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Behavior system for pull-outs

Classroom Management 


Senior Member
This is my 2nd year in an elementary interventionist role. Last year I struggled a bit with motivation, responsibility (short hw assignment) and some behaviors. I feel like these kids need an extra boost when they come see me. I'd like to have a true behavior system. As a classroom teacher, I was against extrinsic rewards and quite honestly didn't need a classwide behavior system after my first few years. However, this feels different.

Any suggestions? My backup is a class money system where they earn "money" that they can use to cash in for a little prize, but I'm not crazy about giving out junky toys.


Senior Member
Depending on what your admin will allow, I find that being able to eat a healthy snack while working, getting to wear a hat or hood inside (only works if your dress code says no hats or hoods inside), or getting some special seating like a pillow are things my sixth graders love to earn.


Senior Member
Behavior system

I was never a fan of the class money system. Always felt it was instant recognition for best behavior. Kids had to wait for shopping day.

So I used the penny chart system. It was a small pocket chart. I used masking tape to split it in two and also to put each child’s name on each little pocket.

When a child did something wonderful,kind, unexpected, smart, etc., they got a penny. Sometimes I would give the whole class a penny for doing something terrific like cleaning the room quickly or for a good lesson. (Which insured the “problematic kids” would also earn pennies.)

Once you earned 5 Pennie’s, you immediately (or as soon as we could) got to go to the treasure box and pick something out. It was stuff from Oriental Trading.

BUT…if you did something that broke the class rules, or were extremely naughty, you earned a small poker chip. (Might have been from some game…I don’t know where I got them). You could earn the chip out by changing your behavior.

I had a child once tell his parents “getting a chip is worse than death”!! I tried hard not to use them.


Senior Member
I have a different system for different groups, depending on their needs. I always try to start as simple as possible. If that's not working, then I continue to add in more complexity- rather than just automatically doing the complex thing for everyone.

Some groups can stay on track with no special system at all- just a lot of structure and predictable routine. I do hand out PBIS tickets to everyone who followed our school wide behavior acronym at the end of the lesson.

The next step, if needed, is letting kids earn a game at the end of the lesson- BUT the game is academic, like word or math bingo. My kids did not tire of these even though we did the same games constantly, and I never gave prizes for winning. For most groups, I could just say that if they wanted to earn the game, we needed to not waste time during the lesson. Every time I stop to say, "look at me" or "voices off," that wastes time, etc.

If they need something more explicit, then I write the word "bingo" on the board and pick the specific behavior I'm trying to curb. Say it's shouting out- every time someone shouts out, I cross out a letter. They need at least one letter left at the end to play. If it's a "one kid is constantly ruining it for everyone" type of deal, then I go to having each child have their own "bingo" letters that they're working with.

Usually that stuff works. Last year I did have one student who was completely off the rails, but she had her own special behavior plan with counselor/psych support, and it was implemented across her different settings.

Other things I've done over the years if I really tough groups who just needed more incentive:

-Keeping a white board in front of me with each child's name. If they were doing the right thing at the moment, I gave them a tally. I was constantly giving tallies. For every 5 tallies, they got a PBIS ticket- meaning if they were doing the right thing the whole time, they could feasibly leave with 4-5 tickets.

-Sort of like above, but it was a K group. I put a little basket in front of each one of them and if they were doing the right thing, I put a little plastic counting bear in the basket. I stopped the lesson 2 minutes early and we would count the bears/make a big deal of how many they got (it didn't mean anything-like not connected to a prize or reward or anything). I set a visual timer and that's how long they had to play with their bears.

-I don't love doing this, but I had one group earn 5 minutes of completely free technology time- i.e. it didn't have to be academic and they could go on youtube, etc. This group was so rough that it was worth giving up 5 minutes of instructional time in order to be able to actually teach/get something done with the other minutes.

I've had several teammates over the years do the "money" thing where kids can earn/lose money depending on their behavior. Nothing wrong with it; just for me, this falls under "complex system that I won't use unless I have to" type thing/not something I'd spend every group time doing. Keeping track of it seems like a PITA. I also don't spend money on my classroom, so I wouldn't want to have to buy the prizes.


Senior Member

I know some students love things like sitting where they want, lunch with the teacher, free time. Those could be prizes to earn instead of toys.


Senior Member
I think you have had some great suggestions. I would also like to say do not give out prizes that will cost you money or time. I was a classroom teacher but I know that our pull out teachers also did not give out trinkets. For a small group, earning a game is a good motivator. I had them earn letters that spelled out a word like Extra so it could mean extra game, or free time etc. At the beginning of the year make it a little easier to earn the reward so they know it will really happen. I also never took a letter away because I felt if they earned it they shouldn’t lose it for a mistake. Sometimes that was hard, but it really built trust with my poorly behaved students and changed their behaviors.

If you do individual rewards some I used were write with markers or pens, sit in the teacher’s chair, or choose a seat. I had alternative seating like ball chairs, wobble stools, and floor mats. Also, I had bring a stuffed animal if some of your students are young.
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Senior Member
Does your school use Class Dojo? If yes, you can be added to the homeroom teachers class. While I personally do not like reward systems, this at least would provide consistency between both rooms. I find that when the kids know their homeroom teacher knows what's going on in my room, they are more likely to behave. It also makes it very easy to communicate with parents.

I am a pull out teacher and will be using Dojo for the first time this year. Our homeroom teachers have been using it for a while. I seldom have issues, so I plan on using it sparingly. The last couple years have changed things! My philosophy is that kids know how to make good choices and my expectation is that they will.