Behaviors can be one of the most frustrating and challenging aspects of our teaching career. Let's face it, we all want students that listen, follow directions, and do everything we request of them, right!? Of course, that's easy! But that's not reality! We always have 1 or 2 difficult kids that haven't acquired the appropriate behaviors needed to learn in the classroom.
Behavior must take priority over academics for these students. Because if a student doesn't know how to learn, no learning will occur. You will only end up with frustrated teachers and students. You must set academics aside and focus only on behaviors for these students. For example, for a student that is generally non-compliant when reading his word cards, rather than focus on getting the word correct, focus on and reinforce the student for compliance. So let's say the word is "kite" and the child says "kit." You might say, "I love how you followed directions when I asked you to read the word. Awesome job!" We're not worried about the student getting the word right at this point, because we are teaching compliance with this student.
The first step to shaping behaviors in our classroom, is to create a PLAN!! Just like with academics, we use data to drive instruction and guide our lessons. The same is true for teaching behaviors! We use our data to plan our behavioral instruction for our special behavioral students. It's just like teaching reading, but we're teaching behaviors.
Let's create a behavior intervention plan!!!
So the first thing you'll need to do is conduct a functional behavior assessment (FBA). This will assist you in analyzing when and why the behavior is occurring...the FUNCTION of the behavior, which is the most important for shaping a behavior. An ABC Data Collection Form can be a very effective and simple FBA tool. You can click here to access the ABC data form that I use. Once open, just hold down your ctrl and p key to open your print screen, and print in landscape. To be honest, most of the time I don't even need to complete an FBA, because it is pretty obvious what the function of their behavior is. But the ABC sheet is helpful if their function still remains a mystery.
Once you have discovered the function of the behavior, you will need to conduct a reinforcement assessment. What are powerful reinforcers for the student that will provide them with incentives to want to learn? What do they love? What do they always want to play with and do?
Now you need a lesson plan, just like you'd use for teaching...also known as a BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan). How will you teach the behavior? When will you teach it? What strategies will you use? What will the replacement behavior look like? Will you use a token system? Point system? Money system?
While writing a BIP seems to be a strenuous task for many teachers, just think of it as a lesson plan for teaching a behavior.
Here is a sample of a good BIP.
I have included a blank version in a downloadable file below so that you can print and use this template to write your own BIP.
For students with minor behaviors like blurting out or staying in their seat, you might find that a less formal BIP is needed. Here is an informal BIP template.
Here is a sample of how I might complete this informal BIP for my student that blurts out.
I always say though, that the BIP is only as good as the paper it's written on!!! Meaning that anyone can write a BIP, but if it's not implemented with fidelity, it won't make a difference! Work with your implementing teachers to ensure they have the tools needed to implement the BIP with fidelity and to take data on the effectiveness of the plan!
You can click here for a downloadable copy of all of the resources above. I hope these resources will assist you with creating an effective behavior plan for your student(s). If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments. If you're looking for student specific behavioral assistance you can also fill out the "Behavior Buzz with the Bender Bunch" form on my top right sidebar.
Look for my Ultimate Behavior Kit that is set to be released the end of June!!! It will include all sorts of behavior recording sheets for teachers, self-monitoring sheets for students, observation sheets, token boards, and more detailed information on creating the most effective BIP for your students!