10 PBIS Strategies in the Classroom

PBIS strategies are proactive approaches that explicitly teach positive behavioral strategies to promote change.
By 
Katie Neumeier
 | 
April 15, 2022

“I don’t know what to do, Sam just won’t stop hitting or pushing his friends at recess”. 

“Tamara and Leslie keep blurting out in class, I can barely get through my math lesson!”. 

“The students in my third period are out of control. How do I get my students to stop having side conversations and focus on what I am teaching?” 

Maybe you have first-hand experience with similar behavioral issues at your school or have observed them in classrooms. You are not alone! 

Educators everyday experience a wide range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors that they must meet head-on to ensure student success. 

If classroom management strategies are lacking, academics will also fall short. So what can we do to ensure our students have the behavioral support they need?  

This is where PBIS comes in. 

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. It is a three-tiered framework that offers differentiated behavior support so that students are met where they are. 

With PBIS Tiers, every student receives Tier 1 behavior interventions support, which is also called universal support. If students need more specialized or targeted interventions they then would move into Tier 2 and possibly Tier 3, dependent on their needs.         

pbis tiers

Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior Management

PBIS interventions work because they are a proactive approach to behavior management. Students are only able to meet our behavior expectations if they know what they are and then consistently held to that standard. 

Where many schools fall short is leveraging punishment or consequences in an attempt to get students to behave in the way they would like them to. This is not the best practice. 

You are right in thinking that holding students accountable for behavior is crucial. But consequences alone do not actually teach kids the skill sets they need to positively improve their behavior. 

At its core, PBIS best practices encompass a proactive approach that calls for the explicit teaching of positive behavioral support to ensure a lasting change. 

PBIS Strategies 

So what does this actually look like in the classroom? Here are 10 strategies you can use to bolster your PBIS behavior plan.

1. Post the Expectations

Just as teachers use anchor charts to refer back to previously learned concepts, the school-wide expectations should also be posted in the classroom as an easy point of reference for behavior. 

Having different expectations for every classroom is not the best practice. Instead, developing school-wide expectations that are used and referenced daily within every classroom creates a unified vision for appropriate behaviors. 

This also helps students as they transition to other spaces in the school throughout the day. Consistency is key! 

2. Use Predictable Classroom Routines 

Students work best in classroom environments that have predictable and consistent classroom routines. These routines should be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the school year. 

Studies have proven that students perform better and are prone to more positive behaviors within structured environments. 

3. Teach Non-Verbal Hand Signals

These are used to help students and educators communicate while also minimizing distraction during instructional moments. 

The signals could be for needs such as using the restroom or to support classroom engagement and participation. 

This strategy only works if taught explicitly, modeled by the teacher, and practiced daily. Similar to classroom expectations, it would be helpful to have a visual of these signals posted for students to refer back to.  Here’s an example from The Happy Teacher:                                                                                                               

Non-Verbal Hamd Signals

4. Set Short Term Goals 

Just as teachers set academic goals with their students to address gaps and respond to data, the same should happen with behavior. 

How? As students and teachers have conversations about behavior (which happens on a daily basis) teachers are able to turn any observed negative behavioral pattern into a goal. 

These goals should be tied to the PBIS reward system so students are positively recognized when they work towards meeting each goal. 

Observed Behavior: Students are consistently having side conversations during the lesson.

Goal: We can show our understanding of “time and place” by talking and playing with our friends at the right time.  

5. Create Structure (Chunk & Pace) 

As mentioned earlier, most students are prone to acting out or showing disruptive behavior during unstructured moments in their day. 

A way to combat this is by having both the school day and academic lessons broken down into meaningful and well-executed chunks that are planned and paced out. The less downtime students have, the more likely positive behaviors will be maintained throughout the entirety of the school day. 

This does not mean students should not have time to decompress and take breaks. It simply means these times should be planned out in advance and a part of the student’s daily routine. If your working with younger students you should see our guide to PBIS in Elementary Schools.

6. Use Respectful Redirection 

Redirection is a very effective PBIS strategy to regain a student’s attention, but only if it is implemented correctly. The more respectful and general the redirection is, the more likely students will respond positively.

Example 1.

Instead of…“It doesn’t look like some of the class is paying attention”. 

Try…“I notice some students are distracted. Let’s take a minute to regain focus.”

Example 2.

Instead of…“I still don’t have all eyes, Pam and Carlos are you ready?”

Try…“I’ll be ready to teach as soon as I have all eyes on me. 3, 2, 1.”

Example 3.

Instead of…“Claire, I already gave directions multiple times. Why are you not following along?

Try…“Can someone raise their hand and share the direction again? Some of us aren’t ready yet.”

7. Actively Monitor

A simple way to be proactive in the classroom with behavior is to know what is going on and be aware of the learning and conversations taking place. Consistently move around the room, check for understanding, scan to ensure all students are following directions, and interact with individuals or groups. 

This strategy helps to ensure that every member of the learning environment is safe, engaged, and learning. 

8. Narrate with Reinforcing Language 

More commonly known as ‘positive narration’, this type of teacher talk is popular among educators who use responsive classroom techniques. 

It is used to show that they notice their student’s positive behaviors while also encouraging the rest of the class to follow suit. 

When using reinforcing language, make sure…

Here are examples of positive narration:

9. Design a Calming Corner

This classroom necessity is both a system and a PBIS strategy. To put it simply, the calming corner is a physical space set up in a quiet area of the classroom to help students de-escalate when upset and work through their emotions before rejoining the class. 

Calming Corners are not a punishment or a form of timeout. Instead, they offer a safe space for students to go to self-regulate and restore their self-control and focus. 

Similar to other systems within the classroom, calming strategies and the purpose behind the Calming Corner should be explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced. Here’s an example from @nic.ole.day on Instagram.

Calming Corner Example

10. Initiate Restorative Conversations using When/Then Statements

When students are not meeting behavioral expectations and logical consequences have been given, teachers should then initiate a restorative conversation. These enable teachers to maintain positive behavior supports and relationships with their students, even when there are behavioral missteps. The best practice is to model and use ‘when-then statements’ which communicate to students the expectation and the positive consequence that will come from making a better choice.

Final Thoughts

Classroom PBIS strategies are proactive, responsive, and support students as they grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. The implementation of these best practices will transform your classrooms and ensure both educators and students are successful and supported. Then if your looking for peers to bounce ideas off outside of your school can check out our resources on taking PBIS district-wide. Or if your new to behavior support we have you covered with a handy guide on creating a PBIS Store, creating rewards that rock, and even how to start your PBIS program. Want to learn all you can possibly learn about PBIS? Check out our Complete PBIS Field Guide.

Looking for a place to start your school culture journey? Check out our free PBIS template where you can download a sample to get started.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

“I don’t know what to do, Sam just won’t stop hitting or pushing his friends at recess”. 

“Tamara and Leslie keep blurting out in class, I can barely get through my math lesson!”. 

“The students in my third period are out of control. How do I get my students to stop having side conversations and focus on what I am teaching?” 

Maybe you have first-hand experience with similar behavioral issues at your school or have observed them in classrooms. You are not alone! 

Educators everyday experience a wide range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors that they must meet head-on to ensure student success. 

If classroom management strategies are lacking, academics will also fall short. So what can we do to ensure our students have the behavioral support they need?  

