and Strategies for Positive Behavior:
School-Wide Programs & Strategies:
The Good Behavior Game
Elementary School (First and Second Grade)
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in socially withdrawn children.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.
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.
& Support Information
Manual developed by the Baltimore Prevention Program available at
Generally, little to no outside support or assistance will be needed
in order for teachers to implement this program in their classroom.
Dr. Sheppard Kellam
American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
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.
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,
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,
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,
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.
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.
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,
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,
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.