Defining Behavioral Expectations

back Back to Behavior EBP List



Once core values have been identified, specific and explicit behavioral expectations should be developed for important classroom routines and the classroom as a whole. This process involves four steps and results in your core curriculum for behavior.

First, identify the important routines within your classroom. Elementary classroom teachers typically begin by identifying the daily schedule and activities or routines within the schedule such as arrival, independent reading, small group instruction, cooperative learning, transition, dismissal, etc. Middle, high school, and special education teachers identify the activities or routines within each period of instruction. Next, for each activity or routine, identify specific positively stated and observable behavioral expectations based on each core value using short phases and action words.

For example, during small group language time, it would be respectful to “Keep hands and feet to yourself,” responsible to “Use a small group voice,” and be an achiever by “Complete your work.” Third, once expectations for each routine have been identified, it is helpful to review the language across routines for consistency. For example, if you have used the phrase “Complete your work” in one area and “Finish your work” in another, choose one and use it throughout the core curriculum. Finally, review expectations across routines and determine which ones are true for all classroom activities regardless of routine such as follow adult directions, use kind words, and come prepared with materials and work. These become your classroom expectations or rules.


Classroom Rules & Expectations from Michael Kennedy on Vimeo.

Vimeo PBIS video (11min 48 sec)


Create and submit materials to earn a Badge

Behavior Badge


Anderson, C. M., & Spaulding, S. A. (2007). Using positive behavior support to design effective classrooms. Beyond Behavior, 16 (2), 27-31.

By Howard Muscott, posted on Thursday January 2, 2014


Report Technical Problem