Sometimes is takes awhile to find the right behavior strategy that works for some of the more challenging behaviors you may encounter. Even then it will sometimes stop working and you need to find something new. I asked some fellow educators to share ideas of different strategies that have worked for them so you can have a “Grab Bag” of different strategies. I love hearing new and different techniques from others because you can never have too many behavior tips! I have also added a strategy that I have used recently with a few students in order to help give visual reinforcement and reminders.
Visual Reinforcement can be especially helpful for younger children. I created behavior a lanyard for the teachers to wear for two students recently who are having difficulty keeping his hands and feet to himself. The teacher wears the behavior lanyard all day and the student earns tokens that are adding to the back of the goal tag throughout the day when he is keeping his hands and feet to himself. When the tag is filled up, he gets to pick a larger prize from his reward menu. I made the tags superhero themed since the students like superheros. After talking with the parent of one of the students, I also sent one home so the parent could use the same strategy at home. This could be a good strategy to use when students need a visual throughout the day of their goal and their progress.
The Calm Down Counter
Neely from Behavior Momentum has a great idea to teach students to calm down. The Calm Down Counter is a visual tool that teaches students to calm down by counting. The student is taught how to use the calm down counter with a few practice sessions. The calm down counter can be put in a classroom cool down area or attached to individual students desks. They start by placing their finger on the 10 spot by saying 10 loudly. The student works their way to the number 1 spot using a softer voice. After the student is trained to use The Calm Down Counter they should be able to self manage calming down on their own. Behavior Momentum also has some other great ideas, I especially like the Bubble Gum Behavior Chart!
Behavior Story Book
Nikki from Teaching Autism has another fabulous idea to help students learn how to react in different situations. This idea includes a behavior story with symbols/graphics as a walkthrough for what students may feel/do when angry/upset, choices and what they can do to help them calm themselves. Social stories are a great tool to help teach student routines, especially students with difficulty transitioning. I have used these with kindergartens who are learning the class/school routines and had great success.
Tips for Helping Attention Seekers
K’s Classroom Kreations wrote an extremely helpful article on her blog for handling attention seeking behaviors. I love how candid she discusses this topic and breaks it down into five simple tips which all start with the adult. She also has written a great article on How to Deal with the Classroom Wiggleworm. There are some great ideas of different sensory tools to use and best of all most of them came from the dollar store!
Susan from ESL Connection shared a strategy when working with her middle school students….which is very simple, but highly effective.
I let my middle school students get up and walk around the classroom, as long as they are not distracting other students. This came about because, many years ago, I had a boy who asked if he could do that; he said it would help him focus or calm down (I forget which). With some reservations, I said okay but it worked out and then other boys asked if they could stand up and walk around too, and I said yes. In subsequent years, some girls also liked to do this, although they mostly preferred to just stand behind their desks and work that way. This was an easy way for me to let kids get up and move during lessons, which research shows helps students learn better. Most of the time, the students behaved appropriately when they were out of their chairs so I was happy to use this strategy in my classroom. -Susan
Check out the weekly progress reports in English and Spanish she created to help stay in touch with parents.
I hope your were able to gain some different behavioral tips that can be implemented with your challenging students. If you have another strategy that has worked for you, please share in the comments below!!