Green Zone Strategies: How to Implement PBIS on a Shoestring Budget

Green Zone Strategies: How to Implement PBIS on a Shoestring Budget

We once visited a school that was implementing Universal PBIS and they were giving away two bicycles every nine weeks to a few students whose names were drawn from the gotcha pile. (Gotchas are a generic term for the behavior specific praise tickets we give to students to let them know they were exhibiting excellent behavior). This means eight students would earn a “prize” for exhibiting the appropriate behavior. I understood this was a low socioeconomic school and having a bike was a big deal but there are some problems with this concept. If you are a student who struggles with displaying appropriate behavior, you will just give up because you know you will never “win” a bike. The other students know they only have an eight out of how every many gotchas are in the barrel chance of winning a bike, so they will not be very motivated to try.  We had a hard time trying to convince this school that tangibles are not what these students wanted or needed. This is why we started collecting data in 2004 on what really motivates students.  We have compiled all those ideas given to us in this booklet:   It’s over 75 pages of ideas all generated by talking to students all over the world.

We do not believe in giving out tangibles to students. It’s  not what they want or need.

We found what PALPATES a student’s heart with reinforcements was the following:

  1. Privileges
  2. Attention
  3. Leadership
  4. Praise
  5. Assistance
  6. Touch
  7. Escape
  8. Supplies

We added the school supplies. None of the students asked for them. We work with many schools with low socioeconomic status and those students’ parents are unable to take them to discount stores to buy school supplies when needed. Handouts do not feel very nice. The students feel much more proud when they can purchase the supplies themselves through their gotcha tickets.  These are the only tangibles we put on the list.


This seminar will focus on ways to do the following:

  1. Get your posters printed at little or no cost (Expectations and Matrix)
  2. Get your triplicate gotchas printed at little or no cost
  3. Get donated reinforcers for your staff
  4. Get donations for family reinforcers
  5. Print tickets for the gotcha reinforcers students want and run your gotcha store efficiently
  6. Share free tools that will graph your gotchas so you know who is giving and who is receiving
  7. Share free tools that help you monitor universal, tier two, and tier three support within the classroom

We will share ideas on flex time and how to build in academic and behavioral labs for skill deficits.

We will share ideas on how to use your data to modify behavior in the school

  • day of the week
  • the anticipation of holidays
  • grade levels
  • booster shots
  • secret shoppers (spies in the school looking for good behavior)

We will also share group vs group contingencies and reinforcers as well as whole group reinforcers to get all students working together for a common goal.

This training is NOT how to do PBIS. This seminar is for schools that have already begun implementing and have had the initial two-day universal training. This is for schools that desire a booster shot in how to make PBIS more fun for the staff and students.

Proposed Agenda: This can be modified to suit your needs.

8:30-9:15- Free Resources for Posters, Printing, Reinforcers, and Donations

9:15-10:15- Ideas for Pre-K-12th grade from each of the categories for PALPATES

10:15-10:30- Break

10:30-11:30- Building Flex Groups into your Day and Where to Get Free Help

11:30-12:45- Lunch

12:45-2:00- More ideas on Contingencies and Reinforcements

2:00-2:15- Break

2:15-3:30- Motivating Staff, Parents, and Community