Variation of the Good Behavior Game

This behavior management technique focuses on helping control students who thrive on acting out to gain peer attention.
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Updated on: January 18, 2002
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Steps of a Variation of the "Good Behavior Game"

  1. Identify instances of disruptive behaviors and the students who are frequently engaged in such.

  2. Identify an acceptable level of disruptive behaviors for any given class.

  3. Divide the class into two or three teams, placing a disruptive child on each of the teams. Alternately, have the whole class act as one team.

  4. Design a good behavior barometer (explained below).

  5. Set a timer to indicate the length of the class period in which the team(s) will be responsible for monitoring the level of disruptive behavior.

  6. When a student is disruptive, mark a point off the good behavior barometer for that team.

  7. If the child is severely disruptive, remove the child from the game (and from the class if necessary) for that class period.

  8. At the end of the period, identify those teams that have reached the standard, and award the designated number of points.

  9. At the end of the day, any team that has acquired a designated number of points gets to select a reward from a menu of rewards for the next day.

  10. The team with the most points at the end of the week can draw for a special prize in the lottery pick (explained below).

The first step to implementing this variation of the "Good Behavior Game" is to identify instances of disruptive behavior. Write them on a piece of paper, and make the entire class aware of them, by both oral presentation and posting them on a bulletin board. Identify the child or children who are frequently disruptive. Make two or three teams, putting a disruptive child on each of the teams so that no one team has an advantage in terms of number of children who are disruptive. If you do not wish to make teams, then have the whole class constitute a single team.

Next, design a "good behavior barometer" – a chart with numbers that identify the standard for the number of disruptive incidences that are allowed. For example, if you decided that each team could have no more than five disruptive behaviors, the good behavior barometer would have the numbers 5, 4, 3, 2, and I and then a little hole for the mercury at the bottom. Each time a child in a given team disrupts the class, the team barometer is marked down one. If all the numbers are marked, the team (or class) gets no points. If you encounter a child who becomes severely disruptive, remove the child from the game and from the class for that time period. That child will not get the reinforcer for that day. This can be posted as a rule along with the other rules regarding the criteria for counting disruptive behaviors.

At the end of the period, any team still having points on the good behavior barometer is allowed to earn a certain number of points. At the end of the day, teams that have acquired the number of points that you have designated earn a group reward from a reward menu. In setting the number of points that a team should earn, identify the total number of points they could possibly earn and then select a percentage of those points. This can be altered up or down as a function of the first few weeks of performance.

An additional incentive is to allow the teams to compete throughout the entire week. The team having the most points at the end of the week has the opportunity to draw from a grab bag full of a number of prizes, activities, or additional rewards. You can use a fishbowl with each prize written on a slip of paper that is folded so the child cannot see. One representative of the winning team selects one piece of paper. For this incentive, try to think of a number of prizes that cost a minimal amount of money, if any. However, you should also have some prizes that a team would really cherish. Make sure that the probability of selecting the more costly prizes is low and that the prizes are affordable.

Let's see how this technique works in practice using Mrs. Stanwick and her class as the illustration.

Mrs. Stanwick identifies the rules of the "Good Behavior Game." The following behaviors result in the loss of a point on the good behavior barometer for each occurrence:

  1. Getting out of your seat during seat work.

  2. Unauthorized talking during seat work.

  3. Failing to keep your hands and feet to yourself (Step 1).

Mrs. Stanwick indicates that each team will have nine points on the good behavior barometer (Steps 2 and 4) at the start of each period. There will be three teams, with Linda on Team A and two other children with disruptive behaviors assigned to each of the two remaining teams (Step 3). The time will be set for the length of each class period (Step 5). Once Mrs. Stanwick has gone over the rules, the "Good Behavior Game" is initiated for math class.

As team members violate one of the rules, their team loses a point on the good behavior barometer (Step 6). At the end of the period, all teams that still have points on the barometer earn 20 points (Step 8). At the end of the day, all teams achieving 70% of the total number of points select a representative to choose their reward, to be given the next day (Step 9).

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