This is where PBIS comes in. 

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. It is a three-tiered framework that offers differentiated behavior support so that students are met where they are. 

With PBIS Tiers, every student receives Tier 1 behavior interventions support, which is also called universal support. If students need more specialized or targeted interventions they then would move into Tier 2 and possibly Tier 3, dependent on their needs.         

pbis tiers

Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior Management

PBIS interventions work because they are a proactive approach to behavior management. Students are only able to meet our behavior expectations if they know what they are and then consistently held to that standard. 

Where many schools fall short is leveraging punishment or consequences in an attempt to get students to behave in the way they would like them to. This is not the best practice. 

You are right in thinking that holding students accountable for behavior is crucial. But consequences alone do not actually teach kids the skill sets they need to positively improve their behavior. 

At its core, PBIS best practices encompass a proactive approach that calls for the explicit teaching of positive behavioral support to ensure a lasting change. 

PBIS Strategies 

So what does this actually look like in the classroom? Here are 10 strategies you can use to bolster your PBIS behavior plan.

1. Post the Expectations

Just as teachers use anchor charts to refer back to previously learned concepts, the school-wide expectations should also be posted in the classroom as an easy point of reference for behavior. 

Having different expectations for every classroom is not the best practice. Instead, developing school-wide expectations that are used and referenced daily within every classroom creates a unified vision for appropriate behaviors. 

This also helps students as they transition to other spaces in the school throughout the day. Consistency is key! 

2. Use Predictable Classroom Routines 

Students work best in classroom environments that have predictable and consistent classroom routines. These routines should be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the school year. 

Studies have proven that students perform better and are prone to more positive behaviors within structured environments. 

3. Teach Non-Verbal Hand Signals

These are used to help students and educators communicate while also minimizing distraction during instructional moments. 

The signals could be for needs such as using the restroom or to support classroom engagement and participation. 

This strategy only works if taught explicitly, modeled by the teacher, and practiced daily. Similar to classroom expectations, it would be helpful to have a visual of these signals posted for students to refer back to.  Here’s an example from The Happy Teacher:                                                                                                               

Non-Verbal Hamd Signals

4. Set Short Term Goals 

Just as teachers set academic goals with their students to address gaps and respond to data, the same should happen with behavior. 

How? As students and teachers have conversations about behavior (which happens on a daily basis) teachers are able to turn any observed negative behavioral pattern into a goal. 

These goals should be tied to the PBIS reward system so students are positively recognized when they work towards meeting each goal. 

Observed Behavior: Students are consistently having side conversations during the lesson.

Goal: We can show our understanding of “time and place” by talking and playing with our friends at the right time.  

5. Create Structure (Chunk & Pace) 

As mentioned earlier, most students are prone to acting out or showing disruptive behavior during unstructured moments in their day. 

A way to combat this is by having both the school day and academic lessons broken down into meaningful and well-executed chunks that are planned and paced out. The less downtime students have, the more likely positive behaviors will be maintained throughout the entirety of the school day. 

This does not mean students should not have time to decompress and take breaks. It simply means these times should be planned out in advance and a part of the student’s daily routine. If your working with younger students you should see our guide to PBIS in Elementary Schools.

6. Use Respectful Redirection 

Redirection is a very effective PBIS strategy to regain a student’s attention, but only if it is implemented correctly. The more respectful and general the redirection is, the more likely students will respond positively.

Example 1.

Instead of…“It doesn’t look like some of the class is paying attention”. 

Try…“I notice some students are distracted. Let’s take a minute to regain focus.”

Example 2.

Instead of…“I still don’t have all eyes, Pam and Carlos are you ready?”

Try…“I’ll be ready to teach as soon as I have all eyes on me. 3, 2, 1.”

Example 3.

Instead of…“Claire, I already gave directions multiple times. Why are you not following along?

Try…“Can someone raise their hand and share the direction again? Some of us aren’t ready yet.”

7. Actively Monitor

A simple way to be proactive in the classroom with behavior is to know what is going on and be aware of the learning and conversations taking place. Consistently move around the room, check for understanding, scan to ensure all students are following directions, and interact with individuals or groups. 

This strategy helps to ensure that every member of the learning environment is safe, engaged, and learning. 

8. Narrate with Reinforcing Language 

More commonly known as ‘positive narration’, this type of teacher talk is popular among educators who use responsive classroom techniques. 

It is used to show that they notice their student’s positive behaviors while also encouraging the rest of the class to follow suit. 

When using reinforcing language, make sure…

  • Your words are descriptive and specific
  • Your tone is warm and upbeat
  • You lead with your observations, not your feelings
  • You are connecting the positive behaviors back to the class expectations

Here are examples of positive narration:

  • I see almost 100% of students lining up quickly and quietly. Thank you for being great leaders!
  • These three table groups are so on top of it. I see students sitting up straight, with their eyes on me, ready to learn!
  • I am seeing most students getting started right away on their assignment. That shows me you're focused and ready to work hard.

9. Design a Calming Corner

This classroom necessity is both a system and a PBIS strategy. To put it simply, the calming corner is a physical space set up in a quiet area of the classroom to help students de-escalate when upset and work through their emotions before rejoining the class. 

Calming Corners are not a punishment or a form of timeout. Instead, they offer a safe space for students to go to self-regulate and restore their self-control and focus. 

Similar to other systems within the classroom, calming strategies and the purpose behind the Calming Corner should be explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced. Here’s an example from @nic.ole.day on Instagram.

Calming Corner Example

10. Initiate Restorative Conversations using When/Then Statements

When students are not meeting behavioral expectations and logical consequences have been given, teachers should then initiate a restorative conversation. These enable teachers to maintain positive behavior supports and relationships with their students, even when there are behavioral missteps. The best practice is to model and use ‘when-then statements’ which communicate to students the expectation and the positive consequence that will come from making a better choice.

Final Thoughts

Classroom PBIS strategies are proactive, responsive, and support students as they grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. The implementation of these best practices will transform your classrooms and ensure both educators and students are successful and supported. Then if your looking for peers to bounce ideas off outside of your school can check out our resources on taking PBIS district-wide. Or if your new to behavior support we have you covered with a handy guide on creating a PBIS Store, creating rewards that rock, and even how to start your PBIS program. Want to learn all you can possibly learn about PBIS? Check out our Complete PBIS Field Guide.

Looking for a place to start your school culture journey? Check out our free PBIS template where you can download a sample to get started.

“I don’t know what to do, Sam just won’t stop hitting or pushing his friends at recess”. 

“Tamara and Leslie keep blurting out in class, I can barely get through my math lesson!”. 

“The students in my third period are out of control. How do I get my students to stop having side conversations and focus on what I am teaching?” 

Maybe you have first-hand experience with similar behavioral issues at your school or have observed them in classrooms. You are not alone! 

Educators everyday experience a wide range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors that they must meet head-on to ensure student success. 

If classroom management strategies are lacking, academics will also fall short. So what can we do to ensure our students have the behavioral support they need?  

This is where PBIS comes in. 

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. It is a three-tiered framework that offers differentiated behavior support so that students are met where they are. 

With PBIS Tiers, every student receives Tier 1 behavior interventions support, which is also called universal support. If students need more specialized or targeted interventions they then would move into Tier 2 and possibly Tier 3, dependent on their needs.         

pbis tiers

Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior Management

PBIS interventions work because they are a proactive approach to behavior management. Students are only able to meet our behavior expectations if they know what they are and then consistently held to that standard. 

