Classroom Behavior Observation Checklist

Written by lora mathews
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Classroom Behavior Observation Checklist
Mark the box beside the behaviour you see. (OK-check image by Brett Bouwer from

Monitor the frequency of off-task, negative or antisocial behaviours in your class. Complete some objective observations of the troubling behaviour in order to maintain records of interventions you have attempted to correct or replace the behaviour. These logs are also crucial to gaining referral for social work or special education evaluations. Observational data is a clear expression of what the student did, when he did it and what (if any) consequences he faced. This behavioural data is recorded most efficiently on a checklist that allows a busy educator to scan the list and mark those actions she sees and make a few specific notes at the bottom of the form. There are many variations of this form available online.

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Jot down the child's name, the date and duration of observation, and your professional title. Use the behaviour checklist to provide objective, nonjudging observational data for your student. Report only what you see without making assumptions. Log those actions antecedent and subsequent to the target behaviour as well as the behaviour itself. It is not necessary to record all behaviour and interactions for a prolonged period--only to mark what you saw occur.

Observe him objectively.
Observe him objectively. (child image by Zoltán Futó from


Choose vivid, concise words for your checklist so it is easy to know if you observe the behaviour. Descriptors such as "attentive," "interrupting" or "fidgeting" make it simple to select the specific behaviour taking place. Since the observation is a snapshot of a targeted action, be distinct in your notes regarding the frequency and severity of the behaviour--according to Harvard researchers, this observational data has greater validity than the more vague method of using a severity rating scale. Specify when the targeted behaviour usually occurs (morning, afternoon, Fridays) and provide as much detail as possible to help identify any underlying medical condition or destructive home situation that may be a contributing factor.

Detail is crucial.
Detail is crucial. (body painting image by Cat from

Be Consistent

Use the same observational instrument each time, instead of switching between a checklist (when you have one handy) and a sticky note (when you do not). Record the information directly on the form each time you observe the student you have identified for intervention. State honestly and clearly which consequences were given in response to the student's actions. Conduct the observation in the classroom setting as discreetly as possible each time--perhaps sitting quietly in a corner rather than hovering over the child with your menacing clipboard and pen. Be inconspicuous and uniform in your observational practice.

Classroom Behavior Observation Checklist
Conduct your observation the same way each time. (clipboard wall image by Paul Moore from

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