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What is school wide positive behavior support? How are universal interventions implemented? How are secondary interventions implemented?
How is individual student positive behavior support implemented? How do I implement positive behavior support in my classroom? References

How Do I Implement Positive Behavior Support as a

Classroom Management Strategy?


Positive behavior support is a powerful approach to creating a healthy classroom environment. To adopt PBS as a classroom management strategy, consider following specific steps: conduct a self assessment, define and teach behavioral expectations, engage in community building activities, and respond effectively to disruption.


Conduct a Self Assessment

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The purpose of the self-assessment is to determine specific patterns of problem behavior and assess the need for targeted community building activities. To determine specific patterns of problem behavior occurring across students, teachers can conduct a simple self-assessment by thinking about classroom routines (or lack of routines) that are problematic. Using the Routine Discrepancy Analysis consider each classroom routine where behavior problems are consistently occurring. Ask the following questions:

What ideally would you like to see happen during this routine? What would you be doing? What would your students be doing? How would the routine be sequenced? Write out the routine step by step as if you were describing it to someone who had never seen it before. Be sure to phrase each step using positive and action oriented terms.


The following is an example of Mrs. London's routine for a three minute class start up routine for her 6 th grade social studies class:

•  Students enter class and locate their seats - Teacher is greeting students at the door

•  At their desk students take out their materials and place them on their desk, they date their notebook and sharpen their pencil - Teacher is at her desk getting class materials and answering questions

•  Teacher gives one minute warning to get materials together

•  Class begins

• How does your ideal compare to what is happening now? Consider whether your students really understand what is expected of them during this routine and how well organized the existing routine is in comparison to the ideal.

•  Finally, what skills do your students need to learn in order to be proficient during this routine and how will you conduct mini lessons to teach the routine and the needed skills.


Another important component of the classroom self-assessment is to gather the opinion of students and family members. Simple surveys are an easy way to solicit information about how students feel about their classroom and the kinds of things they would like to see happen (or stop seeing happen).


A third strategy is to track and graph aggregate summaries of student behavior. For example, Mrs. London wanted to improve the start up transitions in her class. For two weeks she kept a tally of the total number of disruptions that occurred for her entire class. She kept paperclips in her pants pocket and each time a disruption occurred she move the paperclip from one pocket to the other. Then at the end of class she recorded the number of paperclips in her "disruptions" pocket. She graphed her data to determine a baseline level of disruptions that were occurring. She then used this baseline to make decisions about intervention, but also later to evaluate the effectiveness of her classroom management plan.


Define and Teach Consistent Behavioral Expectations

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Students need clearly defined expectations for their behavior. Behavioral expectations are a general code of conduct that all students and adults in the classroom follow. It provides everyone with direction and guidance for what they SHOULD be doing. Behavioral expectations should be defined using positive and action oriented language. Well defined expectations are reasonable and stated concisely. Consider the following example from Mrs. London's classroom:



•  P rompt to class

•  Be seated in class before the bell rings

• A ccept responsible

•  Put away materials

•  Keep your area clean

•  Listen and follow directions

 •  W ork Cooperatively

•  Share materials

•  Take turns talking


•  S how respect

•  Keep hands, feet, and objects to self

•  Use kind words

•  Use a 6 inch voice


Behavioral expectations are only as useful as your students understand them. Thus, it is important to take the time and teach each of the expectations as you would a math or science lesson. To teach your students the behavioral expectations develop short lessons that:


•  Define the expectations in concrete terms

•  Discuss what the expectations mean

•  Demonstrate what the expectations look and sound like

•  Practice when, where, and how to do it

•  Engage the students in a cooperative activity


Once the expectations are taught, the next step is to recognize students individually and as a class for following the expectations. Student recognition systems are important because it helps us shift our actions to focusing on what students are doing right as opposed to catching students doing something wrong. A student recognition system is the presentation of highly motivating positive consequences to develop a desirable pattern of behavior. Through instruction and reinforcement you are helping your students to develop positive habits in the classroom. To develop a student recognition system consider the following steps:


•  Survey students to determine what kinds of things they would like as prizes/trade in options

•  Design a small ticket approximate 1.5 x 3 inches that will be used to distribute to students. Tickets will need to contain the adult and student names

•  If using a trade in system, develop procedures including:

•  A list of trade in options with corresponding value

•  Procedures for procuring (e.g., donations, purchasing) items on the trade in list

•  Procedures for managing the trade in system

•  Procedures for advertising the trade in system and trade in menu

•  If using a raffle system, develop procedures including:

