Monday, December 8, 2014

Challenging Student? Check out these Cool Points Charts!

I was planning to do a blogpost on my cool points charts in the next few weeks, but a teacher blogger friend of mine needing assistance has speeded up this post!

Many students cannot handle consequences! They cannot handle punitive classroom management systems such as moving a clip down or getting a sad face. You will especially see this in many students with Autism, but many of these students that have a difficult time with consequences are students that live in a negative world. Their world evolves around negativity. And most the time, these are the students that really need nothing more than just "a little bitta love!" Most of these students are used to failing, getting reprimanded, and that's all they know....that's how they get attention! 

I always say "Praise the best, ignore the rest!" Yes I know there are times when we cannot ignore the rest, but when you can, do so.....pick your own battles! Let's face it, some behaviors just aren't worth our time. The only time I make it worth my time, is if it involves harm to themselves or others, or if they are damaging property. All else, ignored! Heck, I let a student write all over his desk with a marker today! Was he hurting anyone? No. The marker will wash off and had I have chosen that battle he would have escalated and the room would have been in total chaos. Instead, the room remained calm, my other students are trained to ignore as well, and the student stopped once he found out we didn't care. Shortly after he stopped, he was praised immensely for good behavior! 

OK, so back to the "Cool Points" charts....getting a little off topic here with discussing behavior....can you feel my passion??! So as an alternative for those students that can't deal with consequences, these cool points charts are amazing!

 What makes them so amazing for these specific kids is that they are always receiving points and reinforcement every time their chart is checked, but much less if they misbehave. 

So for example, if you look at this student above....and btw, the reinforcements must be powerful....they must be things the child likes and wants......this child loves more than anything at school pretending to be the teacher, so if she earns top points, she gets to teach the class! She also likes to color and play with dolls, but not NEAR as much as she likes to teach! So the lower her points the less her reinforcement is, BUT she's getting reinforcement for at least trying or putting forth some effort even if she doesn't completely succeed.   
In this chart, the student was obsessed with drawing, so he tallied his minutes and then got that many minutes of drawing time. 

Notice how this child's chart has no "0" for points, 1, 2, and 3. This child had extreme difficulties with consequences, so he still earned a one when he didn't do it, but again less points, less of a reinforcer. He was still able to feel some success though!

It really depends on your student. There's definitely no cookie cutter for behavior plans. What works for one student may not work for another. But you can see how I have customized these per student. For most students we do a "cool points check" every hour as you can see, but you could do less or more frequently depending on the child's needs! More severe behaviors may need to be checked and reinforced more frequently!! But every hour has been suitable on the average. My students that use these fold them in half and keep them on their desks as a reminder of their behavior and what they are working towards.

You can also see how the first chart has clocks on it for the child that was always asking if it was time to check her cool points chart. :) You may also need to customize the times around your class schedule, lunches, and such.

You can even make them more personalized or even girly. I did have some pretty girly ones with hearts and glitter I made last year, but lost them in my computer crash! :( Appearance can be very enticing for many students!

If you'd love to try this approach and aren't very computer savvy or don't know how to make a cool points chart, I've put together a little editable of the ones shown above that you can open in powerpoint and edit. If you need assistance or need something a little different to meet a student's needs, or have questions, let me know and I'll try to help!

These have been very successful in my classroom with those challenging kids and I hope they will help you and your challenging student too!


  1. Thank you! I have a student this will be PERFECT for!

  2. Hey Traci! I teach a "functional" self-contained class where we focus on simply daily living skills. I have one student who is WILD! He has such attention deficit problems that when he has made a poor choice, he doesn't know what he did and when we try to talk to him about it, he has no clue what we're talking about. We are all on a 3-4 year old level cognitively so counting points, money, etc. is not an option. I have tried doing a 4 piece puzzle where he earns a piece of a puzzle and then when it is complete, he gets his reward. He is happy when he earns the reward (which is seldom because of his severe behaviors), but when he doesn't earn the reward, he doesn't really care. It's like he can't connect his behaviors are controlling his rewards...?! Any suggestions? We've tried to really focus on the good behaviors, but they are so few and far between that doesn't help either. Thanks! -Hannah Medlin (

  3. Love this! I'm having trouble editing. Is there anything special I need to do? Thanks!!!

    1. Hello, be sure to download the file and open in PowerPoint....not as a link in your browser. Then go to "insert," then "textbox," click where you want the textbox, and add your text. That's it!

    2. It won't let me open in Powerpoint. Can you email me the file? Thanks!


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