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Reward systems, sticker charts, and smiley faces. These classroom management tools have been tracking “good” student behavior for years. Some teachers LOVE them while others have decided not to use them anymore in their classroom.

Are behavior charts still the best way to reinforce appropriate behavior?

Positive behavior charts can be such an effective classroom management tool, but even the best chart starts to lose its “fizzle.”

The Many Stages of a Behavior Chart

STAGE ONE – a target behavior has been identified and a behavior plan has been made to extinguish the undesirable behavior.

STAGE TWO – The “perfect” behavior chart has been chosen and implemented with clear expectations. Everyone's excited about the new plan! a.k.a. the “honeymoon” phase 

STAGE THREE – hold the phone, what's going on? The plan has been in place for about one or two weeks. All of sudden it seems like it's not working anymore and we're right back where we started. The honeymoon has abruptly come to a screeching halt.

STAGE FOUR (FIVE, SIX…) – this is the time period where there may be many ups and downs. Panic may even try to creep in as disruptive behaviors emerge – or maybe there's a new behavior that feels worse than the original! Was the chosen behavior plan the right thing? Hang on and try to resist the urge to “start all over” with your behavior management system. 

FINAL STAGE we've all stayed on course and classroom management is smoothing out. It's hard to even remember when the child's behavior was interfering with learning. 

That's quite a ride!

Of course there's so much more that goes on behind the scenes and there's no single easy way to solve all classroom behavior issues.

Important Things to Consider When Targeting Specific Behaviors

The biggest consideration is if you should use a behavior chart at all!

Recently, you may have heard that using a chart to tackle negative behaviors was no longer a best practice, but you weren't exactly clear why.

Maybe you've seen a classroom color chart in place with rewards, like extra computer time, for ending the school day on “green.” Many public school classrooms have implemented these visual systems over the years, but now we're reconsidering.

Do we need to communicate (to anyone who walks in the classroom) how each students' day is going? With a quick glance at the red-yellow-green behavior stoplight, one could easily tell who is doing a “good job,” or which “bad kid” is having a hard time.

That's NOT okay and it's definitely not effective.

So are ALL types of charts off limits? What can you do instead to reinforce appropriate behavior choices?

A Positive Twist on Student Behavior Charts

Are you ready to try something new? This is a HUGE set of positive behavior charts that are designed for student success.

Why are these so successful? Each chart features a strong visual focused on the positive – students are moving puzzle pieces, hole-punching, or coloring in pictures (developmentally appropriate!).

This puts STUDENTS in the driver's seat. Positive feedback is built right into each chart as students see their progress “grow.”

Even better news – these charts are so easy to set up and maintain. Students are doing all the “work” – that's a win-win in busy classrooms!


The Do's and Don'ts of an Effective Behavior System

DO – Relationships are key to supporting our students. A great way to do this is through daily conversation and observation.

DON'T – Assume a trip to the prize box, or other extrinsic motivation, will work with every student. By getting to know our students, we may realize that they aren't always looking for ice cream and small rewards, but instead positive interactions.

DO – Incorporate positive interaction by communicating expectations, providing frequent feedback, and celebrating behavior choices using specific praise.

DON'T – Create a behavior chart to track ALL negative behaviors at the same time.

DO – If it all feels overwhelming with too many interfering behaviors, start by focusing on using a single behavior chart – this will help fast track the feedback the student can receive and will hopefully feel less stressful on everyone involved.

Inside the Positive Behavior Charts Bundle

Here's what's included in this student-centered behavior bundle:

Remember the lifecycle of a behavior chart?

These charts are set up for long-term success with multiple high-interest options.

Keep the focus on reinforcing positive behavior with all the “mix and match” options included. 

Check out all individual sets above or click below to grab the bundle:


Hang in there! I can't wait to hear how your positive behavior incentive plan is working for you!

Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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