For students with ADHD, a common issue is that teachers grow weary of redirecting and prompting student behavior. Therefore, self-management and monitoring can be a valuable intervention for students with ADHD, though many other students may also benefit from this type of intervention.

Self-management ensures that students take responsibility for their own behavior and record their own success.

The simplified steps of this intervention are as follows:

  • Establish a prompting method (e.g. timer, MotivAIDER –, verbal prompt)
  • Create a method for self-assessment (e.g. behavior interval recording form)
  • Clearly define target behaviors (e.g. speaking aloud without raising hand)
  • Explain self-monitoring procedures (prompts and assessment form)
  •  Instruct student to begin self-management during target period

This intervention can be combined with goals, reinforcement (verbal, physical reward, etc.), and/or self-charting.

One important tip is that the target behaviors must be clear to the student. Defining these behaviors in the student’s own words, and providing explicit examples and non-examples may be valuable.

A full brief of this intervention is available at the Missouri EBI Network:




Recommended Resources for Behavior Interventions

Overall, I believe that the following websites do a great job of summarizing behavior interventions into easy-to-use steps and including the references for the research behind the intervention.

  1. Intervention Central – Behavior Interventions (
    • This website is crucial and a great first step, including interventions and resources under various categories including self-management, special needs, apps, rewards, motivation, and school-wide resources.
  2. Missouri Evidence-Based Interventions Network (
    • Broken down into acquisition, proficiency (attention-seeking or escape), generalization, and classwide interventions.

These resources are also applicable for other types of interventions (e.g. academic), but particularly for

Mystery Motivator: Classroom Wide

Mystery motivator is a classroom-wide intervention for dealing with problem behavior. All students contribute to the reward, and the element of surprise creates uncertainty. As Kowalewicz & Coffee (2014) described it, “the Mystery Motivator is a contingency contract in that it is framed around a written description of dependent relationships involving student performance, teacher performance, and reinforcing consequences” (p.2).

Steps, simplified (more information at the link below):

  1. Develop a MM chart with days of week/month.
  2. Randomly select days students can earn reward, mark chart accordingly (e.g. covering the chart with post-its, using invisible ink)
  3. Set behavioral goals (2-4) for the class.
  4. Determine a cut-off number of target behaviors (e.g. talking out of turn) for the class to become eligible the reward.
  5. Monitor during the class, keeping track of target behaviors throughout (e.g. tallys)
  6.  Lift chart at end of day/period and see if students earned the reward.
  7. Either: a) provide the reward immediately if goal reached and eligible, b) praise the class but remind that don’t win every day (if reached but ineligible), c) review expected behavior and encourage class (if below target but eligible).

Positive reinforcement and consistency are crucial to this intervention.

An entire description of this intervention is available from InterventionCentral’s Behavior Interventions: Schoolwide Classroom Mgmt page, or specifically at


Kowalewicz, E. A., & Coffee, G. (2014). Mystery motivator: A tier 1 classroom behavioral intervention. School Psychology Quarterly, 29(2), 138-156.


Social Skills Instruction

Social skills instruction is a very simple way to improve student functioning both in the classroom and in their life beyond school. Generally, social skills instruction should take place in classroom settings or small groups if necessary or extreme, so that students are able to adequately learn to generalize these behaviors with their peers.


One great free resource for social skills instruction is Shaprio’s 101 Ways to Teach Students Social Skills, available in PDF format from This workbook has 101 different activities on different topics, each of which is simple and shouldn’t take long to implement in either a classroom setting or as part of a behavior plan for a specific topic.

Topics include:

  • Communication
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Being part of a group
  • Expressing your feelings
  • Caring about yourself and others
  • Problem solving
  • Listening
  • Standing up for yourself
  • Managing conflict

Shapiro, L. E. (2004). 101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills. Bureau for At Risk Youth (via Incentive Plus).

Daily Behavior Report Card

A behavior report card is considered both an evidence-based intervention and a progress monitoring tool, which is ideal for teachers and school psychologists who are looking for an efficient intervention for student behavior.

5 general steps:

  • Identify behavior to be targeted
  • Identify how often a rating should occur
  • Determine the type of scale that will work best for the identified behavior
  • Reliability checks (if for a high-stakes decision) – 1 in every 5 ratings
  • Home-school collaboration and communication

Other than these steps, this intervention is flexible and can be modified for many different types of behaviors. Vannest and colleagues, referenced below, gives more detail on each of these steps and includes some specific examples.

Another great resource related to Daily Behavior Report Cards is the InterventionCentral Report Card Maker:


Vannest, K. J., Burke, M. D., Sauber, S. B., Davis, J. L., & Davis, C. R. (2011). Daily Behavior Report Cards as Evidence-Based Practice for Teachers. Beyond Behavior, 20(2), 13-21.

Sit and Watch

This intervention is arguably the most simple intervention for teaching a student a new classroom-based skill (a desired behavior). This intervention is essentially a modified time-out, in which the student is taught why they were removed and what they should have done instead. After a brief period of time watching the activity from the “Sit and Watch” place, the student rejoins the group and is praised for correct behavior.

A clear set of rules and desired behaviors, explicit teaching of this procedure and why it is important, and having a model child or group, are all essential elements of this intervention. This intervention is ideal rather than a simple timeout, especially for younger students (e.g. Pre-K or K) who are still learning the expectations of school.

More detail, including references, is available at