6 Behavior Management Strategies for Schools

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure an optimal learning environment.
You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong?
Featuring 
Jordan Pruitt

You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong? 

Well, unfortunately, that answer is a lot could go wrong! 

There are 30 variables that may or may not cooperate with those plans, and success rides on how well your teacher can manage those variables. What are they? They are the students! 

Their behavior can make or break a perfect lesson, and how well your staff can manage the room will determine how much learning can be accomplished. Enter behavior management.

What is Behavior Management?

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure students have an optimal learning environment. In other words, behavior management focuses on creating conditions for the lesson to succeed.

Now, what needs to happen (or not happen) to create those conditions? Keep reading to learn some proven behavior management strategies.

Behavior Management Strategies

1. Set the routine.

Emphasize the importance of routines to your staff. The class should have a rhythm or flow to it that is expected and known by students. 

  • How does class start? 
  • Do students know how to transition between segments of class? 
  • Do they understand routines for asking for supplies or hall passes or if they need help? 

Invest some time early in the year on teaching kids how to do school. It may seem redundant or obvious, but it will pay dividends and save you time throughout the semester. 

This goes beyond the classroom as well. Teach students how to transition between rooms, proper cafe etiquette, and how to properly behave during events such as assemblies or pep rallies. This is a staple of PBIS best practices and a good PBIS program.

2. Establish clear expectations.

Does the lesson require something different than a normal routine? Your teachers need to be very clear and upfront about what it is they need students to do. 

A Science teacher needs to be a pro at this one as they often have supplies involved in lessons. 

  • How will they get those? 
  • Who will get them? 
  • What can they do with them…what can’t they? 

By setting clear expectations you aren’t just setting the tone for a smooth lesson, you're ensuring a safe lesson as well. Consider modeling this during faculty and staff meetings. 

Put expectations on the projector and take great care to explain the how and why of things to your staff.

3. Build relationships.

This one is the secret sauce of good classrooms and great schools. We need to invest in kids. Not monetarily, but in positive behavior supports. Think of it as deposits toward your culture. 

Greeting students at the door is easy. Offer a fist bump, or a handshake, or at least air five! Say their name. This one is a big one, people relate well to other people who state their name. Make it your mission to learn one thing about each of your students. Use that knowledge! Ask them how soccer went last Saturday, or when the first night of the new school play is, or if they are excited about the new video game release. 

It doesn’t matter what, but they will take note that you remember and care enough to ask. A good rule to live by here is that we need to strive for 5 positive interactions for every redirect. Students will have bad days. 

Your ability to help them through that and to re-engage in the lesson or the day is going to largely depend on how well you built that relationship on the good days before. Invest wisely.

4. Focus on proximity over volume.

When a student appears to be off task, how do you redirect? Do you even need to? The simplest way to get a student back on track is often just by closing the distance between you and the student's desk. 

Put this in your teachers' toolbox to avoid dealing with power struggle referrals. This is a subtle social cue to the student that the teacher is aware they are off task, and for most students, they will correct this themselves. 

Obviously, this won’t cure all ills, but it is the least impactful place to start. 

Set the room so they can move about easily. Teachers need to be mobile during the lesson (get their steps in!). Active supervision means being active in the room. This also allows them to redirect a student 1v1 instead of in front of the entire group. This is much more likely to result in a positive result. 

As a principal or a school leader, we need to model this. Be mobile during the day, talking to students and building rapport so you can redirect without creating more issues than already exist.

5. Engage all students.

Emphasize to your staff that ALL means ALL when it comes to our kids. We need to strive to reach all our students. Find ways to keep all students engaged in the class. Have a system for calling on students to answer questions. 

Sometimes this comes rather naturally, sometimes you need a specific system. Either way, be intentional. 

If a student knows they may be called on to answer or go to the board and solve a problem they are more likely to be engaged in the learning. There are many ways to keep everyone involved at once as well. 

Technology has made this seamless in the classroom as you can create digital polls or message boards that everyone can respond to. Once again model this behavior in your building, go out of your way to include students in school events that aren’t normally highlighted. 

6. Praise.

Praise the behaviors you want to see more of. Thank students for having materials out and ready on the bell. Thank students for using appropriate procedures. Praise will be noticed and internalized. 

When I had a class that was less likely to throw hands up to answer questions I always pulled out a big bag of Jolly Ranchers to toss out for those who participated in the discussion. Have fun with it, and there is no age limit to having fun in the classroom. My seniors loved the Jolly Rancher discussions just as much as my 8th graders did. Maybe more so! 

As a school leader, I do this all day long. My goal is to not walk by a student without creating a positive interaction. A simple “thank you” for following our school-wide expectations accompanied by a “good morning” goes a long way in creating fidelity in your systems.

Behavior Management & Your School

These are all strategies that will help your teachers maintain an organized and productive classroom environment as well as positive school culture. I want to leave you with a couple of thoughts that are sometimes overlooked with behavior management concerns. 

