'Rubber-Band' Intervention

Teachers often find it difficult to monitor the frequency of problem student behaviors. In this clever behavior-management strategy, the teacher uses keeps track of student behaviors using rubber-bands placed around the wrist.


  • Rubber-bands
  • Simple student self-monitoring chart (see attachment at the bottom of this page)


  • Develop a reward menu for the individual selected for this intervention. Decide how many points that you will require the student to earn to 'buy' specific rewards.
  • Review with the student the kinds of disruptive classroom behaviors (e.g., talking out, out of seat, approaching other students at inappropriate times, etc.) that you are targeting to be reduced. Give the student clear examples of each problem behavior.
  • Introduce the rubber-band monitoring intervention (described below), making sure that the student fully understands the procedures and criteria for success.

Steps in Implementing This Intervention

Step 1: During the period of the day that monitoring is in effect, put up to 6 rubber-bands around one wrist at the start of each half-hour. Each time that you must verbally remind or prompt the student about his or her behavior, transfer a rubber-band from one wrist to the other.

Step 2: At the end of each half-hour, count up the number of rubber-bands remaining on the original wrist. If at least one rubber-band remains, your student earns a '+' rating for that half-hour.

Step 3: Briefly approach the student at the end of each half-hour to review his or her behavioral performance and (if earned) to have the student add a '+' to a simple monitoring chart (see attachment at the bottom of this page) taped to the student's desk.

Step 4: When the student has earned a sufficient number of '+' points, allow the student to redeem those points for a reward.

Step 5: As your student's classroom behaviors improve, gradually reduce the number of rubber-bands that you place on your wrist at the start of each monitoring period-until you have only 1-2. At that point, you can consider discontinuing this strategy or using it only intermittently.

Jim's Hints

Use Rubber-Bands of Different Colors to Track Multiple Students. If you like this intervention and are up to the challenge, you can track the behaviors of at least two students by putting rubber-bands of varying colors on your wrist-with specific colors matched to specific students. When you must approach a particular student, you simply move a rubber-band of that student's color to your other wrist.