Strategies for Behavior Management Planning During Distance Learning


The school year has started and we are all adjusting to behavior management during this time. Parents and students have been home together and are doing their best to share their new virtual work spaces. And in preparation for engaging students online, in-person or in a hybrid combination teachers are getting creative with the ways to plan for their behavior management systems.

Whatever school looks like this year, creating a space and setting rules for effective learning is key. If you need support in identifying strategies to manage an online classroom, check out the strategies in this Kickboard blog post. This will give you some ideas about how to manage your online learning space. Before implementing these plans, teachers need a strategy for behavior management planning.

→ Need ideas? Check out our Distance Learning Guide

As teachers are planning during distance learning, there are some considerations to keep in mind. These will help focus your planning efforts.


Schools and families are negotiating the learning environment each day. Some students started 100% in a virtual classroom, some families chose to go in person and others are participating in a hybrid model. Consider the nuances of the learning environment of your students. If necessary, create a plan that includes both virtual and in-person instruction or systems that can easily translate from one learning environment to the next.


One of the challenges with the response to the pandemic is the increased awareness of the digital divide. There are students and families without computers or access to wi-fi. As a result, a digital learning plan must take into consideration challenges students face in a virtual environment. School districts are working hard to mitigate those challenges as much as possible but when planning, the teacher should consider what that might look like. This is also true when considering the behavior expectations in a virtual space. Be thoughtful about how access might impact student engagement.

 Student Population

An important part of any teaching experience is knowing your student population. In this case, getting to know your students in this new environment is critical. Consider how students are adjusting and anticipate what they will need to motivate and incentivize their students during this time.

Strategies for Behavior Management Planning

As you begin to strategize about your behavior management plans, there are some key steps to setting up your process. This will help to make your plans efficient and helpful when implementing.

If you are planning a new behavior management plan, be sure you are aware of and clearly understand school-wide behavior expectations before setting goals. As you plan for your classroom goals, it is important to know what the schools goals are. During this time there might be some changes in the school plans and your new strategies for behavior should align with what the school has identified. 

You will have to be flexible as plans may change day to day. Keep in mind that the schools are doing their best to support each student and there will definitely be some adjustments. Once you have a deeper understanding of the school plan, implement behavior matrices to reinforce expectations during the daily routine. The helpful part of the matrices is that this clear visual will be there for both students and parents. It can also be adjusted quickly as students spend more time in the virtual learning environment. 

Challenge yourself to set expectations that have incentives/rewards that can be fulfilled in a virtual environment. Check out some ideas for virtual incentives in our distance learning guide

Another way to organize your behavior plans is to think of them as contracts. If you have older students, you can use a mutual agreement form that can be signed when agreeing to the class expectations. These contracts can be used to help map out your behavior plans before sharing them broadly with the class. 

Another strategy to use is to share the information with your colleagues for feedback. Leverage input from other teachers who are implementing new plans as a way to learn more. Sharing plans is helpful to understand what the possibilities are for your students. 

When strategizing about behavior management plans, give yourself some time to adjust and explore. Take some time to consider the nuances of the digital learning environment and leverage your resources.