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How to celebrate positive behavior with your PBIS behavior plan

Kimber PierichFebruary 1, 2023

How to celebrate positive behavior with your PBIS behavior plan

So, your school has a PBIS behavior plan and you’ve managed to get buy-in from your staff. Now the question is, where do you begin with PBIS rewards ideas? 

Positive behavior is contagious, so the best way to celebrate it is with others. As a teacher, you know that a student’s behavior is influenced by many factors. One of the most important factors is the environment in which they learn. A successful program often involves a comprehensive PBIS behavior chart. A positive school climate is created when students feel supported and have clear expectations for behavior. Students who have challenging home lives or who struggle with learning challenges often need extra PBIS support in order to be successful in school. 

This guide will help you celebrate positive behavior at your classroom level and as part of a schoolwide initiative.

Celebrate PBIS success with your students

These celebrations are the time to recognize the positive behavior of your students. When you use PBIS incentives, you reinforce positive behavior and model how it should be responded to by others. The more your students see this happening, the more likely they will be to respond in kind when they see someone else being rewarded for something good that they’ve done.

These moments can also create opportunities for educators to share anecdotes with one another about moments when their students have demonstrated positive behavior to one another.

Recognize students’ improvement and growth

When you’ve been working hard to strengthen your classroom climate, you will see students making improvements in their problem behaviors and their academics. Celebrate these steps with your students by recognizing them for their efforts!

Recognize improvement in behavior

In order to reward positive behavior, you need to first be able to recognize it. When a student makes an effort to improve his or her behavior, stop what you’re doing and make eye contact with that student. Give him or her verbal praise right away (i.e., “I appreciate that!”). Then, jot down notes about what happened so that if it happens again, you can use your notes from this interaction as a reminder of what worked well and why the student was successful at improving his or her behavior.

Celebrate small steps

When we start out on any new journey, there may be times where we take one step forward and two steps back — it’s normal! Celebrating small steps is important for building confidence in ourselves as teachers while helping our students learn how far they’ve come. 

Recognize Improvement in Academics

If there’s one area where students can always improve upon their performance, it’s academics. If a student starts doing well on quizzes or tests after you’ve begun implementing PBIS strategies into the classroom environment, let everyone know! Be sure to not just celebrate the success but also remind yourself later on how it was accomplished. This way, when another challenge arises around test time, then maybe someone else will remember how awesome these strategies really are so they can use them too. 

Praise students for showing empathy

When you teach your students to show empathy and consideration of others, they’ll begin taking notice of the positive behavior in their peers. As a result, you’ll want to praise them for their kindness. Your students will see how much the recognition means to their classmates who receive it and will be encouraged to continue exhibiting those behaviors themselves.

Here are some ways that students can praise each other:

  • “You were so helpful today when we had our class meeting! I noticed how you helped Ms. Jones organize the materials for everyone else before starting our meeting.”
  • “You did an awesome job solving that problem yesterday, it showed me that things can be resolved without anyone getting hurt or upset.”

PBIS celebrations are even better when practiced schoolwide

The best part about PBIS celebrations is that they’re not just for students. As a teacher, you can integrate these events into your classroom to reward students’ good behavior, but it’s also important to recognize the adults in your school who have helped make positive behavior a priority.

Celebrations are a great way to show everyone how much you care about them and their work. It doesn’t matter if it’s their first day at the job or their last year of teaching before retirement — celebrating achievements with the whole staff helps build community and lets people know that what they do matters.

In addition to building that sense of teamwork and connection among teachers, celebrating successful PBIS programs can be very motivating for students as well. Students love seeing their teachers happy, so when you take time out of your busy schedule to celebrate something special with them (or even with yourself), it will help keep them engaged in class!

We can all benefit from being celebrated for our efforts and accomplishments

Celebrations are a great way to reward students for their efforts. They are a great motivator for students, helping them feel proud of themselves and reminding them that they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Celebrations can also help build positive relationships between teachers and students, fostering trust in the classroom environment where everyone has an equal chance to succeed.


We hope you found this article helpful. We know that giving praise to others can be tricky, but we believe that by implementing these steps into your classroom and schoolwide celebrations, it will be much easier for everyone involved. Remember that students learn best when they’re put first — they love feeling good about themselves. You can use these PBIS celebrations as an opportunity to model good behavior for students, showing them how important positive reinforcement is in fostering an environment of respect and acceptance.

Photo credit: Google Education

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Your toolkit for a successful year

FREE PBIS TEMPLATES to lighten your workload and effectively manage your classroom

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