10 Positive Behavior Support Strategies for Students in the Classroom


Teachers can help students develop motivation by using external rewards that affirm positive behavior and build pride. Strategically highlighting student success will show students that their accomplishments matter and will encourage a continuation of the positive, productive behavior.

Desiring affirmation is a natural instinct. We don’t always like to admit it, but having someone we care about tell us we did well feels good and matters. When students are affirmed in class, it promotes positive classroom behavior and builds motivation. Consistently getting negative feedback without an adequate balance of positive reinforcement can cause students to lose investment in class and exhibit negative classroom behaviors.

Teachers can help students develop motivation by using external rewards that affirm positive behavior and build pride. Strategically highlighting student success will show students that their accomplishments matter and will encourage a continuation of the positive, productive behavior.

→  Use these PBIS strategies to highlight students and encourage positive classroom behavior.  

PBIS Classroom Ideas that Affirm Kids and Promote Positive Classroom Behavior

Give Students Feedback

Find ways to give students feedback constantly. Write specific notes on assignments, and find time to confer with students. Highlight positive trends in their work. Let them know that what they do matters and that they bring strong skills to the learning table. This motivates students to believe in themselves and to give their best work daily. Focusing on producing solid work encourages positive classroom behavior.

Post Student Work

Use one bulletin board inside or near the classroom that highlights work students have produced. Include student work that has shown mastery of a skill. Intentionally update the board to highlight a variety of products and students. Thus, showing students the importance of their work and giving many students an opportunity to shine. When students feel like they are smart, they work harder to prove it to themselves time and time again, which makes for great classroom focus.

Share Personal Growth Trackers

Use trackers for students to assess their growth towards meeting classroom goals. These can be shared with students individually at key points in the quarter or term. The important thing is giving students a tool to see how their day-to-day work experience is leading them to a bigger, overarching goal. Find ways to make this impactful for students that may not be meeting their goals by giving them specific feedback about what you have seen them do that they can continue in order to see more growth.

Post Visual Trackers

Healthy competition can drive students and have them excited to try their best in class. Have a tracker that includes all student names in the classroom. Add stickers to names as students reach goals. For example, reward students with a new book sticker every time they complete an independent reading book. Or, give a student a green 100 next to their names whenever they earn a perfect score on an assignment. Again, showing students that the work that they do in class and the effort they put into that work matters will encourage positive participation.

Have a Student of the Day

Pick a “student of the day” that has exhibited strong character and learning habits in the classroom. Give them special privileges for the day, such as sitting in a more comfortable seat for the class, wearing a crown or picking the music during independent work time. Allowing students to be recognized for their positive attitude and work habits will further encourage the positive behavior. Additionally, making PBIS “student of the day” a fun incentive will have students working to earn it.

Put Students in the “Hot Seat”

The “hot seat” means that all eyes will be on one student’s excellent work. Circulate during independent work time to see which student has a solid start to the work, and use their work as the exemplar for the entire class. Project or read the work and explain how this student has met the criteria for success. Be intentional about highlighting students who may not always get this type of affirmation. This can excite the student but also influence their peers to try their best to make a great product as well.

Track Positive Behaviors

When students are kind, helpful and show strong work habits, give them points. Customize the behaviors to exemplify the habits you expect students to exhibit in class. You can track behavior points using the Kickboard app or a system you create. This system can be a great way to highlight the positive attributes students bring to class so make sure you tie points to the specific behaviors students are exhibiting.

Make Positive Phone Calls or Texts

It can be challenging to make a number of positive phone calls each night, but it means so much for parents to hear encouraging feedback about their child’s classroom involvement. Make a plan to complete two PBIS-related phone calls a night, which could mean that all parents get one call each month. Intentionally find a moment to highlight all students.

Texting could be even faster! Send parents pictures and a quick message about something great their child did in class.

Give Awards

A printable PBIS certificate will go a long way. If you have Kickboard, set a goal for students to hit and celebrate when they make the “Super Star” list. Highlight student grades, character traits, habits, and other accomplishments by presenting small awards. This can be in the form of a ceremony or simply handed out at the end of the class. This permanent artifact will remind students about their greatness.

Give Shout-Outs

Simply put: notice about a student. Teach students to shout each other out as well. Have shout-out cards or a special way shout outs are done at the end of class. They can be shouts-outs rooted in values that are emphasized in class such as perseverance or positivity. Or, it can simply be a shout out because it’s someone’s birthday. Make positive affirmation normal in your classroom to encourage students and support their esteem.

All kids have had a moment that is worth highlighting, be it academic achievement, effort or kindness. Giving students affirmation for the gifts that they bring to the classroom will promote positivity. Make the time to let students shine and see how it helps the entire class thrive.

Kickboard believes that positive encouragement and affirmation promotes productive classroom behavior and gives students the opportunity to shine and show their leadership. Here at Kickboard we have seen many schools turnaround student behavior by using our PBIS mobile app, web platform, and professional development services to support their classroom systems. Kickboard helps teachers to track student behavior, identify cultural trends, and implement systems to improve behavioral results.