This Is the Perfect Way to Track Student Behavior

Track student behavior the quick and easy way! To collect data and evidence, you need this trick. Instead of journaling, create a checklist. First, determine targeted behaviors. Next, use the template to create a checklist. After you track behaviors, analyze trends and share. Voila! You will save valuable time – and head to your next conference armed with the data you need.

Student Behavior Tracker

The Old Way: Journaling About Student Behavior

Let’s look in on our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed. It’s Friday afternoon. Her students have gone home. Pen in hand, she’s adding to a student behavior journal.

Ms. Sneed sighs deeply and shakes her hand. For years, she’s used journaling to document behavior of difficult students. And the pages and pages she writes  – well, they speak volumes about the student. But it’s unwieldy. And it takes a lot of time. Seriously, there’s got to be a better way.

The New Way: Tracking Student Behaviors with a Checklist

As Ms. Sneed flips through Jerome’s journal, she notices that the same behaviors occur over and over again. Maybe if she just made a checklist… Wait, that’s it! As fast as lightning, Ms. Sneed races to her computer and creates a table. In the left-hand column, she lists behaviors that affect academics. To the right, she makes plenty more blank columns.

After a little more thought, Ms. Sneed adds two more tables. To document harmful behaviors, she lists throwing, shoving, touching, head banging, and scratching. As proof that she’s addressing this behavior, Ms. Sneed types steps taken.

The next day, she tries it out. Every time Jerome exhibits one of the behaviors, Ms. Sneed makes a check next to it. At the end of the day, she pulls it out and grins! Without journaling, a thorough list of behaviors has emerged. And look – the checkmarks make a kind of graph. Ms. Sneed can clearly see which behaviors occur most often.

Benefits of the Checklist

  • The student behavior checklist saves time.  In just one day, Ms. Sneed figured that she saved 15-20 minutes. That’s 75-100 minutes per week. Astonishing!
  • Since Ms. Sneed began targeting specific behaviors, her reports have gained clarity and focus. Members of the student assistance team at her school cheered her efforts (and began using checklists themselves).
  • As she checked the little boxes, Ms. Sneed’s findings gained numeric value. Behaviors could be counted and graphed. Parents found her observations more objective, and they became less likely to argue with her findings.
  • More than anything, the checklist had the power of persuasion. After presenting Jerome’s folder to the principal, he provided more aide time in Ms. Sneed’s classroom.

Student Behaviors to Target

As time marched on, Ms. Sneed used student behavior checklists for other students. Each child required a different set of targeted behaviors, so she created a master list.

Examples of Student Behaviors

Sometimes Ms. Sneed used the checklists to document behaviors for parent-teacher conferences. Other times they helped a student qualify for special education programming. Each situation was different.

When a parent felt that her child’s ADHD medication was not lasting throughout the day, Ms. Sneed knew what to do. Time slots were added to the checklist, which allowed them to see when certain behaviors were taking place.

Free Editable Template

The behavior tracker is a lifesaver. Just click here for the free set of editable templates.

If you’re looking for a way to communicate behaviors with counselors, administrators, and/or parents, try these digital behavior trackers, which were created with Google Slides. When you share them with others, they can see what’s happening in real time. Directions for building a principal or counselor dashboard with Google Sites are also included.

For more ways to solve problems with students, try using an academic contract and creating a strategic seating chart.

Enjoy Teaching

Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.

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