The #5MinBehaviourPlan by @LeadingLearner and @TeacherToolkit

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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The #5MinBehaviourPlan has been developed to help address the frustration that many teachers and staff, who work in schools, have with low-level disruption.  The background thinking and some more details to help you implement the #5MinBehaviourPlan can be found in the blog post, Getting Behaviour Right: Research Plus Experience” by @LeadingLearner.

The plan focuses on rules, routines, relationships and disciplinary interventions (rewards, sanctions and behaviour management strategies).

The 5 Minute Behaviour Plan - ROUGH DRAFT
The 5 Minute Behaviour Plan – ROUGH DRAFT
  • The Class Picture What key information do you know about the class – number of students, ability level, key characters?  It’s important to find out as soon as possible about students with special or additional needs.  Don’t forget to look at the room(s) you will be teaching the class in as they may have different physical layouts some of which may be changed – desk arrangements – and some of which are fixed for example in Science laboratories.

Rules & Routines

  • Rules & Expectations You need a simple set of agreed rules and expectations that you can use to guide students and refer to in terms of your expectations about how students will behave.  A number of schools will have rules that are used in all classrooms.  There is a lot of sense in this approach as students quickly get use to them and remember them.  When writing rules – keep them positive (express the behaviour wanted rather than a series of “do nots”) and not too many rules otherwise no one can remember them.  You may want to focus on a rule for a day, week or term with a class where they take collective responsibility for keeping to it.  Simply reminding students of key rules, just before an activity, can reduce the number of behavioural incidents.
  • Seating Plan There are various different seating plans that can be used – boy/girl, similar ability groups, kagan groups, alphabetical, friendship etc.  You need to match the grouping to your learning purpose for the class.  There may well be certain students who don’t learn well together and the plan helps keep these apart whilst not treating them any differently – all students will sit in the place you give them.  Do this from the very first lesson of the year – it is part of asserting your authority.  Don’t be afraid to change the plan and freshen things up half-termly or termly.
  • Start & End of Lesson Routines Getting the start and end of lessons right really helps.  It sets the tone for the lesson with high expectations from the beginning.  What are your procedures for the start of lessons?  Students may line up outside the classroom and there can be a “meet and greet” – sorting out uniform issues, calming some students down and giving others a smile.  Alternatively, you may want students to enter the room sit down and get equipment and books out ready to start the lesson.  It’s really important that you are on time and ready to start teaching immediately.  At the end of the lesson you may use a stand behind chairs, goodbye and dismissal a row or table at the time.  Alternatively, this could be an opportunity for a dismissal with some AfL activity or reflection on the learning.
  • Transitions between Activities It doesn’t matter what subject or age group you teach moving from one activity to another is a time when students can lose focus leading to low-level disruption.  Simple routines for handing out or collecting in books or equipment are critical for all teachers.  If you are teaching Science, Art, Technology, Music, PE, Drama – in fact, any practical subjects – then it is critical to think through major transitions of moving to and from practical work if you want to maintain good discipline.  Try a few different routines until you have one that works for you and then hone it through practice.

Be persistent; be consistent and drill students in your classroom routines until they are second nature to them and you – make starts, ends and transitions orderly, purposeful and safe.

Student-Teacher Relationships

  • Assertiveness   Be assertive and make sure you’re the leader in the classroom.  How will you show this through the implementing of rules, use of positive body language and use of your voice – controlled and calm not shouting.  What are your strengths and what do you need to work on?
  • Co-operation – You can increase co-operation by:
    • Catching students doing things right and praising,
    • Going the extra mile to support a student with their work,
    • Taking part in extra-curricular activities
    • Taking a general and genuine, but not intrusive, interest in students’ lives and interests.
    • What is the talent of each of the students in your class/form – what do they excel at?

Disciplinary Interventions

  • Rewards & Sanctions Think through possible rewards and sanctions you can use to reinforce positive behaviour or correct poor behaviour, those operating across the school plus a few of your own.  Verbal praise and reprimands, stickers, merits, detentions, positive notes in books/planners, phone calls home etc. are all fairly standard responses used in many schools.  Have you a few more inventive ones of you own to add?
  • Proportionate & Escalating Response
  1. Initial Response: It is important you have a ready toolkit of low-level responses to poor behaviour.  Some examples, from which you may choose, are non-verbal cues, tactical positioning, giving a simple direction, tactical pausing, reminding a student of the agreed rule that needs following.  Record in this box the strategies that you find most useful and suit your classroom style.
  2. Secondary Response: If a student continues to misbehave you will need to escalate the response whilst remaining proportionate.  Strategies you may choose to use – choice & consequence, moving seats, simple blocking and again reminding a student of the agreed rule that needs following.  Allow a student a bit of “compliance time” but not too much, keep calm and seek to de-escalate the situation if possible so that it is you who will deal with it.  Record in this box the strategies that you find most useful and suit your classroom style.
  3. Final Response: If an individual student is disturbing the learning of a class you must be able to put a stop to it.  Teachers must be able to teach and students must be able to learn.  Some schools have systems where students are referred to another class or there is an “urgent referral system” but something similar could easily be agreed between teachers in a department or phase.
  • Support Needed & Review of Plan All of us need support with particular students and classes from time to time.  This may be in terms of advice about the students, for example from form tutors, or what to do in certain situations that you are trying to resolve.  Keep a note here of the support you want, any questions you have for other staff or information you might want to feedback to the Learning Support Department or pastoral staff.  Also keep a note of things that have gone well and what you need to do to improve the plan, it would be a near miracle if everything went well first time!
The #5MinBehaviourPlan
The #5MinBehaviourPlan –

As with all these things, practice makes perfect.  When you first use the #5MinBehaviourPlan try to find colleagues who will work with you so you can all share your developing understanding and expertise.  Over time you will begin to internalise the main elements of the plan and explicitly managing behaviour will become more second nature – that’s the time to help another colleague who wants to become better and better at managing behaviour within the classroom.  We would be interested in your thoughts and reflections prior to, during or after using the planner.  Please feel free to leave a comment below or speak to us via Twitter.

We would love to see your examples of the #5MinBehaviourPlan and will add a few to this blog post, so other people have a few exemplars to help them implement the plan.

Download the resources:

You can download the resource by visiting here:

10 thoughts on “The #5MinBehaviourPlan by @LeadingLearner and @TeacherToolkit

  1. Very comprehensive plan, I am going to use this myself and hope it will also assist me in rembering the positive side of behaviour more than the negative! I always advocate planning for behaviour, how will you reward those who do as you want or go over and above, then what will you do if some do not.
    It is key to sort the eroding drips now before they become a stream and start eroding your confidence, student confidence in you and ultimately learning. Now is the time to start as you mean to go on.

    1. Hi Ross.
      Looks good, but the link to the plan on Tes doesn’t seem to be active… Let me know if it’s me.

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