Where many schools fall short is leveraging punishment or consequences in an attempt to get students to behave in the way they would like them to. This is not the best practice. 

You are right in thinking that holding students accountable for behavior is crucial. But consequences alone do not actually teach kids the skill sets they need to positively improve their behavior. 

At its core, PBIS best practices encompass a proactive approach that calls for the explicit teaching of positive behavioral support to ensure a lasting change. 

PBIS Strategies 

So what does this actually look like in the classroom? Here are 10 strategies you can use to bolster your PBIS behavior plan.

1. Post the Expectations

Just as teachers use anchor charts to refer back to previously learned concepts, the school-wide expectations should also be posted in the classroom as an easy point of reference for behavior. 

Having different expectations for every classroom is not the best practice. Instead, developing school-wide expectations that are used and referenced daily within every classroom creates a unified vision for appropriate behaviors. 

This also helps students as they transition to other spaces in the school throughout the day. Consistency is key! 

2. Use Predictable Classroom Routines 

Students work best in classroom environments that have predictable and consistent classroom routines. These routines should be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the school year. 

Studies have proven that students perform better and are prone to more positive behaviors within structured environments. 

3. Teach Non-Verbal Hand Signals

These are used to help students and educators communicate while also minimizing distraction during instructional moments. 

The signals could be for needs such as using the restroom or to support classroom engagement and participation. 

This strategy only works if taught explicitly, modeled by the teacher, and practiced daily. Similar to classroom expectations, it would be helpful to have a visual of these signals posted for students to refer back to.  Here’s an example from The Happy Teacher:                                                                                                               

Non-Verbal Hamd Signals

4. Set Short Term Goals 

Just as teachers set academic goals with their students to address gaps and respond to data, the same should happen with behavior. 

How? As students and teachers have conversations about behavior (which happens on a daily basis) teachers are able to turn any observed negative behavioral pattern into a goal. 

These goals should be tied to the PBIS reward system so students are positively recognized when they work towards meeting each goal. 

Observed Behavior: Students are consistently having side conversations during the lesson.

Goal: We can show our understanding of “time and place” by talking and playing with our friends at the right time.  

5. Create Structure (Chunk & Pace) 

As mentioned earlier, most students are prone to acting out or showing disruptive behavior during unstructured moments in their day. 

A way to combat this is by having both the school day and academic lessons broken down into meaningful and well-executed chunks that are planned and paced out. The less downtime students have, the more likely positive behaviors will be maintained throughout the entirety of the school day. 

This does not mean students should not have time to decompress and take breaks. It simply means these times should be planned out in advance and a part of the student’s daily routine. If your working with younger students you should see our guide to PBIS in Elementary Schools.

6. Use Respectful Redirection 

Redirection is a very effective PBIS strategy to regain a student’s attention, but only if it is implemented correctly. The more respectful and general the redirection is, the more likely students will respond positively.

Example 1.

Instead of…“It doesn’t look like some of the class is paying attention”. 

Try…“I notice some students are distracted. Let’s take a minute to regain focus.”

Example 2.

Instead of…“I still don’t have all eyes, Pam and Carlos are you ready?”

Try…“I’ll be ready to teach as soon as I have all eyes on me. 3, 2, 1.”

Example 3.

Instead of…“Claire, I already gave directions multiple times. Why are you not following along?

Try…“Can someone raise their hand and share the direction again? Some of us aren’t ready yet.”

7. Actively Monitor

A simple way to be proactive in the classroom with behavior is to know what is going on and be aware of the learning and conversations taking place. Consistently move around the room, check for understanding, scan to ensure all students are following directions, and interact with individuals or groups. 

This strategy helps to ensure that every member of the learning environment is safe, engaged, and learning. 

8. Narrate with Reinforcing Language 

More commonly known as ‘positive narration’, this type of teacher talk is popular among educators who use responsive classroom techniques. 

It is used to show that they notice their student’s positive behaviors while also encouraging the rest of the class to follow suit. 

When using reinforcing language, make sure…

  • Your words are descriptive and specific
  • Your tone is warm and upbeat
  • You lead with your observations, not your feelings
  • You are connecting the positive behaviors back to the class expectations

Here are examples of positive narration:

  • I see almost 100% of students lining up quickly and quietly. Thank you for being great leaders!
  • These three table groups are so on top of it. I see students sitting up straight, with their eyes on me, ready to learn!
  • I am seeing most students getting started right away on their assignment. That shows me you're focused and ready to work hard.

9. Design a Calming Corner

This classroom necessity is both a system and a PBIS strategy. To put it simply, the calming corner is a physical space set up in a quiet area of the classroom to help students de-escalate when upset and work through their emotions before rejoining the class. 

Calming Corners are not a punishment or a form of timeout. Instead, they offer a safe space for students to go to self-regulate and restore their self-control and focus. 

Similar to other systems within the classroom, calming strategies and the purpose behind the Calming Corner should be explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced. Here’s an example from @nic.ole.day on Instagram.

Calming Corner Example

10. Initiate Restorative Conversations using When/Then Statements

When students are not meeting behavioral expectations and logical consequences have been given, teachers should then initiate a restorative conversation. These enable teachers to maintain positive behavior supports and relationships with their students, even when there are behavioral missteps. The best practice is to model and use ‘when-then statements’ which communicate to students the expectation and the positive consequence that will come from making a better choice.

Final Thoughts

Classroom PBIS strategies are proactive, responsive, and support students as they grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. The implementation of these best practices will transform your classrooms and ensure both educators and students are successful and supported. Then if your looking for peers to bounce ideas off outside of your school can check out our resources on taking PBIS district-wide. Or if your new to behavior support we have you covered with a handy guide on creating a PBIS Store, creating rewards that rock, and even how to start your PBIS program. Want to learn all you can possibly learn about PBIS? Check out our Complete PBIS Field Guide.

Looking for a place to start your school culture journey? Check out our free PBIS template where you can download a sample to get started.

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“I don’t know what to do, Sam just won’t stop hitting or pushing his friends at recess”. 

“Tamara and Leslie keep blurting out in class, I can barely get through my math lesson!”. 

“The students in my third period are out of control. How do I get my students to stop having side conversations and focus on what I am teaching?” 

Maybe you have first-hand experience with similar behavioral issues at your school or have observed them in classrooms. You are not alone! 

Educators everyday experience a wide range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors that they must meet head-on to ensure student success. 

If classroom management strategies are lacking, academics will also fall short. So what can we do to ensure our students have the behavioral support they need?  

This is where PBIS comes in. 

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. It is a three-tiered framework that offers differentiated behavior support so that students are met where they are. 

With PBIS Tiers, every student receives Tier 1 behavior interventions support, which is also called universal support. If students need more specialized or targeted interventions they then would move into Tier 2 and possibly Tier 3, dependent on their needs.         

pbis tiers

Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior Management

PBIS interventions work because they are a proactive approach to behavior management. Students are only able to meet our behavior expectations if they know what they are and then consistently held to that standard. 

Where many schools fall short is leveraging punishment or consequences in an attempt to get students to behave in the way they would like them to. This is not the best practice. 

