Reinforcement Menus for Behavior Management Plans

A group of students in a classroom.
A group of students in a classroom. Hero Images/Getty Images
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A Menu for Elementary Students

The Menu. Websterlearning

Younger students may need more primary reinforcers than secondary students, while at the same time those primary reinforcers, such as pop corn treats, are more "socially valid" or age appropriate. Still, presenting this reinforcement menu or one like it will help your learn what your class is willing to work for.

Once you have used the menu to poll your class, you might want to create a choice chart, or individual choice tickets/cards for students who need to be regularly supported for appropriate classroom behavior. Don't offer all choices: offer the five to ten most popular choices. You will find for a general education classroom that secondary or social reinforcers, such as being line leader, may be enough. Many children with disabilities, especially specific learning disabilities, are also keen on social reinforcers, as they may feel they are left out of the "goodies" in the classroom management arsenal of teachers helper, messenger, etc.

Printable PDF of the Elementary Choice Menu

You may see that I clustered the edible choices near the bottom so you can "white them out" if your school has a policy against using edible rewards. Even if you are able to use some edible items as rewards, you may not want to visibly "memorialize" them on a document floating around your school.

More Ideas for a Reinforcement Menu

Tangible or Primary Reinforcers (some with a social twist.)

  • Purchase ice cream from the school store.
  • A Soda from the Teacher's Lounge.
  • Lunch with the teacher (teacher brings a treat.)
  • A special pencil

Social or Secondary Reinforcers

  • Sitting in the Teacher's Chair
  • Choosing a partner to work on a project.
  • Lead a classroom game, like "Doggy Doggy Where's Your Bone?
  • Choose the movie for a classroom reward (i.e. When the class has filled the marble jar.)
  • Wear a badge and be "the Teacher's Assistant" for a day.

Preferred Activities

  • Play Wii with a friend.
  • Build with blocks
  • Use a Yo-Yo or other special toy.
  • Play war or another card game with a preferred friend.
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A Menu for Secondary Students

A menu for choosing preferred reinforcement. Websterlearning

Reinforcement for Secondary Students needs to be age appropriate but still reflect the things that they rewarding. At the secondary level, except for students with severe disabilities or very low functioning autism, almost all reinforcers will have some secondary reinforcing power, if only the attention students receive from peers when they earn them.

Creating choice is a strong reinforcer for older students. Teenagers are very sensitive to status in their social group, so reinforcement needs to be designed to help teens gain status, especially for appropriate or targeted replacement behaviors.

A Free Printable PDF of a Reinforcement Menu

This includes choices for secondary students.

Other Reinforcers that Confer Status

  • Coupons for Starbucks.
  • Coupons for fast food restaurants.
  • Coupons for discounts at movie theaters.
  • Free dress days (for uniform schools.
  • Hair scrunchies (for girls.)
  • Gel wrist bands (for boys, depending on your community)
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Your Citation
Webster, Jerry. "Reinforcement Menus for Behavior Management Plans." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Webster, Jerry. (2020, August 26). Reinforcement Menus for Behavior Management Plans. Retrieved from Webster, Jerry. "Reinforcement Menus for Behavior Management Plans." ThoughtCo. (accessed September 26, 2021).