjective. I also give the student a warning before they don’t earn the point (depending on the goal, if the goal is to keep hands to self, te student does not get a warning).

2.   Download a Chart/Select a Chart Theme
Select a chart that uses a theme motivating to the student. Talk to the student and find out their interests. I have provided chart with the following themes: smiley faces, the Avengers, Transformers, and Disney Princesses. The clip art can easily be replaced by a theme of your choice. Simply use Google images or Microsoft Clip art to search for an image that interests your student.

3.   Fill in a Student’s Schedule
Fill in the student’s schedule. You may need to delete a row to meet your needs. Please do not include lunch unless there will be an adult to tell you how the student behaved. I suggest each major subject: math, reading, writing, etc.

4.   Decide the Number of Points Required to get a Reward
No student can be perfect all day. In addition, start out easier and then get harder. I always start out with the student needing 6/9 or 5/8 subjects to earn a reward. I let them know that after two weeks, they will be required to get 7/9 or 6/8. I let them know after some time (depending on the student); they will be required to get 8/9 or 7/8 to earn their reward. When you have early dismissal days, don’t forget to adjust the amount of points needed to earn a reward.

5.   Pick the Reward/Schedule of Reward
Talk to your student about the rewards they can earn. Give them choices. You can have daily awards or weekly rewards. This is a personal choice. I know some teachers who give a small reward each day but then work toward a bigger reward weekly. Others teachers only give a weekly reward or a daily reward (not both). I would suggest if you do a weekly reward that a student is required to have 4/5 days of earning their daily points to get the weekly reward. We all have bad days – so having 5/5 days shouldn’t be expected. See the reward suggestions for ideas.

6.   Educate All Adults on How to use the Chart (Including Parents)
Consistency is the key to success. All adults should understand what the student needs to earn his/her points for a class. Decide on a number of warnings a child gets before they don’t earn their point. Never ask other students to help decide if a student should earn their points. The reward chart should be kept private. This is not something other students should ever be involved in. Let the parents know of your plan to implement the chart. They can help you out at home by providing an additional reward for positive behavior.

7.   Provide the student with Positive Reinforcement All Day      
Along with the behavior chart, the student requires constant positive reinforcement. Celebrate when the student is successful even if it's just for one hour of the school day. The more positive reinforcement, the more the student is likely to repeat the positive behavior.

Tips for the Classroom
Make sure that you have the charts printed and ready to go for each week. This is something you can have a parent volunteer copy and cut. Keep the charts in a location known to the student. I suggest a folder in a location they can access. Make it the student’s responsibility to get their chart each day. This way they will still get the chart on days you are absent. They may need assistance with filling in the date at the younger grades.

Have parents sign the chart and return it. This way you know the parent has seen the chart.

To Download
Click the links below to download the files. After the file opens, go to File, Download (or CTRL + S).

Files to Download
        Smiley Face Chart
        Disney Princess Chart
        Avengers Chart
        Transformers Chart
        Smiley Certificate
        Disney Princess Certificate
        Avengers Certificate
        Transformers Certificate
        List of Reward Suggestions

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