You are right in thinking that holding students accountable for behavior is crucial. But consequences alone do not actually teach kids the skill sets they need to positively improve their behavior. 

At its core, PBIS best practices encompass a proactive approach that calls for the explicit teaching of positive behavioral support to ensure a lasting change. 

PBIS Strategies 

So what does this actually look like in the classroom? Here are 10 strategies you can use to bolster your PBIS behavior plan.

1. Post the Expectations

Just as teachers use anchor charts to refer back to previously learned concepts, the school-wide expectations should also be posted in the classroom as an easy point of reference for behavior. 

Having different expectations for every classroom is not the best practice. Instead, developing school-wide expectations that are used and referenced daily within every classroom creates a unified vision for appropriate behaviors. 

This also helps students as they transition to other spaces in the school throughout the day. Consistency is key! 

2. Use Predictable Classroom Routines 

Students work best in classroom environments that have predictable and consistent classroom routines. These routines should be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the school year. 

Studies have proven that students perform better and are prone to more positive behaviors within structured environments. 

3. Teach Non-Verbal Hand Signals

These are used to help students and educators communicate while also minimizing distraction during instructional moments. 

The signals could be for needs such as using the restroom or to support classroom engagement and participation. 

This strategy only works if taught explicitly, modeled by the teacher, and practiced daily. Similar to classroom expectations, it would be helpful to have a visual of these signals posted for students to refer back to.  Here’s an example from The Happy Teacher:                                                                                                               

Non-Verbal Hamd Signals

4. Set Short Term Goals 

Just as teachers set academic goals with their students to address gaps and respond to data, the same should happen with behavior. 

How? As students and teachers have conversations about behavior (which happens on a daily basis) teachers are able to turn any observed negative behavioral pattern into a goal. 

These goals should be tied to the PBIS reward system so students are positively recognized when they work towards meeting each goal. 

Observed Behavior: Students are consistently having side conversations during the lesson.

Goal: We can show our understanding of “time and place” by talking and playing with our friends at the right time.  

5. Create Structure (Chunk & Pace) 

As mentioned earlier, most students are prone to acting out or showing disruptive behavior during unstructured moments in their day. 

A way to combat this is by having both the school day and academic lessons broken down into meaningful and well-executed chunks that are planned and paced out. The less downtime students have, the more likely positive behaviors will be maintained throughout the entirety of the school day. 

This does not mean students should not have time to decompress and take breaks. It simply means these times should be planned out in advance and a part of the student’s daily routine. If your working with younger students you should see our guide to PBIS in Elementary Schools.

6. Use Respectful Redirection 

Redirection is a very effective PBIS strategy to regain a student’s attention, but only if it is implemented correctly. The more respectful and general the redirection is, the more likely students will respond positively.

Example 1.

Instead of…“It doesn’t look like some of the class is paying attention”. 

Try…“I notice some students are distracted. Let’s take a minute to regain focus.”

Example 2.

Instead of…“I still don’t have all eyes, Pam and Carlos are you ready?”

Try…“I’ll be ready to teach as soon as I have all eyes on me. 3, 2, 1.”

Example 3.

Instead of…“Claire, I already gave directions multiple times. Why are you not following along?

Try…“Can someone raise their hand and share the direction again? Some of us aren’t ready yet.”

7. Actively Monitor

A simple way to be proactive in the classroom with behavior is to know what is going on and be aware of the learning and conversations taking place. Consistently move around the room, check for understanding, scan to ensure all students are following directions, and interact with individuals or groups. 

This strategy helps to ensure that every member of the learning environment is safe, engaged, and learning. 

8. Narrate with Reinforcing Language 

More commonly known as ‘positive narration’, this type of teacher talk is popular among educators who use responsive classroom techniques. 

It is used to show that they notice their student’s positive behaviors while also encouraging the rest of the class to follow suit. 

When using reinforcing language, make sure…

  • Your words are descriptive and specific
  • Your tone is warm and upbeat
  • You lead with your observations, not your feelings
  • You are connecting the positive behaviors back to the class expectations

Here are examples of positive narration:

  • I see almost 100% of students lining up quickly and quietly. Thank you for being great leaders!
  • These three table groups are so on top of it. I see students sitting up straight, with their eyes on me, ready to learn!
  • I am seeing most students getting started right away on their assignment. That shows me you're focused and ready to work hard.

9. Design a Calming Corner

This classroom necessity is both a system and a PBIS strategy. To put it simply, the calming corner is a physical space set up in a quiet area of the classroom to help students de-escalate when upset and work through their emotions before rejoining the class. 

Calming Corners are not a punishment or a form of timeout. Instead, they offer a safe space for students to go to self-regulate and restore their self-control and focus. 

Similar to other systems within the classroom, calming strategies and the purpose behind the Calming Corner should be explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced. Here’s an example from @nic.ole.day on Instagram.

Calming Corner Example

10. Initiate Restorative Conversations using When/Then Statements

When students are not meeting behavioral expectations and logical consequences have been given, teachers should then initiate a restorative conversation. These enable teachers to maintain positive behavior supports and relationships with their students, even when there are behavioral missteps. The best practice is to model and use ‘when-then statements’ which communicate to students the expectation and the positive consequence that will come from making a better choice.

Final Thoughts

Classroom PBIS strategies are proactive, responsive, and support students as they grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. The implementation of these best practices will transform your classrooms and ensure both educators and students are successful and supported. Then if your looking for peers to bounce ideas off outside of your school can check out our resources on taking PBIS district-wide. Or if your new to behavior support we have you covered with a handy guide on creating a PBIS Store, creating rewards that rock, and even how to start your PBIS program. Want to learn all you can possibly learn about PBIS? Check out our Complete PBIS Field Guide.

Looking for a place to start your school culture journey? Check out our free PBIS template where you can download a sample to get started.

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About the Event

“I don’t know what to do, Sam just won’t stop hitting or pushing his friends at recess”. 

“Tamara and Leslie keep blurting out in class, I can barely get through my math lesson!”. 

“The students in my third period are out of control. How do I get my students to stop having side conversations and focus on what I am teaching?” 

Maybe you have first-hand experience with similar behavioral issues at your school or have observed them in classrooms. You are not alone! 

Educators everyday experience a wide range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors that they must meet head-on to ensure student success. 

If classroom management strategies are lacking, academics will also fall short. So what can we do to ensure our students have the behavioral support they need?  

This is where PBIS comes in. 

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. It is a three-tiered framework that offers differentiated behavior support so that students are met where they are. 

With PBIS Tiers, every student receives Tier 1 behavior interventions support, which is also called universal support. If students need more specialized or targeted interventions they then would move into Tier 2 and possibly Tier 3, dependent on their needs.         

pbis tiers

Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior Management

PBIS interventions work because they are a proactive approach to behavior management. Students are only able to meet our behavior expectations if they know what they are and then consistently held to that standard. 

Where many schools fall short is leveraging punishment or consequences in an attempt to get students to behave in the way they would like them to. This is not the best practice. 

You are right in thinking that holding students accountable for behavior is crucial. But consequences alone do not actually teach kids the skill sets they need to positively improve their behavior. 

At its core, PBIS best practices encompass a proactive approach that calls for the explicit teaching of positive behavioral support to ensure a lasting change. 

