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Behavior Flow Chart


So often when a student does not act the way we think s/he should act, we immediately discipline the child. Sometimes that works. Other times it just frustrates us. When I was in graduate school at University of Kentucky working on a master’s degree in Emotional Behavioral Disorders, my professor, C. Michael Nelson shared a flow chart with us. It was an AH-HA moment for me. I’d like to share it with you.

Look at the chart below or print out a copy as I explain it here…. The teacher gives the student a direction/task/etc. If the students complies, praise the student (Easy, right?!)

If the teacher gives a direction but the student does not comply, figure out if you know with absolute certainty the student has the ability to complete the direction/task/etc. Often we assume the student knows or should know and we get frustrated when the child does not. If the child has the ability to complete the task, motivate him. Elementary teachers do a great job motivating students. As students get older, less emphasis is placed on motivation. I’m not sure why that is…I know I work much better when I am motivated. Motivation in middle and high school doesn’t mean pass out stickers. It may be a simple as a pat on the back, or extra social time at the end of class, etc. If the child does NOT know how to do the task or if you are not sure if the child has the skill, TEACH the skill/expectation.

If the child does NOT complete the task after you have tried motivating or teaching the skill, then you discipline.

Once there was a high school student who had the opportunity to earn extra credit by writing a paragraph about the daily political cartoon in the daily newspaper but failed to make any effort to do so. The teacher was frustrated that she “wasn’t even trying to pass the class”. I wondered if the student even knew what a political cartoon was and if she had access to a newspaper. Remember she had never demonstrated she had the ability to do this. So I took her into the school library. The librarian showed her where day old newspapers were kept so she could cut out the cartoon. I showed her where the political cartoon was in the newspaper. She was thankful. After learning this new skill, she never missed a day of cutting out the cartoon and writing a paragraph!

So think about this flow chart the next time you get frustrated when a student doesn’t comply.

























Welcome back! Did you try the Quick & Easy Functional Behavior Assessment? Remember, discovering the function of the student’s behavior is essential to resolving the inappropriate behavior. Now let’s look at what to do with what you learned about your student.

This Quick & Easy Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) looks at the whole child. It is not a punitive plan. The sections for the Quick & Easy Behavior Intervention Plan are:


  1. Health/Physical Concerns
  2. Prevention
    1. Environmental
    2. Reinforcement strategies
    3. Teaching
      1. Replacement skills
      2. New adaptive skills
      3. Consequences
        1. Punishment
        2. Safety/emergency plan

 A majority of the Quick & Easy Behavior Intervention Plan is positive, proactive and instructional! I love Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline’s quote: “If you can predict it, you can plan for it. If you can plan for it, you can prevent it.” Whew! That’s puts a big burden on us, but that’s ok. We are the professional and have the tools to meet student needs.

Many behavior plans are punitive. The message tends to be “do this or you’ll be punished”. This type of plan does not address environmental factors or student needs.

I had a student (I’ll call him Joe) who was physically and verbally disruptive. As we analyzed the Quick & Easy Functional Behavior Analysis, we noticed Joe rarely received any positive comments from his family and teachers. One piece of the Quick & Easy Behavior Intervention Plan was to structure times of the day for school staff to have positive interactions with him. When he got off the bus in the morning, the staff person supervising this area looked for Joe and happily greeted him. Joe then walked to the cafeteria for breakfast and was greeted by any staff member in the hallway (all staff were included in this plan). As Joe went through the food line, each cafeteria worker greeted and chatted with him. The teacher on breakfast duty always visited with Joe and wished him a good day as he headed to class. Joe may have had a tough morning at home but by the time class started, Joe received 6 to 7 positive interactions each morning. We were overtly setting him up to start every day on a positive note. Now wouldn’t you want to start your day in such a positive manner?

This Quick & Easy Behavior Intervention Plan is designed to meet the child’s needs, teach the child acceptable behavior, and develop consequences for continued misbehavior. A sample plan and detailed directions are included with the Quick & Easy Behavior Intervention Plan.

Next time, I’ll talk about when to discipline and when to teach by showing you a Behavior Flow Chart. See you soon,



raising hands

Today, teachers face enormous pressure to raise test scores. We feel like we never have enough time to get to all our content. You can gain more time to teach content by mastering the skills listed below! This list of skills is essential to a well run classroom. Take the year to work on this…just work on a couple at a time so you can truly master the skill.

Download a teacher-friendly copy here.

Good luck, LuAnne



Your district has many expert teachers. We encourage you to seek out these experts and learn their technique. If you are not sure who the expert is, ask your mentor, your administrator, or your peers.

As you observe/interview,

• Make note of what the expert does.

• How can you modify that technique to suit your style?

• How effectively are you implementing it?

In your building/district, WHO is the best with…

…using humor well while teaching?

…using transitions in the classroom and throughout the building?

…teaching classroom routines well?

…motivating students in class?

…greeting students as they arrive each morning/each class period?

…giving tons of positive feedback to students (maintains at least a 6:1 positive/negative ratio of interaction)?

…actively supervising throughout the instructional activity?

…having clear, positively stated and posted classroom behavior expectations?

…managing minor rule violations quickly and discretely?

…precorrecting predictable student problem behaviors?

…managing major rule violations?

…utilizing peer tutors?

…managing homework?

…providing specific feedback after analyzing student work?

…using bell ringer activities or flashback review?

…posting academic/learning objective for each lesson/period?

…implementing active student engagement techniques?

…managing instructional time efficiently and effectively?

…using various levels of questioning?

…using a unique strategy to stimulate learning?

…using multiple learning styles in teaching?

…challenging the gifted learner?

…assessing using various assessment styles?

…preparing well developed lesson plans?

…checking students for content mastery continuously?

…helping underachieving students?

…collaborating/co-teaching well?

…working with the learner with special learning needs?

…writing/implementing open response questions?

…writing/implementing on-demand prompts?

…implementing exit slips?

…integrating technology into instruction?

…communicating with parents?

Do you develop weekly lesson plans with your content partner?

Do you analyze student work at least weekly with your content partner?