The first of which is the room itself. When you are conducting walkthroughs in classrooms, are you considering the space? Is the physical layout conducive to success? Can you move about the room freely? Are the seating charts well thought out? Is the hall pass a little too convenient to access? Can you see all students at all times? Can they see the teacher and the board? 

Every room is a little different. Spend some time thinking through how you and the students will move through the room. The best advice for this is to try and sit in the room as a student would. Try to access the things they need, can you do so without causing a disruption? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

This is a great way to assist new teachers, as this is a concept that isn’t taught in teacher preparation programs but veteran teachers have often mastered it.

The last thing I want to leave you with is the redirection itself. How does your staff get a group back on track once they have swerved off course? Do they wait for them? Do they use the give me 5 methods? Do they have a special clap? They need an attention-getter – and one that won’t cause more negative interactions than necessary. 

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as students are familiar with what it is and what it means. Include the redirection method in your expectations and routines!

Be creative with this, make it yours, or let students help you come up with something they agree they will respond to. The more student ownership in the routines the better because the best classrooms and schools function as a small community would. 

When they take responsibility for that community your academic ceiling will rise dramatically. If your new to behavior management you should take a look at our resources on how to start your PBIS program.

6 Behavior Management Strategies for Schools

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure an optimal learning environment.
Chapter 
 | 
 🚀
 🥤

You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong? 

Well, unfortunately, that answer is a lot could go wrong! 

There are 30 variables that may or may not cooperate with those plans, and success rides on how well your teacher can manage those variables. What are they? They are the students! 

Their behavior can make or break a perfect lesson, and how well your staff can manage the room will determine how much learning can be accomplished. Enter behavior management.

What is Behavior Management?

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure students have an optimal learning environment. In other words, behavior management focuses on creating conditions for the lesson to succeed.

Now, what needs to happen (or not happen) to create those conditions? Keep reading to learn some proven behavior management strategies.

Behavior Management Strategies

1. Set the routine.

Emphasize the importance of routines to your staff. The class should have a rhythm or flow to it that is expected and known by students. 

  • How does class start? 
  • Do students know how to transition between segments of class? 
  • Do they understand routines for asking for supplies or hall passes or if they need help? 

Invest some time early in the year on teaching kids how to do school. It may seem redundant or obvious, but it will pay dividends and save you time throughout the semester. 

This goes beyond the classroom as well. Teach students how to transition between rooms, proper cafe etiquette, and how to properly behave during events such as assemblies or pep rallies. This is a staple of PBIS best practices and a good PBIS program.

2. Establish clear expectations.

Does the lesson require something different than a normal routine? Your teachers need to be very clear and upfront about what it is they need students to do. 

A Science teacher needs to be a pro at this one as they often have supplies involved in lessons. 

  • How will they get those? 
  • Who will get them? 
  • What can they do with them…what can’t they? 

By setting clear expectations you aren’t just setting the tone for a smooth lesson, you're ensuring a safe lesson as well. Consider modeling this during faculty and staff meetings. 

Put expectations on the projector and take great care to explain the how and why of things to your staff.

3. Build relationships.

This one is the secret sauce of good classrooms and great schools. We need to invest in kids. Not monetarily, but in positive behavior supports. Think of it as deposits toward your culture. 

Greeting students at the door is easy. Offer a fist bump, or a handshake, or at least air five! Say their name. This one is a big one, people relate well to other people who state their name. Make it your mission to learn one thing about each of your students. Use that knowledge! Ask them how soccer went last Saturday, or when the first night of the new school play is, or if they are excited about the new video game release. 

It doesn’t matter what, but they will take note that you remember and care enough to ask. A good rule to live by here is that we need to strive for 5 positive interactions for every redirect. Students will have bad days. 

Your ability to help them through that and to re-engage in the lesson or the day is going to largely depend on how well you built that relationship on the good days before. Invest wisely.

4. Focus on proximity over volume.

When a student appears to be off task, how do you redirect? Do you even need to? The simplest way to get a student back on track is often just by closing the distance between you and the student's desk. 

Put this in your teachers' toolbox to avoid dealing with power struggle referrals. This is a subtle social cue to the student that the teacher is aware they are off task, and for most students, they will correct this themselves. 

Obviously, this won’t cure all ills, but it is the least impactful place to start. 

Set the room so they can move about easily. Teachers need to be mobile during the lesson (get their steps in!). Active supervision means being active in the room. This also allows them to redirect a student 1v1 instead of in front of the entire group. This is much more likely to result in a positive result. 

As a principal or a school leader, we need to model this. Be mobile during the day, talking to students and building rapport so you can redirect without creating more issues than already exist.

5. Engage all students.

Emphasize to your staff that ALL means ALL when it comes to our kids. We need to strive to reach all our students. Find ways to keep all students engaged in the class. Have a system for calling on students to answer questions. 

Sometimes this comes rather naturally, sometimes you need a specific system. Either way, be intentional. 

