A first-grade program that combines a classroom management strategy (the Good Behavior Game) with an enhanced academic curriculum in language arts and math.
The First-Grade Classroom Prevention Program is a first-grade program that combines (i) the Good Behavior Game – a classroom management strategy for decreasing disruptive behavior; and (ii) an enhanced academic curriculum designed to improve students’ reading, writing, math, and critical thinking skills.
The Good Behavior Game rewards positive group, as opposed to individual, behavior. The teacher initially divides her class into three heterogeneous teams, and reads the Game’s rules to the class. Teams receive check marks on a posted chart when one of their members exhibits a disruptive behavior (e.g., talking out of turn, fighting). Any team with four or fewer check marks at the end of a specified time – ranging from 10 minutes at the start of the year to a full day later on – is rewarded. Tangible rewards are used early in the year (e.g., stickers, activity books). As the year progresses, intangible rewards (e.g., designing a bulletin board), delay in reward delivery, and fading of rewards are used to generalize behaviors. The Game is supplemented by weekly teacher-led class meetings designed to build children’s skills in social problem solving.
The enhanced academic curriculum supplements the existing curriculum with activities that include interactive read-aloud periods, journal writing, dramatic presentation of written work, critical analysis of issues from students’ daily life, and the Mimosa math program (which emphasizes use of manipulatives, such as clock faces and pattern blocks, to solve math problems).
Additional strategies are used for students who do not respond to the group intervention, such as providing tutoring to academically-struggling students, and forming single-member Good Behavior Game teams for students who remain disruptive, to provide individualized incentives for good behavior.
Teachers receive approximately 60 hours of training in the program prior to implementation, as well as supervision and feedback from program experts on a monthly basis during the year. The program’s training and content is standardized; its cost is approximately $561 per student in 2017 dollars.