PBIS Strategies 

So what does this actually look like in the classroom? Here are 10 strategies you can use to bolster your PBIS behavior plan.

1. Post the Expectations

Just as teachers use anchor charts to refer back to previously learned concepts, the school-wide expectations should also be posted in the classroom as an easy point of reference for behavior. 

Having different expectations for every classroom is not the best practice. Instead, developing school-wide expectations that are used and referenced daily within every classroom creates a unified vision for appropriate behaviors. 

This also helps students as they transition to other spaces in the school throughout the day. Consistency is key! 

2. Use Predictable Classroom Routines 

Students work best in classroom environments that have predictable and consistent classroom routines. These routines should be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the school year. 

Studies have proven that students perform better and are prone to more positive behaviors within structured environments. 

3. Teach Non-Verbal Hand Signals

These are used to help students and educators communicate while also minimizing distraction during instructional moments. 

The signals could be for needs such as using the restroom or to support classroom engagement and participation. 

This strategy only works if taught explicitly, modeled by the teacher, and practiced daily. Similar to classroom expectations, it would be helpful to have a visual of these signals posted for students to refer back to.  Here’s an example from The Happy Teacher:                                                                                                               

Non-Verbal Hamd Signals

4. Set Short Term Goals 

Just as teachers set academic goals with their students to address gaps and respond to data, the same should happen with behavior. 

How? As students and teachers have conversations about behavior (which happens on a daily basis) teachers are able to turn any observed negative behavioral pattern into a goal. 

These goals should be tied to the PBIS reward system so students are positively recognized when they work towards meeting each goal. 

Observed Behavior: Students are consistently having side conversations during the lesson.

Goal: We can show our understanding of “time and place” by talking and playing with our friends at the right time.  

5. Create Structure (Chunk & Pace) 

As mentioned earlier, most students are prone to acting out or showing disruptive behavior during unstructured moments in their day. 

A way to combat this is by having both the school day and academic lessons broken down into meaningful and well-executed chunks that are planned and paced out. The less downtime students have, the more likely positive behaviors will be maintained throughout the entirety of the school day. 

This does not mean students should not have time to decompress and take breaks. It simply means these times should be planned out in advance and a part of the student’s daily routine. If your working with younger students you should see our guide to PBIS in Elementary Schools.

6. Use Respectful Redirection 

Redirection is a very effective PBIS strategy to regain a student’s attention, but only if it is implemented correctly. The more respectful and general the redirection is, the more likely students will respond positively.

Example 1.

Instead of…“It doesn’t look like some of the class is paying attention”. 

Try…“I notice some students are distracted. Let’s take a minute to regain focus.”

Example 2.

Instead of…“I still don’t have all eyes, Pam and Carlos are you ready?”

Try…“I’ll be ready to teach as soon as I have all eyes on me. 3, 2, 1.”

Example 3.

Instead of…“Claire, I already gave directions multiple times. Why are you not following along?

Try…“Can someone raise their hand and share the direction again? Some of us aren’t ready yet.”

7. Actively Monitor

A simple way to be proactive in the classroom with behavior is to know what is going on and be aware of the learning and conversations taking place. Consistently move around the room, check for understanding, scan to ensure all students are following directions, and interact with individuals or groups. 

This strategy helps to ensure that every member of the learning environment is safe, engaged, and learning. 

8. Narrate with Reinforcing Language 

More commonly known as ‘positive narration’, this type of teacher talk is popular among educators who use responsive classroom techniques. 

It is used to show that they notice their student’s positive behaviors while also encouraging the rest of the class to follow suit. 

When using reinforcing language, make sure…

  • Your words are descriptive and specific
  • Your tone is warm and upbeat
  • You lead with your observations, not your feelings
  • You are connecting the positive behaviors back to the class expectations

Here are examples of positive narration:

  • I see almost 100% of students lining up quickly and quietly. Thank you for being great leaders!
  • These three table groups are so on top of it. I see students sitting up straight, with their eyes on me, ready to learn!
  • I am seeing most students getting started right away on their assignment. That shows me you're focused and ready to work hard.

9. Design a Calming Corner

This classroom necessity is both a system and a PBIS strategy. To put it simply, the calming corner is a physical space set up in a quiet area of the classroom to help students de-escalate when upset and work through their emotions before rejoining the class. 

Calming Corners are not a punishment or a form of timeout. Instead, they offer a safe space for students to go to self-regulate and restore their self-control and focus. 

Similar to other systems within the classroom, calming strategies and the purpose behind the Calming Corner should be explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced. Here’s an example from @nic.ole.day on Instagram.

Calming Corner Example

10. Initiate Restorative Conversations using When/Then Statements

When students are not meeting behavioral expectations and logical consequences have been given, teachers should then initiate a restorative conversation. These enable teachers to maintain positive behavior supports and relationships with their students, even when there are behavioral missteps. The best practice is to model and use ‘when-then statements’ which communicate to students the expectation and the positive consequence that will come from making a better choice.

Final Thoughts

Classroom PBIS strategies are proactive, responsive, and support students as they grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. The implementation of these best practices will transform your classrooms and ensure both educators and students are successful and supported. Then if your looking for peers to bounce ideas off outside of your school can check out our resources on taking PBIS district-wide. Or if your new to behavior support we have you covered with a handy guide on creating a PBIS Store, creating rewards that rock, and even how to start your PBIS program. Want to learn all you can possibly learn about PBIS? Check out our Complete PBIS Field Guide.

Looking for a place to start your school culture journey? Check out our free PBIS template where you can download a sample to get started.

Register Now

About the Event

“I don’t know what to do, Sam just won’t stop hitting or pushing his friends at recess”. 

“Tamara and Leslie keep blurting out in class, I can barely get through my math lesson!”. 

“The students in my third period are out of control. How do I get my students to stop having side conversations and focus on what I am teaching?” 

Maybe you have first-hand experience with similar behavioral issues at your school or have observed them in classrooms. You are not alone! 

Educators everyday experience a wide range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors that they must meet head-on to ensure student success. 

If classroom management strategies are lacking, academics will also fall short. So what can we do to ensure our students have the behavioral support they need?  

This is where PBIS comes in. 

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. It is a three-tiered framework that offers differentiated behavior support so that students are met where they are. 

With PBIS Tiers, every student receives Tier 1 behavior interventions support, which is also called universal support. If students need more specialized or targeted interventions they then would move into Tier 2 and possibly Tier 3, dependent on their needs.         

pbis tiers

Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior Management

PBIS interventions work because they are a proactive approach to behavior management. Students are only able to meet our behavior expectations if they know what they are and then consistently held to that standard. 

Where many schools fall short is leveraging punishment or consequences in an attempt to get students to behave in the way they would like them to. This is not the best practice. 

You are right in thinking that holding students accountable for behavior is crucial. But consequences alone do not actually teach kids the skill sets they need to positively improve their behavior. 

At its core, PBIS best practices encompass a proactive approach that calls for the explicit teaching of positive behavioral support to ensure a lasting change. 

PBIS Strategies 

So what does this actually look like in the classroom? Here are 10 strategies you can use to bolster your PBIS behavior plan.

1. Post the Expectations

Just as teachers use anchor charts to refer back to previously learned concepts, the school-wide expectations should also be posted in the classroom as an easy point of reference for behavior. 