If a student knows they may be called on to answer or go to the board and solve a problem they are more likely to be engaged in the learning. There are many ways to keep everyone involved at once as well. 

Technology has made this seamless in the classroom as you can create digital polls or message boards that everyone can respond to. Once again model this behavior in your building, go out of your way to include students in school events that aren’t normally highlighted. 

6. Praise.

Praise the behaviors you want to see more of. Thank students for having materials out and ready on the bell. Thank students for using appropriate procedures. Praise will be noticed and internalized. 

When I had a class that was less likely to throw hands up to answer questions I always pulled out a big bag of Jolly Ranchers to toss out for those who participated in the discussion. Have fun with it, and there is no age limit to having fun in the classroom. My seniors loved the Jolly Rancher discussions just as much as my 8th graders did. Maybe more so! 

As a school leader, I do this all day long. My goal is to not walk by a student without creating a positive interaction. A simple “thank you” for following our school-wide expectations accompanied by a “good morning” goes a long way in creating fidelity in your systems.

Behavior Management & Your School

These are all strategies that will help your teachers maintain an organized and productive classroom environment as well as positive school culture. I want to leave you with a couple of thoughts that are sometimes overlooked with behavior management concerns. 

The first of which is the room itself. When you are conducting walkthroughs in classrooms, are you considering the space? Is the physical layout conducive to success? Can you move about the room freely? Are the seating charts well thought out? Is the hall pass a little too convenient to access? Can you see all students at all times? Can they see the teacher and the board? 

Every room is a little different. Spend some time thinking through how you and the students will move through the room. The best advice for this is to try and sit in the room as a student would. Try to access the things they need, can you do so without causing a disruption? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

This is a great way to assist new teachers, as this is a concept that isn’t taught in teacher preparation programs but veteran teachers have often mastered it.

The last thing I want to leave you with is the redirection itself. How does your staff get a group back on track once they have swerved off course? Do they wait for them? Do they use the give me 5 methods? Do they have a special clap? They need an attention-getter – and one that won’t cause more negative interactions than necessary. 

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as students are familiar with what it is and what it means. Include the redirection method in your expectations and routines!

Be creative with this, make it yours, or let students help you come up with something they agree they will respond to. The more student ownership in the routines the better because the best classrooms and schools function as a small community would. 

When they take responsibility for that community your academic ceiling will rise dramatically. If your new to behavior management you should take a look at our resources on how to start your PBIS program.

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6 Behavior Management Strategies for Schools

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure an optimal learning environment.
By 
Jordan Pruitt
 | 
April 6, 2022
Register Now

About the Event

You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong? 

Well, unfortunately, that answer is a lot could go wrong! 

There are 30 variables that may or may not cooperate with those plans, and success rides on how well your teacher can manage those variables. What are they? They are the students! 

Their behavior can make or break a perfect lesson, and how well your staff can manage the room will determine how much learning can be accomplished. Enter behavior management.

What is Behavior Management?

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure students have an optimal learning environment. In other words, behavior management focuses on creating conditions for the lesson to succeed.

Now, what needs to happen (or not happen) to create those conditions? Keep reading to learn some proven behavior management strategies.

Behavior Management Strategies

1. Set the routine.

Emphasize the importance of routines to your staff. The class should have a rhythm or flow to it that is expected and known by students. 

  • How does class start? 
  • Do students know how to transition between segments of class? 
  • Do they understand routines for asking for supplies or hall passes or if they need help? 

Invest some time early in the year on teaching kids how to do school. It may seem redundant or obvious, but it will pay dividends and save you time throughout the semester. 

This goes beyond the classroom as well. Teach students how to transition between rooms, proper cafe etiquette, and how to properly behave during events such as assemblies or pep rallies. This is a staple of PBIS best practices and a good PBIS program.

2. Establish clear expectations.

Does the lesson require something different than a normal routine? Your teachers need to be very clear and upfront about what it is they need students to do. 

A Science teacher needs to be a pro at this one as they often have supplies involved in lessons. 

  • How will they get those? 
  • Who will get them? 
  • What can they do with them…what can’t they? 

By setting clear expectations you aren’t just setting the tone for a smooth lesson, you're ensuring a safe lesson as well. Consider modeling this during faculty and staff meetings. 

Put expectations on the projector and take great care to explain the how and why of things to your staff.

3. Build relationships.

This one is the secret sauce of good classrooms and great schools. We need to invest in kids. Not monetarily, but in positive behavior supports. Think of it as deposits toward your culture. 

Greeting students at the door is easy. Offer a fist bump, or a handshake, or at least air five! Say their name. This one is a big one, people relate well to other people who state their name. Make it your mission to learn one thing about each of your students. Use that knowledge! Ask them how soccer went last Saturday, or when the first night of the new school play is, or if they are excited about the new video game release. 

It doesn’t matter what, but they will take note that you remember and care enough to ask. A good rule to live by here is that we need to strive for 5 positive interactions for every redirect. Students will have bad days. 

