Saturday, December 6, 2014

Decrease Behaviors with Self-Monitoring

Last year I shared the importance of having students chart the frequency of their own behaviors. It holds them accountable and makes them more conscientious and aware of the frequency of their behavior. I have also found that it becomes an intervention tool as well, because students get tired of getting out of their seats all the time to mark their charts, and especially when they're doing something they really like.

The chart below shows an example of a child that is charting her hand flapping. Every time she hand flaps, I simply say, "Cool hands ______, go mark your chart." She then simply crosses through the next number. I also want to make sure the chart is a distance from her seat so it requires her to get up out of her seat to mark it. Placing it on the child's desk would be too convenient for them! 

But what about those students that aren't capable of crossing out a number on a chart like this and need a more simple method?? How do we help these students be accountable for self-monitoring?

This is what I use for those students. 
For this particular student we are working on her staying in her seat and in her personal space. Each time she is out of her seat without permission or invades another student's space, she must take a sad face from the pink container and place it on the velcro. Even as a first grader with Down's she totally understands what a sad face is and does not like it when she has to put one on her chart. For a student that does not completely get the meaning of the sad faces, that student is placed in a short time out after each sad face is placed on the chart to help them connect the meaning. 

At the end of each day, one of my aides or myself counts the number of sad faces and marks it on the frequency collection chart that I showed you above.

You can grab a copy of the Behavior Frequency Chart here.
I hope these tips will help you with your self-monitoring strategies in your classroom. 


  1. I really love this idea and how you differentiate and want to use this in my classroom ! But first, a few questions. How did you explain this all to them? I saw on the frequency form that your student was improving, but have you noticed this trend over the past year? How many behaviors do you track this way , and do you use multiple sheets, or the same one if you do multiple ? I use both a star chart / reward system, as well as a 3 bad choice chart /loss of privilege system. These have been motivating for most of my students for bigger behavior , but I love your system for things like picking their nose, touching their privates, and other annoying or inappropriate behavior that happen multiple times a day.

    1. Jannike,

      I usually reply by email, but it doesn't look like you have your email linked so I hope you come back to get this reply. To answer your questions in order....I just explain it to them just as I did in my blog post. I try to talk to my students just like adults as much as possible. And we all talk openly as a class about the goals we are working on. For instance for the hand flapping child, we talk about why hand flapping is not cool and why we don't want to do it. I explain the charts to them and explain how we want to get a zero on our charts. Yes the students frequency chart pictured showed great improvement and in fact this is an old picture and she no longer hand flaps. I see progress with every child that self-monitors, although it may be much much slower for some. It is always a work in progress. I only track 1-2 behaviors at a time, usually just one, but if I am tracking 2, yes I would use two sheets. You are right this is a great method for tracking small behaviors like you mentioned. Some behaviors I've used this method for are hand flapping, blurting out, out of seat, interrupting, hitting, bad language, touching others, biting erasers off of pencils, and so on. I hope I have answered all of your questions. Thanks for reading!

    2. Sorry, I thought my email was attached, but I came back anyway :).I have alk of those exact behaviors in my room, including biting erasers off pencils, so I had to laugh when I read your reply. One more question, do you reward them in some way, or is the graph enough to motivate? I am going to give this a whirl and let you know how it works. Thanks for sharing this great idea! !

    3. It really depends on the student Jannike. Some need more positive reinforcement and more frequently than others. By all means if they get zero on their's a party!! :) For some students I may set them at a goal....let's say a student is having 15 incidences in one day, I may set a reward for a 8 or 10 incidence day. Positive reinforcement is going on though throughout the day, all day in my classroom. I'm continuously rewarding positive behavior all day by giving tokens, allowing a student to move to super on the class behavior chart, or by giving a small treat. For example, let's say the hand flapping student hasn't hand flapped in quite some time....I would say, "Great job keeping your hands cool _________, go move up to super." Or say that, and sit a couple gummy bears down in front of her. So the positive reinforcement may not be directly based on the chart if you see what I mean.


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