Having different expectations for every classroom is not the best practice. Instead, developing school-wide expectations that are used and referenced daily within every classroom creates a unified vision for appropriate behaviors. 

This also helps students as they transition to other spaces in the school throughout the day. Consistency is key! 

2. Use Predictable Classroom Routines 

Students work best in classroom environments that have predictable and consistent classroom routines. These routines should be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the school year. 

Studies have proven that students perform better and are prone to more positive behaviors within structured environments. 

3. Teach Non-Verbal Hand Signals

These are used to help students and educators communicate while also minimizing distraction during instructional moments. 

The signals could be for needs such as using the restroom or to support classroom engagement and participation. 

This strategy only works if taught explicitly, modeled by the teacher, and practiced daily. Similar to classroom expectations, it would be helpful to have a visual of these signals posted for students to refer back to.  Here’s an example from The Happy Teacher:                                                                                                               

Non-Verbal Hamd Signals

4. Set Short Term Goals 

Just as teachers set academic goals with their students to address gaps and respond to data, the same should happen with behavior. 

How? As students and teachers have conversations about behavior (which happens on a daily basis) teachers are able to turn any observed negative behavioral pattern into a goal. 

These goals should be tied to the PBIS reward system so students are positively recognized when they work towards meeting each goal. 

Observed Behavior: Students are consistently having side conversations during the lesson.

Goal: We can show our understanding of “time and place” by talking and playing with our friends at the right time.  

5. Create Structure (Chunk & Pace) 

As mentioned earlier, most students are prone to acting out or showing disruptive behavior during unstructured moments in their day. 

A way to combat this is by having both the school day and academic lessons broken down into meaningful and well-executed chunks that are planned and paced out. The less downtime students have, the more likely positive behaviors will be maintained throughout the entirety of the school day. 

This does not mean students should not have time to decompress and take breaks. It simply means these times should be planned out in advance and a part of the student’s daily routine. If your working with younger students you should see our guide to PBIS in Elementary Schools.

6. Use Respectful Redirection 

Redirection is a very effective PBIS strategy to regain a student’s attention, but only if it is implemented correctly. The more respectful and general the redirection is, the more likely students will respond positively.

Example 1.

Instead of…“It doesn’t look like some of the class is paying attention”. 

Try…“I notice some students are distracted. Let’s take a minute to regain focus.”

Example 2.

Instead of…“I still don’t have all eyes, Pam and Carlos are you ready?”

Try…“I’ll be ready to teach as soon as I have all eyes on me. 3, 2, 1.”

Example 3.

Instead of…“Claire, I already gave directions multiple times. Why are you not following along?

Try…“Can someone raise their hand and share the direction again? Some of us aren’t ready yet.”

7. Actively Monitor

A simple way to be proactive in the classroom with behavior is to know what is going on and be aware of the learning and conversations taking place. Consistently move around the room, check for understanding, scan to ensure all students are following directions, and interact with individuals or groups. 

This strategy helps to ensure that every member of the learning environment is safe, engaged, and learning. 

8. Narrate with Reinforcing Language 

More commonly known as ‘positive narration’, this type of teacher talk is popular among educators who use responsive classroom techniques. 

It is used to show that they notice their student’s positive behaviors while also encouraging the rest of the class to follow suit. 

When using reinforcing language, make sure…

  • Your words are descriptive and specific
  • Your tone is warm and upbeat
  • You lead with your observations, not your feelings
  • You are connecting the positive behaviors back to the class expectations

Here are examples of positive narration:

  • I see almost 100% of students lining up quickly and quietly. Thank you for being great leaders!
  • These three table groups are so on top of it. I see students sitting up straight, with their eyes on me, ready to learn!
  • I am seeing most students getting started right away on their assignment. That shows me you're focused and ready to work hard.

9. Design a Calming Corner

This classroom necessity is both a system and a PBIS strategy. To put it simply, the calming corner is a physical space set up in a quiet area of the classroom to help students de-escalate when upset and work through their emotions before rejoining the class. 

Calming Corners are not a punishment or a form of timeout. Instead, they offer a safe space for students to go to self-regulate and restore their self-control and focus. 

Similar to other systems within the classroom, calming strategies and the purpose behind the Calming Corner should be explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced. Here’s an example from @nic.ole.day on Instagram.

Calming Corner Example

10. Initiate Restorative Conversations using When/Then Statements

When students are not meeting behavioral expectations and logical consequences have been given, teachers should then initiate a restorative conversation. These enable teachers to maintain positive behavior supports and relationships with their students, even when there are behavioral missteps. The best practice is to model and use ‘when-then statements’ which communicate to students the expectation and the positive consequence that will come from making a better choice.

Final Thoughts

Classroom PBIS strategies are proactive, responsive, and support students as they grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. The implementation of these best practices will transform your classrooms and ensure both educators and students are successful and supported. Then if your looking for peers to bounce ideas off outside of your school can check out our resources on taking PBIS district-wide. Or if your new to behavior support we have you covered with a handy guide on creating a PBIS Store, creating rewards that rock, and even how to start your PBIS program. Want to learn all you can possibly learn about PBIS? Check out our Complete PBIS Field Guide.

Looking for a place to start your school culture journey? Check out our free PBIS template where you can download a sample to get started.

About the Presenter

Katherine Neumeier has spent the last 8 years in education working with Title I schools to build strong classroom practices and close academic gaps with English Language Learners and Special Populations. She has taught across multiple grade levels as well as coached educators, served as a reading specialist, and built an intervention program from the ground up. Integrating EdTech platforms as well as utilizing behavior management tools such as Liveschool have transformed and supported her role as an educator. She earned a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's University and a M.Ed from The University of St. Thomas.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

“I don’t know what to do, Sam just won’t stop hitting or pushing his friends at recess”. 

“Tamara and Leslie keep blurting out in class, I can barely get through my math lesson!”. 

“The students in my third period are out of control. How do I get my students to stop having side conversations and focus on what I am teaching?” 

Maybe you have first-hand experience with similar behavioral issues at your school or have observed them in classrooms. You are not alone! 

Educators everyday experience a wide range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors that they must meet head-on to ensure student success. 

If classroom management strategies are lacking, academics will also fall short. So what can we do to ensure our students have the behavioral support they need?  

This is where PBIS comes in. 

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. It is a three-tiered framework that offers differentiated behavior support so that students are met where they are. 

With PBIS Tiers, every student receives Tier 1 behavior interventions support, which is also called universal support. If students need more specialized or targeted interventions they then would move into Tier 2 and possibly Tier 3, dependent on their needs.         

pbis tiers

Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior Management

PBIS interventions work because they are a proactive approach to behavior management. Students are only able to meet our behavior expectations if they know what they are and then consistently held to that standard. 

Where many schools fall short is leveraging punishment or consequences in an attempt to get students to behave in the way they would like them to. This is not the best practice. 

You are right in thinking that holding students accountable for behavior is crucial. But consequences alone do not actually teach kids the skill sets they need to positively improve their behavior. 

At its core, PBIS best practices encompass a proactive approach that calls for the explicit teaching of positive behavioral support to ensure a lasting change. 

PBIS Strategies 

So what does this actually look like in the classroom? Here are 10 strategies you can use to bolster your PBIS behavior plan.

1. Post the Expectations

Just as teachers use anchor charts to refer back to previously learned concepts, the school-wide expectations should also be posted in the classroom as an easy point of reference for behavior. 