Your ability to help them through that and to re-engage in the lesson or the day is going to largely depend on how well you built that relationship on the good days before. Invest wisely.

4. Focus on proximity over volume.

When a student appears to be off task, how do you redirect? Do you even need to? The simplest way to get a student back on track is often just by closing the distance between you and the student's desk. 

Put this in your teachers' toolbox to avoid dealing with power struggle referrals. This is a subtle social cue to the student that the teacher is aware they are off task, and for most students, they will correct this themselves. 

Obviously, this won’t cure all ills, but it is the least impactful place to start. 

Set the room so they can move about easily. Teachers need to be mobile during the lesson (get their steps in!). Active supervision means being active in the room. This also allows them to redirect a student 1v1 instead of in front of the entire group. This is much more likely to result in a positive result. 

As a principal or a school leader, we need to model this. Be mobile during the day, talking to students and building rapport so you can redirect without creating more issues than already exist.

5. Engage all students.

Emphasize to your staff that ALL means ALL when it comes to our kids. We need to strive to reach all our students. Find ways to keep all students engaged in the class. Have a system for calling on students to answer questions. 

Sometimes this comes rather naturally, sometimes you need a specific system. Either way, be intentional. 

If a student knows they may be called on to answer or go to the board and solve a problem they are more likely to be engaged in the learning. There are many ways to keep everyone involved at once as well. 

Technology has made this seamless in the classroom as you can create digital polls or message boards that everyone can respond to. Once again model this behavior in your building, go out of your way to include students in school events that aren’t normally highlighted. 

6. Praise.

Praise the behaviors you want to see more of. Thank students for having materials out and ready on the bell. Thank students for using appropriate procedures. Praise will be noticed and internalized. 

When I had a class that was less likely to throw hands up to answer questions I always pulled out a big bag of Jolly Ranchers to toss out for those who participated in the discussion. Have fun with it, and there is no age limit to having fun in the classroom. My seniors loved the Jolly Rancher discussions just as much as my 8th graders did. Maybe more so! 

As a school leader, I do this all day long. My goal is to not walk by a student without creating a positive interaction. A simple “thank you” for following our school-wide expectations accompanied by a “good morning” goes a long way in creating fidelity in your systems.

Behavior Management & Your School

These are all strategies that will help your teachers maintain an organized and productive classroom environment as well as positive school culture. I want to leave you with a couple of thoughts that are sometimes overlooked with behavior management concerns. 

The first of which is the room itself. When you are conducting walkthroughs in classrooms, are you considering the space? Is the physical layout conducive to success? Can you move about the room freely? Are the seating charts well thought out? Is the hall pass a little too convenient to access? Can you see all students at all times? Can they see the teacher and the board? 

Every room is a little different. Spend some time thinking through how you and the students will move through the room. The best advice for this is to try and sit in the room as a student would. Try to access the things they need, can you do so without causing a disruption? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

This is a great way to assist new teachers, as this is a concept that isn’t taught in teacher preparation programs but veteran teachers have often mastered it.

The last thing I want to leave you with is the redirection itself. How does your staff get a group back on track once they have swerved off course? Do they wait for them? Do they use the give me 5 methods? Do they have a special clap? They need an attention-getter – and one that won’t cause more negative interactions than necessary. 

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as students are familiar with what it is and what it means. Include the redirection method in your expectations and routines!

Be creative with this, make it yours, or let students help you come up with something they agree they will respond to. The more student ownership in the routines the better because the best classrooms and schools function as a small community would. 

When they take responsibility for that community your academic ceiling will rise dramatically. If your new to behavior management you should take a look at our resources on how to start your PBIS program.

Register Now

About the Event

You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong? 

Well, unfortunately, that answer is a lot could go wrong! 

There are 30 variables that may or may not cooperate with those plans, and success rides on how well your teacher can manage those variables. What are they? They are the students! 

Their behavior can make or break a perfect lesson, and how well your staff can manage the room will determine how much learning can be accomplished. Enter behavior management.

What is Behavior Management?

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure students have an optimal learning environment. In other words, behavior management focuses on creating conditions for the lesson to succeed.

Now, what needs to happen (or not happen) to create those conditions? Keep reading to learn some proven behavior management strategies.

Behavior Management Strategies

1. Set the routine.

Emphasize the importance of routines to your staff. The class should have a rhythm or flow to it that is expected and known by students. 

  • How does class start? 
  • Do students know how to transition between segments of class? 
  • Do they understand routines for asking for supplies or hall passes or if they need help? 

Invest some time early in the year on teaching kids how to do school. It may seem redundant or obvious, but it will pay dividends and save you time throughout the semester. 

This goes beyond the classroom as well. Teach students how to transition between rooms, proper cafe etiquette, and how to properly behave during events such as assemblies or pep rallies. This is a staple of PBIS best practices and a good PBIS program.

2. Establish clear expectations.

Does the lesson require something different than a normal routine? Your teachers need to be very clear and upfront about what it is they need students to do. 

