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Behavior Main Page

Ten Principles of Positive Behavior

Programs & Strategies for Positive Behavior


     Targeted Early      Interventions


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Support for Positive Student Behavior

Character Education Effective Behavioral SupportsThe Good Behavior GamePeer TutoringPositive ReinforcementProject AchieveProject PatheSecond Step

Programs and Strategies for Positive Behavior:
School-Wide Programs & Strategies:

The Good Behavior Game

Student Population Served
Elementary School (First and Second Grade)

Program Description
The goal of this game is to reduce general classroom disruptions and student aggression, and it has also been used to reduce shyness in socially withdrawn children. To play the good behavior game, a teacher divides the class into three teams, making sure that each team contains equal numbers of students experiencing social and behavioral difficulties. The teams compete for prizes, privileges, and special activities. Check marks are recorded on the blackboard for a team when disruptive behavior by any team member occurs. If the check marks for a team remain below a pre-set number by the end of the game, the team wins. All teams may win if their check marks do not exceed the pre-set number. The rules of the game are posted in a central location, and a scoreboard with each team and the names of its members is posted. The game should be played for short periods in the beginning, and increasing in both time and frequency throughout the school year.

There have been many variations of the Good Behavior Game developed for use in classrooms. Some researchers have included a positive social behavior component where the children receive points for the positive behavior demonstrated by members of their team. Some teachers have moved away from tangible rewards after the game has been in place for several months to increase the children's intrinsic motivation for behaving appropriately. Regardless of the variation used it is important that the team format be in place to ensure that team members are dependent on one another to earn privileges.

Training & Support Information
Manual developed by the Baltimore Prevention Program available at http://www.bpp.jhu.edu/publish/Manuals/gbg.pdf. Generally, little to no outside support or assistance will be needed in order for teachers to implement this program in their classroom.

Contact Information
Dr. Sheppard Kellam
American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 944-5418

Barrish, H.H., Saunders, M., & Wolf, M.M. (1969). Good behavior game: Effects of individual contingencies for group consequences on disruptive behavior in a classroom. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 2, 119-124.

Dolan, L. J., Kellam, S. G., Brown, C. H., Werthamer-Larsson, L., Rebok, G. W., Mayer, L. S., Laudolff, J., Turkkan, J., Ford, C., & Wheeler, L. (1993). The short-term impact of two classroom-based preventive interventions on aggressive and shy behaviors and poor achievement. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 14, 317-345.

Ialongo, N. S., Werthamer, L., Kellam, S., Brown, C. H., Wang, S., and Lin, Y. (1999). Proximal impact of two first-grade preventive interventions on the early risk behaviors for later substance abuse, depression, and antisocial behavior. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 599-641.

Kellam, S. G. & Anthony, J. C. (1998). Targeting early antecedents to prevent tobacco smoking: Findings from an epidemiologically based randomized field trial. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 1490-1495.

Kellam, S. G., Ling, X., Merisca, R., Brown, C. H., & Ialongo, N. (1998). The effect of the level of aggression in the first grade classroom on the course and malleability of aggressive behavior into middle school. Development and Psychopathology, 10, 165-185.

Kellam, S. G., & Rebok, G. W. (1992). Building developmental and etiological theory through epidemiologically based preventive intervention trials. In J. McCord & R. E. Tremblay (Eds.), Preventing antisocial behavior: Interventions from birth through adolescence (pp. 162-195). New York: Guilford Press.

Kellam, S. G., Rebok, G. W., Ialongo, N., & Mayer, L. S. (1994). The course and malleability of aggressive behavior from early first grade into middle school: Results of a developmental epidemiologically based preventive trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 259-281.

Kellam, S.G., Rebok, G.W., Mayer, L.S., Ialongo, N., & Kalodner, C.R. (1994). Depressive symptoms over first grade and their response to a developmental epidemiologically based preventive trial aimed at improving achievement. Development and Psychopathology, 6, 463-481.

Kellam, S.G., Werthamer-Larrson, L., Dolan, L.J., Brown, C.H., Mayer, L.S., Rebok, G.W., Anthony, J.C., Laudolff, J., Edelsohn, G., & Wheeler, L. (1991). Developmental epidemiologically based preventive trials: Baseline modeling of early target behaviors and depressive symptoms. American Journal of Community Psychology, 19, 563-584.

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