Having different expectations for every classroom is not the best practice. Instead, developing school-wide expectations that are used and referenced daily within every classroom creates a unified vision for appropriate behaviors. 

This also helps students as they transition to other spaces in the school throughout the day. Consistency is key! 

2. Use Predictable Classroom Routines 

Students work best in classroom environments that have predictable and consistent classroom routines. These routines should be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the school year. 

Studies have proven that students perform better and are prone to more positive behaviors within structured environments. 

3. Teach Non-Verbal Hand Signals

These are used to help students and educators communicate while also minimizing distraction during instructional moments. 

The signals could be for needs such as using the restroom or to support classroom engagement and participation. 

This strategy only works if taught explicitly, modeled by the teacher, and practiced daily. Similar to classroom expectations, it would be helpful to have a visual of these signals posted for students to refer back to.  Here’s an example from The Happy Teacher:                                                                                                               

Non-Verbal Hamd Signals

4. Set Short Term Goals 

Just as teachers set academic goals with their students to address gaps and respond to data, the same should happen with behavior. 

How? As students and teachers have conversations about behavior (which happens on a daily basis) teachers are able to turn any observed negative behavioral pattern into a goal. 

These goals should be tied to the PBIS reward system so students are positively recognized when they work towards meeting each goal. 

Observed Behavior: Students are consistently having side conversations during the lesson.

Goal: We can show our understanding of “time and place” by talking and playing with our friends at the right time.  

5. Create Structure (Chunk & Pace) 

As mentioned earlier, most students are prone to acting out or showing disruptive behavior during unstructured moments in their day. 

A way to combat this is by having both the school day and academic lessons broken down into meaningful and well-executed chunks that are planned and paced out. The less downtime students have, the more likely positive behaviors will be maintained throughout the entirety of the school day. 

This does not mean students should not have time to decompress and take breaks. It simply means these times should be planned out in advance and a part of the student’s daily routine. If your working with younger students you should see our guide to PBIS in Elementary Schools.

6. Use Respectful Redirection 

Redirection is a very effective PBIS strategy to regain a student’s attention, but only if it is implemented correctly. The more respectful and general the redirection is, the more likely students will respond positively.

Example 1.

Instead of…“It doesn’t look like some of the class is paying attention”. 

Try…“I notice some students are distracted. Let’s take a minute to regain focus.”

Example 2.

Instead of…“I still don’t have all eyes, Pam and Carlos are you ready?”

Try…“I’ll be ready to teach as soon as I have all eyes on me. 3, 2, 1.”

Example 3.

Instead of…“Claire, I already gave directions multiple times. Why are you not following along?

Try…“Can someone raise their hand and share the direction again? Some of us aren’t ready yet.”

7. Actively Monitor

A simple way to be proactive in the classroom with behavior is to know what is going on and be aware of the learning and conversations taking place. Consistently move around the room, check for understanding, scan to ensure all students are following directions, and interact with individuals or groups. 

This strategy helps to ensure that every member of the learning environment is safe, engaged, and learning. 

8. Narrate with Reinforcing Language 

More commonly known as ‘positive narration’, this type of teacher talk is popular among educators who use responsive classroom techniques. 

It is used to show that they notice their student’s positive behaviors while also encouraging the rest of the class to follow suit. 

When using reinforcing language, make sure…

  • Your words are descriptive and specific
  • Your tone is warm and upbeat
  • You lead with your observations, not your feelings
  • You are connecting the positive behaviors back to the class expectations

Here are examples of positive narration:

  • I see almost 100% of students lining up quickly and quietly. Thank you for being great leaders!
  • These three table groups are so on top of it. I see students sitting up straight, with their eyes on me, ready to learn!
  • I am seeing most students getting started right away on their assignment. That shows me you're focused and ready to work hard.

9. Design a Calming Corner

This classroom necessity is both a system and a PBIS strategy. To put it simply, the calming corner is a physical space set up in a quiet area of the classroom to help students de-escalate when upset and work through their emotions before rejoining the class. 

Calming Corners are not a punishment or a form of timeout. Instead, they offer a safe space for students to go to self-regulate and restore their self-control and focus. 

Similar to other systems within the classroom, calming strategies and the purpose behind the Calming Corner should be explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced. Here’s an example from @nic.ole.day on Instagram.

Calming Corner Example

10. Initiate Restorative Conversations using When/Then Statements

When students are not meeting behavioral expectations and logical consequences have been given, teachers should then initiate a restorative conversation. These enable teachers to maintain positive behavior supports and relationships with their students, even when there are behavioral missteps. The best practice is to model and use ‘when-then statements’ which communicate to students the expectation and the positive consequence that will come from making a better choice.

Final Thoughts

Classroom PBIS strategies are proactive, responsive, and support students as they grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. The implementation of these best practices will transform your classrooms and ensure both educators and students are successful and supported. Then if your looking for peers to bounce ideas off outside of your school can check out our resources on taking PBIS district-wide. Or if your new to behavior support we have you covered with a handy guide on creating a PBIS Store, creating rewards that rock, and even how to start your PBIS program. Want to learn all you can possibly learn about PBIS? Check out our Complete PBIS Field Guide.

Looking for a place to start your school culture journey? Check out our free PBIS template where you can download a sample to get started.

All Reward Ideas for Students

🎉
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🎁
Amazing Race
Grades 9-12
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Holidays Around the World
Grades K-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Snack Pack
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
STEM Field Day
Grades K-8
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Trip to the Treasure Box
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Holiday Delivery
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
Student
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Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Graduation Celebration
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Snack Party
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Hat Pass
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Homework Pass
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
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🎁
Digital Escape Rooms
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Deluxe
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Special Screening
Grades K-12
School
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Music Fest
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Parking Spots
Grades 9-12
Student
Privilege
Free
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Sports Tickets
Grades 3-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe

All Reward Ideas for Elementary School Students

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👑
🎁
Play Games
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Snack Pack
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Teacher Q&A
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Silly Science Experiments
Grades K-5
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Backpack
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Holiday Delivery
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Sweatshirt
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Class Pet
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Books
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Toys
Grades K-8
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Morning Meeting Leader
Grades 3-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Design the Bulletin Board
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Firebird of the Month
Grades K-12
Student
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Holidays Around the World
Grades K-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Student Spotlight Board
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
STEM Field Day
Grades K-8
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY

All Event Ideas for Schools

All Free Reward Ideas for Schools

🎉
👑
🎁
School Spirit Day
🎉
👑
🎁
Brain Break
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Parking Spots
🎉
👑
🎁
Class Book
🎉
👑
🎁
Tech Time
🎉
👑
🎁
Show & Tell
🎉
👑
🎁
Homework Pass
🎉
👑
🎁
Partner Work
🎉
👑
🎁
Teacher Q&A
🎉
👑
🎁
Dance Party
🎉
👑
🎁
Virtual Field Trip

All Reward Ideas for High School Students

🎉
👑
🎁
Social Media Reporter
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Parking Spots
Grades 9-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Backpack
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Old School Cookout
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Virtual Talent Show. 🎤
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Graduation Celebration
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
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Learn more about the author, 
Katie Neumeier
 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

“I don’t know what to do, Sam just won’t stop hitting or pushing his friends at recess”. 