A Science teacher needs to be a pro at this one as they often have supplies involved in lessons. 

  • How will they get those? 
  • Who will get them? 
  • What can they do with them…what can’t they? 

By setting clear expectations you aren’t just setting the tone for a smooth lesson, you're ensuring a safe lesson as well. Consider modeling this during faculty and staff meetings. 

Put expectations on the projector and take great care to explain the how and why of things to your staff.

3. Build relationships.

This one is the secret sauce of good classrooms and great schools. We need to invest in kids. Not monetarily, but in positive behavior supports. Think of it as deposits toward your culture. 

Greeting students at the door is easy. Offer a fist bump, or a handshake, or at least air five! Say their name. This one is a big one, people relate well to other people who state their name. Make it your mission to learn one thing about each of your students. Use that knowledge! Ask them how soccer went last Saturday, or when the first night of the new school play is, or if they are excited about the new video game release. 

It doesn’t matter what, but they will take note that you remember and care enough to ask. A good rule to live by here is that we need to strive for 5 positive interactions for every redirect. Students will have bad days. 

Your ability to help them through that and to re-engage in the lesson or the day is going to largely depend on how well you built that relationship on the good days before. Invest wisely.

4. Focus on proximity over volume.

When a student appears to be off task, how do you redirect? Do you even need to? The simplest way to get a student back on track is often just by closing the distance between you and the student's desk. 

Put this in your teachers' toolbox to avoid dealing with power struggle referrals. This is a subtle social cue to the student that the teacher is aware they are off task, and for most students, they will correct this themselves. 

Obviously, this won’t cure all ills, but it is the least impactful place to start. 

Set the room so they can move about easily. Teachers need to be mobile during the lesson (get their steps in!). Active supervision means being active in the room. This also allows them to redirect a student 1v1 instead of in front of the entire group. This is much more likely to result in a positive result. 

As a principal or a school leader, we need to model this. Be mobile during the day, talking to students and building rapport so you can redirect without creating more issues than already exist.

5. Engage all students.

Emphasize to your staff that ALL means ALL when it comes to our kids. We need to strive to reach all our students. Find ways to keep all students engaged in the class. Have a system for calling on students to answer questions. 

Sometimes this comes rather naturally, sometimes you need a specific system. Either way, be intentional. 

If a student knows they may be called on to answer or go to the board and solve a problem they are more likely to be engaged in the learning. There are many ways to keep everyone involved at once as well. 

Technology has made this seamless in the classroom as you can create digital polls or message boards that everyone can respond to. Once again model this behavior in your building, go out of your way to include students in school events that aren’t normally highlighted. 

6. Praise.

Praise the behaviors you want to see more of. Thank students for having materials out and ready on the bell. Thank students for using appropriate procedures. Praise will be noticed and internalized. 

When I had a class that was less likely to throw hands up to answer questions I always pulled out a big bag of Jolly Ranchers to toss out for those who participated in the discussion. Have fun with it, and there is no age limit to having fun in the classroom. My seniors loved the Jolly Rancher discussions just as much as my 8th graders did. Maybe more so! 

As a school leader, I do this all day long. My goal is to not walk by a student without creating a positive interaction. A simple “thank you” for following our school-wide expectations accompanied by a “good morning” goes a long way in creating fidelity in your systems.

Behavior Management & Your School

These are all strategies that will help your teachers maintain an organized and productive classroom environment as well as positive school culture. I want to leave you with a couple of thoughts that are sometimes overlooked with behavior management concerns. 

The first of which is the room itself. When you are conducting walkthroughs in classrooms, are you considering the space? Is the physical layout conducive to success? Can you move about the room freely? Are the seating charts well thought out? Is the hall pass a little too convenient to access? Can you see all students at all times? Can they see the teacher and the board? 

Every room is a little different. Spend some time thinking through how you and the students will move through the room. The best advice for this is to try and sit in the room as a student would. Try to access the things they need, can you do so without causing a disruption? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

This is a great way to assist new teachers, as this is a concept that isn’t taught in teacher preparation programs but veteran teachers have often mastered it.

The last thing I want to leave you with is the redirection itself. How does your staff get a group back on track once they have swerved off course? Do they wait for them? Do they use the give me 5 methods? Do they have a special clap? They need an attention-getter – and one that won’t cause more negative interactions than necessary. 

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as students are familiar with what it is and what it means. Include the redirection method in your expectations and routines!

Be creative with this, make it yours, or let students help you come up with something they agree they will respond to. The more student ownership in the routines the better because the best classrooms and schools function as a small community would. 

When they take responsibility for that community your academic ceiling will rise dramatically. If your new to behavior management you should take a look at our resources on how to start your PBIS program.

About the Presenter

Jordan resides in Lexington, Kentucky. He has experience in Public Education as an Administrator, Science Teacher, and as a Coach. He has extensive experience with School Discipline, PBIS, SEL, Restorative Practices, MTSS, and Trauma-Informed Care.