•  Frequency, location, and time of raffle

•  Procedures for storing raffle tickets

•  Procedures for drawing raffle tickets

•  Number of times a ticket will be drawn during a given raffle

•  Procedures for procuring (e.g., donation, purchasing) items for the raffle)

•  Procedures for advertising the raffle


Student recognition systems can be individualized to each classroom and should be linked back to a classroom or school motto. For example, Mrs. London based her classroom theme on the Wildcats, the school's motto. With input from her students, Mrs. London created PAWS POINTS . At the end of each period, each student self monitored their behavior using a PAWS Point sheet . At the end of the day, students tracked their points on a tally sheet and once a week graphed their points in Excel software. Students were able to turn their points in for highly preferred prizes that included both stuff (e.g., markers), privileges (e.g., time on the computer), and social reinforcement (e.g., phone call home). Mrs. London also wanted her students to develop a sense of group cohesion so she had the students earn class points. To do this, at the end of each period while students were self monitoring their behavior, she would survey the class to see how many students earned a point for one of the class expectations (e.g., work cooperatively). If the target number of students had earned a point she then adds a point to the class tally. When the class reaches the determined criteria they earn a class prize (e.g., pizza party).



Engage in Activities to Build a Classroom Community

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At the heart of every classroom is the relationships that form between individuals and the cohesiveness of the group. Effective teachers know that the rapport and relationships they form with their students is a key a positive classroom atmosphere. By engaging in ongoing activities designed to build relationships, work cooperatively, and respect one another, teachers can reduce conflict among students and foster a positive atmosphere. Morning or weekly meetings are an excellent way to dedicate time for the class to talk and listen to one another about topics and issues important to the group. Class meetings provide the opportunity to build a climate of trust and respect among students. Problem solving and decisions making within meetings models for students effective ways to handle conflict and develop responsibility. Within the class meeting forum, the teacher acts as a facilitator guiding the group through the process without taking over the process. The teacher - facilitator provides reminders about behavioral expectations, process steps for solving the problem, modeling appropriate interactions and respectful listening. Although the teacher-facilitator ultimately has veto power, it is important that students drive the decision making process and solve problems on their own.


To implement class meetings identify a time either daily or weekly that is dedicated to class meetings. The first month (or week if daily) is dedicated to laying the ground work for future meetings. The following is an outline of the first four class meetings and topics for discussion:


Meeting 1: Teachers talk to students about :


•  What are class meetings?

•  Why the class is having meetings.

•  Rules for participating in the meetings

•  How the meetings will effect them as a class


Meeting 2: Team building skills


•  How to talk/communicate during meetings

•  How to raise a problem for discussion

•  How to brainstorm solutions

•  How to share ideas


Meeting 3: Establish Goals


•  What are goals?

•  Why do we set goals?

•  Setting personal goals

•  Setting group goals


Meeting 4 and Subsequent meetings: Ongoing problem solving


•  Review goals

•  Problem solve conflicts

•  Discuss successes

•  Share strategies

•  Review expectations

•  Share / update on learning projects



Group activities are another way to develop a sense of community within the classroom. Service learning projects (e.g., penny collection for the library) provide an opportunity for students to work together to achieve an important outcome as well as learn important lessons about character and real life needs/skills. Rapport building activities are another way to foster cohesiveness among the students. Web sites such as The really best list of classroom management resources offers numerous activities and ideas for building a safe and healthy classroom community.



Responding Effectively to Disruption

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The best classroom management strategy can not prevent all occurrences of behavior, although it goes a long way to reducing most it. Therefore, it is important to have effective strategies to respond when minor incidents of disruption occur to prevent an escalation of behavior. Occurrences of problem should be viewed as a skill deficit where the student either does not know what is expected or knows what is expected but is unable to perform that expectation in context. Either way, an occurrence of problem behavior is an opportunity to re-teach the student what is expected of him/her. Known as teachable moments, providing the student with instructional (e.g., explanation of what is expected) and or environmental (e.g., removing distracting objects) supports is the most effective way to deal with minor occurrences of disruption.  


In general, when responding to occurrences of disruptive behavior keep the following practices in mind:


•  Attend to other student's appropriate behavior

•  Move calmly to the student

•  Speak to the student in private

•  Use a calm, neutral voice

•  Establish clear limits for the behavior

•  Separate the student from the behavior (i.e., "Calling your classmates names is disrespectful" is better than "You are being very disrespectful")

•  Offer choices of options and then put responsibility for making a plan on the student (with supports from you)

•  Provide feedback for making a good choice

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