“Tamara and Leslie keep blurting out in class, I can barely get through my math lesson!”. 

“The students in my third period are out of control. How do I get my students to stop having side conversations and focus on what I am teaching?” 

Maybe you have first-hand experience with similar behavioral issues at your school or have observed them in classrooms. You are not alone! 

Educators everyday experience a wide range of social, emotional, and academic behaviors that they must meet head-on to ensure student success. 

If classroom management strategies are lacking, academics will also fall short. So what can we do to ensure our students have the behavioral support they need?  

This is where PBIS comes in. 

What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. It is a three-tiered framework that offers differentiated behavior support so that students are met where they are. 

With PBIS Tiers, every student receives Tier 1 behavior interventions support, which is also called universal support. If students need more specialized or targeted interventions they then would move into Tier 2 and possibly Tier 3, dependent on their needs.         

pbis tiers

Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior Management

PBIS interventions work because they are a proactive approach to behavior management. Students are only able to meet our behavior expectations if they know what they are and then consistently held to that standard. 

Where many schools fall short is leveraging punishment or consequences in an attempt to get students to behave in the way they would like them to. This is not the best practice. 

You are right in thinking that holding students accountable for behavior is crucial. But consequences alone do not actually teach kids the skill sets they need to positively improve their behavior. 

At its core, PBIS best practices encompass a proactive approach that calls for the explicit teaching of positive behavioral support to ensure a lasting change. 

PBIS Strategies 

So what does this actually look like in the classroom? Here are 10 strategies you can use to bolster your PBIS behavior plan.

1. Post the Expectations

Just as teachers use anchor charts to refer back to previously learned concepts, the school-wide expectations should also be posted in the classroom as an easy point of reference for behavior. 

Having different expectations for every classroom is not the best practice. Instead, developing school-wide expectations that are used and referenced daily within every classroom creates a unified vision for appropriate behaviors. 

This also helps students as they transition to other spaces in the school throughout the day. Consistency is key! 

2. Use Predictable Classroom Routines 

Students work best in classroom environments that have predictable and consistent classroom routines. These routines should be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced throughout the school year. 

Studies have proven that students perform better and are prone to more positive behaviors within structured environments. 

3. Teach Non-Verbal Hand Signals

These are used to help students and educators communicate while also minimizing distraction during instructional moments. 

The signals could be for needs such as using the restroom or to support classroom engagement and participation. 

This strategy only works if taught explicitly, modeled by the teacher, and practiced daily. Similar to classroom expectations, it would be helpful to have a visual of these signals posted for students to refer back to.  Here’s an example from The Happy Teacher:                                                                                                               

Non-Verbal Hamd Signals

4. Set Short Term Goals 

Just as teachers set academic goals with their students to address gaps and respond to data, the same should happen with behavior. 

How? As students and teachers have conversations about behavior (which happens on a daily basis) teachers are able to turn any observed negative behavioral pattern into a goal. 

These goals should be tied to the PBIS reward system so students are positively recognized when they work towards meeting each goal. 

Observed Behavior: Students are consistently having side conversations during the lesson.

Goal: We can show our understanding of “time and place” by talking and playing with our friends at the right time.  

5. Create Structure (Chunk & Pace) 

As mentioned earlier, most students are prone to acting out or showing disruptive behavior during unstructured moments in their day. 

A way to combat this is by having both the school day and academic lessons broken down into meaningful and well-executed chunks that are planned and paced out. The less downtime students have, the more likely positive behaviors will be maintained throughout the entirety of the school day. 

This does not mean students should not have time to decompress and take breaks. It simply means these times should be planned out in advance and a part of the student’s daily routine. If your working with younger students you should see our guide to PBIS in Elementary Schools.

6. Use Respectful Redirection 

Redirection is a very effective PBIS strategy to regain a student’s attention, but only if it is implemented correctly. The more respectful and general the redirection is, the more likely students will respond positively.

Example 1.

Instead of…“It doesn’t look like some of the class is paying attention”. 

Try…“I notice some students are distracted. Let’s take a minute to regain focus.”

Example 2.

Instead of…“I still don’t have all eyes, Pam and Carlos are you ready?”

Try…“I’ll be ready to teach as soon as I have all eyes on me. 3, 2, 1.”

Example 3.

Instead of…“Claire, I already gave directions multiple times. Why are you not following along?

Try…“Can someone raise their hand and share the direction again? Some of us aren’t ready yet.”

7. Actively Monitor

A simple way to be proactive in the classroom with behavior is to know what is going on and be aware of the learning and conversations taking place. Consistently move around the room, check for understanding, scan to ensure all students are following directions, and interact with individuals or groups. 

This strategy helps to ensure that every member of the learning environment is safe, engaged, and learning. 

8. Narrate with Reinforcing Language 

More commonly known as ‘positive narration’, this type of teacher talk is popular among educators who use responsive classroom techniques. 

It is used to show that they notice their student’s positive behaviors while also encouraging the rest of the class to follow suit. 

When using reinforcing language, make sure…

  • Your words are descriptive and specific
  • Your tone is warm and upbeat
  • You lead with your observations, not your feelings
  • You are connecting the positive behaviors back to the class expectations

Here are examples of positive narration:

  • I see almost 100% of students lining up quickly and quietly. Thank you for being great leaders!
  • These three table groups are so on top of it. I see students sitting up straight, with their eyes on me, ready to learn!
  • I am seeing most students getting started right away on their assignment. That shows me you're focused and ready to work hard.

9. Design a Calming Corner

This classroom necessity is both a system and a PBIS strategy. To put it simply, the calming corner is a physical space set up in a quiet area of the classroom to help students de-escalate when upset and work through their emotions before rejoining the class. 

Calming Corners are not a punishment or a form of timeout. Instead, they offer a safe space for students to go to self-regulate and restore their self-control and focus. 

Similar to other systems within the classroom, calming strategies and the purpose behind the Calming Corner should be explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced. Here’s an example from @nic.ole.day on Instagram.

Calming Corner Example

10. Initiate Restorative Conversations using When/Then Statements

When students are not meeting behavioral expectations and logical consequences have been given, teachers should then initiate a restorative conversation. These enable teachers to maintain positive behavior supports and relationships with their students, even when there are behavioral missteps. The best practice is to model and use ‘when-then statements’ which communicate to students the expectation and the positive consequence that will come from making a better choice.

Final Thoughts

Classroom PBIS strategies are proactive, responsive, and support students as they grow socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. The implementation of these best practices will transform your classrooms and ensure both educators and students are successful and supported. Then if your looking for peers to bounce ideas off outside of your school can check out our resources on taking PBIS district-wide. Or if your new to behavior support we have you covered with a handy guide on creating a PBIS Store, creating rewards that rock, and even how to start your PBIS program. Want to learn all you can possibly learn about PBIS? Check out our Complete PBIS Field Guide.

Looking for a place to start your school culture journey? Check out our free PBIS template where you can download a sample to get started.

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🎉
👑
🎁
Digital Escape Rooms
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Student Spotlight Board
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Extra Computer Games
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Stickers
Grades K-5
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Show & Tell
Grades K-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Brain Break
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Virtual Talent Show. 🎤
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Teacher Q&A
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Certificate of Achievement
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Classroom DJ
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
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Katie Neumeier
 

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