6 Behavior Management Strategies for Schools

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure an optimal learning environment.
By 
Jordan Pruitt
 | 
April 6, 2022

You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong?

You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong? 

Well, unfortunately, that answer is a lot could go wrong! 

There are 30 variables that may or may not cooperate with those plans, and success rides on how well your teacher can manage those variables. What are they? They are the students! 

Their behavior can make or break a perfect lesson, and how well your staff can manage the room will determine how much learning can be accomplished. Enter behavior management.

What is Behavior Management?

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure students have an optimal learning environment. In other words, behavior management focuses on creating conditions for the lesson to succeed.

Now, what needs to happen (or not happen) to create those conditions? Keep reading to learn some proven behavior management strategies.

Behavior Management Strategies

1. Set the routine.

Emphasize the importance of routines to your staff. The class should have a rhythm or flow to it that is expected and known by students. 

  • How does class start? 
  • Do students know how to transition between segments of class? 
  • Do they understand routines for asking for supplies or hall passes or if they need help? 

Invest some time early in the year on teaching kids how to do school. It may seem redundant or obvious, but it will pay dividends and save you time throughout the semester. 

This goes beyond the classroom as well. Teach students how to transition between rooms, proper cafe etiquette, and how to properly behave during events such as assemblies or pep rallies. This is a staple of PBIS best practices and a good PBIS program.

2. Establish clear expectations.

Does the lesson require something different than a normal routine? Your teachers need to be very clear and upfront about what it is they need students to do. 

A Science teacher needs to be a pro at this one as they often have supplies involved in lessons. 

  • How will they get those? 
  • Who will get them? 
  • What can they do with them…what can’t they? 

By setting clear expectations you aren’t just setting the tone for a smooth lesson, you're ensuring a safe lesson as well. Consider modeling this during faculty and staff meetings. 

Put expectations on the projector and take great care to explain the how and why of things to your staff.

3. Build relationships.

This one is the secret sauce of good classrooms and great schools. We need to invest in kids. Not monetarily, but in positive behavior supports. Think of it as deposits toward your culture. 

Greeting students at the door is easy. Offer a fist bump, or a handshake, or at least air five! Say their name. This one is a big one, people relate well to other people who state their name. Make it your mission to learn one thing about each of your students. Use that knowledge! Ask them how soccer went last Saturday, or when the first night of the new school play is, or if they are excited about the new video game release. 

It doesn’t matter what, but they will take note that you remember and care enough to ask. A good rule to live by here is that we need to strive for 5 positive interactions for every redirect. Students will have bad days. 

Your ability to help them through that and to re-engage in the lesson or the day is going to largely depend on how well you built that relationship on the good days before. Invest wisely.

4. Focus on proximity over volume.

When a student appears to be off task, how do you redirect? Do you even need to? The simplest way to get a student back on track is often just by closing the distance between you and the student's desk. 

Put this in your teachers' toolbox to avoid dealing with power struggle referrals. This is a subtle social cue to the student that the teacher is aware they are off task, and for most students, they will correct this themselves. 

Obviously, this won’t cure all ills, but it is the least impactful place to start. 

Set the room so they can move about easily. Teachers need to be mobile during the lesson (get their steps in!). Active supervision means being active in the room. This also allows them to redirect a student 1v1 instead of in front of the entire group. This is much more likely to result in a positive result. 

As a principal or a school leader, we need to model this. Be mobile during the day, talking to students and building rapport so you can redirect without creating more issues than already exist.

5. Engage all students.

Emphasize to your staff that ALL means ALL when it comes to our kids. We need to strive to reach all our students. Find ways to keep all students engaged in the class. Have a system for calling on students to answer questions. 

Sometimes this comes rather naturally, sometimes you need a specific system. Either way, be intentional. 

If a student knows they may be called on to answer or go to the board and solve a problem they are more likely to be engaged in the learning. There are many ways to keep everyone involved at once as well. 

Technology has made this seamless in the classroom as you can create digital polls or message boards that everyone can respond to. Once again model this behavior in your building, go out of your way to include students in school events that aren’t normally highlighted. 

6. Praise.

Praise the behaviors you want to see more of. Thank students for having materials out and ready on the bell. Thank students for using appropriate procedures. Praise will be noticed and internalized. 

When I had a class that was less likely to throw hands up to answer questions I always pulled out a big bag of Jolly Ranchers to toss out for those who participated in the discussion. Have fun with it, and there is no age limit to having fun in the classroom. My seniors loved the Jolly Rancher discussions just as much as my 8th graders did. Maybe more so! 

As a school leader, I do this all day long. My goal is to not walk by a student without creating a positive interaction. A simple “thank you” for following our school-wide expectations accompanied by a “good morning” goes a long way in creating fidelity in your systems.

Behavior Management & Your School

These are all strategies that will help your teachers maintain an organized and productive classroom environment as well as positive school culture. I want to leave you with a couple of thoughts that are sometimes overlooked with behavior management concerns. 

