Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Behavior Management & SEAT

What the Teacher Wants! is having a linky party for behavior management, which is a PASSION of mine!  I teach a kindergarten special day class and use a simple token economy system in my classroom.  Students earn happy faces with Velcro on the back, which they attach to a chart that is on the white board.  At the end of the day, they take their happy faces down, count them with 1:1 correspondence, and get their reward (reinforcer).  In the past, I have had students who need more than this.  One idea I've tried with great success is making "passports" that they carry with them to all centers and circle how well they did--a happy face, straight face, and a sad face.  It works well because it's always in front of them, reminding them what they're working for.  
Before implementing a behavior management system, it's imperative to know several different things, such as identifying and developing reinforcers for your students, and what the function of their behavior is.  Here are some things about behavior I've learned over the years in my ABA trainings and simply working with students in my classroom.

ALL behavior is a form of communication and serves a function (to get something or get out of something).  There are 4 functions of behavior, and you can easily remember them with this simple acronym: SEAT...
S-sensory (taps the pleasure zone in the brain)
E-escape (trying to escape or avoid something)
A-attention (when a student is trying to get your attention or that of his/her peers)
T-tangible (can be a toy/object or power/control). 

One behavior that looks the same can have very different functions.  Ask yourself: "What is he/she getting from it?"  When you figure out the function of the behavior, you'll want to try to be proactive instead of reactive.  Here is one example (of many) for how to be proactive vs. reactive for just one example of each function... 

Sensory: give a squishy ball vs. "stop it"

Escape: provide a first, then or when, then vs. stopping them

Attention: positive reinforcement/attention before the behavior vs. ignoring the behavior (I know you may be thinking "but ignoring works!", but just think-if a new, appropriate behavior is fragile and not reinforced, the likelihood of it being maintained is decreased.) 

Tangible: for an item--teach them to ask for the item vs. take it away from them; for power--give them an amount of control that is acceptable by you (for example, I had a kid who was bossy, so I gave him the job of picking who got to go line up first from our whole group activity...solved that problem!)   

Every behavior that you experience will fit into one of these 4 functions, and knowing the function will allow you to figure out how to modify the behavior, if needed.  Think about some of your own behaviors!...What are the functions of your behaviors?!?!? 

For a little poster to remember SEAT, click here!     

For more behavior management ideas, you may also be interested in reading our posts on Walk, Talk, Rock and Seat Cushions for motivating students.


  1. You just taught me a lot. I printed out your post to share with the teachers on my team, seriously informative. Thank you!

    I found your blog through this linky party....awesome!

    I'd love it if you stopped by my new blog...go ahead and enter my giveaway before Saturday while you're there. ;)

    What Happens in First Grade

  2. Thanks for sharing your great ideas! I found your adorable blog through the linky party. I would love for you to stop by my blog when you get a chance. It is so great to find other SoCal teachers in the blog world.
    Bright Concepts 4 Teachers

  3. I love the name of your blog! Cute name. I also really like your behavior management system. This would work great for boys!
    The Hive



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