The first of which is the room itself. When you are conducting walkthroughs in classrooms, are you considering the space? Is the physical layout conducive to success? Can you move about the room freely? Are the seating charts well thought out? Is the hall pass a little too convenient to access? Can you see all students at all times? Can they see the teacher and the board? 

Every room is a little different. Spend some time thinking through how you and the students will move through the room. The best advice for this is to try and sit in the room as a student would. Try to access the things they need, can you do so without causing a disruption? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

This is a great way to assist new teachers, as this is a concept that isn’t taught in teacher preparation programs but veteran teachers have often mastered it.

The last thing I want to leave you with is the redirection itself. How does your staff get a group back on track once they have swerved off course? Do they wait for them? Do they use the give me 5 methods? Do they have a special clap? They need an attention-getter – and one that won’t cause more negative interactions than necessary. 

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as students are familiar with what it is and what it means. Include the redirection method in your expectations and routines!

Be creative with this, make it yours, or let students help you come up with something they agree they will respond to. The more student ownership in the routines the better because the best classrooms and schools function as a small community would. 

When they take responsibility for that community your academic ceiling will rise dramatically. If your new to behavior management you should take a look at our resources on how to start your PBIS program.

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6 Behavior Management Strategies for Schools

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure an optimal learning environment.
By 
Jordan Pruitt
 | 
April 6, 2022

You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong?

You're observing a new teacher. The lesson plan is on point. They have the room set up for a great activity. The learning targets are clear and they are ready to TEACH! They have included everything. Real-world connections, learning extensions, and even created a fun exit slip where the big idea of the day can be applied to solve a real-life problem. What could go wrong? 

Well, unfortunately, that answer is a lot could go wrong! 

There are 30 variables that may or may not cooperate with those plans, and success rides on how well your teacher can manage those variables. What are they? They are the students! 

Their behavior can make or break a perfect lesson, and how well your staff can manage the room will determine how much learning can be accomplished. Enter behavior management.

What is Behavior Management?

Behavior management is a plan or set of actions that a teacher can utilize to ensure students have an optimal learning environment. In other words, behavior management focuses on creating conditions for the lesson to succeed.

Now, what needs to happen (or not happen) to create those conditions? Keep reading to learn some proven behavior management strategies.

Behavior Management Strategies

1. Set the routine.

Emphasize the importance of routines to your staff. The class should have a rhythm or flow to it that is expected and known by students. 

  • How does class start? 
  • Do students know how to transition between segments of class? 
  • Do they understand routines for asking for supplies or hall passes or if they need help? 

Invest some time early in the year on teaching kids how to do school. It may seem redundant or obvious, but it will pay dividends and save you time throughout the semester. 

This goes beyond the classroom as well. Teach students how to transition between rooms, proper cafe etiquette, and how to properly behave during events such as assemblies or pep rallies. This is a staple of PBIS best practices and a good PBIS program.

2. Establish clear expectations.

Does the lesson require something different than a normal routine? Your teachers need to be very clear and upfront about what it is they need students to do. 

A Science teacher needs to be a pro at this one as they often have supplies involved in lessons. 

  • How will they get those? 
  • Who will get them? 
  • What can they do with them…what can’t they? 

By setting clear expectations you aren’t just setting the tone for a smooth lesson, you're ensuring a safe lesson as well. Consider modeling this during faculty and staff meetings. 

Put expectations on the projector and take great care to explain the how and why of things to your staff.

3. Build relationships.

This one is the secret sauce of good classrooms and great schools. We need to invest in kids. Not monetarily, but in positive behavior supports. Think of it as deposits toward your culture. 

Greeting students at the door is easy. Offer a fist bump, or a handshake, or at least air five! Say their name. This one is a big one, people relate well to other people who state their name. Make it your mission to learn one thing about each of your students. Use that knowledge! Ask them how soccer went last Saturday, or when the first night of the new school play is, or if they are excited about the new video game release. 

It doesn’t matter what, but they will take note that you remember and care enough to ask. A good rule to live by here is that we need to strive for 5 positive interactions for every redirect. Students will have bad days. 

Your ability to help them through that and to re-engage in the lesson or the day is going to largely depend on how well you built that relationship on the good days before. Invest wisely.

4. Focus on proximity over volume.

When a student appears to be off task, how do you redirect? Do you even need to? The simplest way to get a student back on track is often just by closing the distance between you and the student's desk. 

Put this in your teachers' toolbox to avoid dealing with power struggle referrals. This is a subtle social cue to the student that the teacher is aware they are off task, and for most students, they will correct this themselves. 

Obviously, this won’t cure all ills, but it is the least impactful place to start. 

Set the room so they can move about easily. Teachers need to be mobile during the lesson (get their steps in!). Active supervision means being active in the room. This also allows them to redirect a student 1v1 instead of in front of the entire group. This is much more likely to result in a positive result. 

As a principal or a school leader, we need to model this. Be mobile during the day, talking to students and building rapport so you can redirect without creating more issues than already exist.

5. Engage all students.

Emphasize to your staff that ALL means ALL when it comes to our kids. We need to strive to reach all our students. Find ways to keep all students engaged in the class. Have a system for calling on students to answer questions. 

Sometimes this comes rather naturally, sometimes you need a specific system. Either way, be intentional. 

If a student knows they may be called on to answer or go to the board and solve a problem they are more likely to be engaged in the learning. There are many ways to keep everyone involved at once as well. 

Technology has made this seamless in the classroom as you can create digital polls or message boards that everyone can respond to. Once again model this behavior in your building, go out of your way to include students in school events that aren’t normally highlighted. 

6. Praise.

Praise the behaviors you want to see more of. Thank students for having materials out and ready on the bell. Thank students for using appropriate procedures. Praise will be noticed and internalized. 

When I had a class that was less likely to throw hands up to answer questions I always pulled out a big bag of Jolly Ranchers to toss out for those who participated in the discussion. Have fun with it, and there is no age limit to having fun in the classroom. My seniors loved the Jolly Rancher discussions just as much as my 8th graders did. Maybe more so! 

As a school leader, I do this all day long. My goal is to not walk by a student without creating a positive interaction. A simple “thank you” for following our school-wide expectations accompanied by a “good morning” goes a long way in creating fidelity in your systems.

Behavior Management & Your School

These are all strategies that will help your teachers maintain an organized and productive classroom environment as well as positive school culture. I want to leave you with a couple of thoughts that are sometimes overlooked with behavior management concerns. 

The first of which is the room itself. When you are conducting walkthroughs in classrooms, are you considering the space? Is the physical layout conducive to success? Can you move about the room freely? Are the seating charts well thought out? Is the hall pass a little too convenient to access? Can you see all students at all times? Can they see the teacher and the board? 

Every room is a little different. Spend some time thinking through how you and the students will move through the room. The best advice for this is to try and sit in the room as a student would. Try to access the things they need, can you do so without causing a disruption? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

This is a great way to assist new teachers, as this is a concept that isn’t taught in teacher preparation programs but veteran teachers have often mastered it.

The last thing I want to leave you with is the redirection itself. How does your staff get a group back on track once they have swerved off course? Do they wait for them? Do they use the give me 5 methods? Do they have a special clap? They need an attention-getter – and one that won’t cause more negative interactions than necessary. 

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as students are familiar with what it is and what it means. Include the redirection method in your expectations and routines!

Be creative with this, make it yours, or let students help you come up with something they agree they will respond to. The more student ownership in the routines the better because the best classrooms and schools function as a small community would. 

When they take responsibility for that community your academic ceiling will rise dramatically. If your new to behavior management you should take a look at our resources on how to start your PBIS program.

All Reward Ideas for Students

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Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
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Grades K-8
Student
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Free
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School Dance
Grades 9-12
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Grades 3-12
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Tangible
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Grades 9-12
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Grades 9-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 9-12
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Grades K-12
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Grades 9-12
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Grades K-5
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Low Cost/DIY
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Grades 3-12
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Event
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Grades 6-12
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Event
Low Cost/DIY
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Grades 9-12
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Event
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Grades K-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades K-12
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Grades K-8
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Grades 3-8
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Grades K-5
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Grades K-5
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Grades K-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades K-5
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Grades K-5
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Grades 3-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades K-8
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Grades 3-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades K-12
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Movie Night
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Fake The Funk
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Music Fest
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Game Week
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STEM Field Day
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Career Day
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Grades K-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades K-12
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Grades 9-12
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Grades K-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades K-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades 9-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades K-12
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Grades 3-12
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Grades K-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 3-12
Student
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Grades 6-12
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Grades K-8
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 6-12
Class/House
Event
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Grades 3-8
Student
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Grades 6-12
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Grades 3-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
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Grades 6-8
Student
Privilege
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Grades K-12
Student
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Grades 3-12
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Grades 6-12
Student
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Grades K-12
Class/House
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Grades K-5
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Grades 3-8
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Grades K-12
Student
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Grades 3-12
Student
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Grades K-12
Class/House
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Grades 9-12
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Grades K-12
Class/House
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Teacher v Student Competition
Grades 6-12
School
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Grades K-5
Student
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Grades K-12
Student
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Grades 3-12
Class/House
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Low Cost/DIY
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Grades 3-12
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Grades 3-12
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All Virtual Reward Ideas for Schools

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Grades 6-12
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Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
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Student Spotlight Board
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
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Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
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Donate $1
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
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Virtual Talent Show. 🎤
Grades 3-12
Class/House
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Free
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Stickers
Grades K-5
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
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Grades K-12
Student
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Grades 3-12
Student
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Show & Tell
Grades K-8
Student
Privilege
Free
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Social Media Reporter
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
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Morning Meeting Leader
Grades 3-8
Student
Privilege
Free
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Virtual Field Trip
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
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Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
Student
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Grades 6-12
Class/House
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Deluxe
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Teacher Q&A
Grades K-12
Class/House
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