The PBIS World Book

Do Unfinished Work During Recess Or Unstructured Time

STOP! Controversial Intervention! Please read before implementing:

Why should I do it:

  • It provides students with limits, boundaries, and motivation
  • Serves as a significant deterrent for most students
  • Is an effective consequence with memorable impact
  • Teaches cause and effect
  • Teaches students that their actions affect their personal time rather that of the teacher after school
  • Most students value recess and unstructured time
  • Motivates students to seek help, persevere longer, and be more determined to complete work during work time
  • Incentivizes students to take responsibility and initiative

When should I do it:

  • When students fail to complete class work due to behaviors, unwillingness to work, clowning around, socializing too much, etc
  • When students “forget” work at home or “lose” work over a specified number of times (targeting serial forgetters that use this as a excuse rather than a real isolated incident)

How do I do it:

  • Give students warning prior implementing this intervention
  • Establish a structured consistent routine and write it on a poster for how, where, and when students will carry out the consequence
    • For example, during afternoon recess, against the wall by the door, sitting down with a book to write on and the incomplete assignment, and without any talking
  • Give student choices, like to stop behaving poorly and finish a certain amount of the assignment or they will have to finish it later during recess
  • Deliver the warning or final consequence with a calm neutral tone in a matter-of-fact way and walk away to avoid a debate, argument, or power struggle
  • Some parents can get really confrontational when their children miss recess to do work, so you may want to call parents and explain you will be trying the intervention with their kids, and their kids may talk and/or complain to them about it
  • You may consider doing a simple student/teacher homework or class work contract with this as the consequence for failing to complete work due to behaviors or “forgetfulness”
  • For “forgetful” students, establish a specific number of times a student can forget their work before the consequence is implemented (avoids punishing students that actually forget work on occasion and addresses those students who regularly “forget” work, using it as an excuse)
  • Insert this consequence into a whole class or school consequence system
  • Try setting specific work limits, for example, student that complete at least 15 of 20 items will earn recess
  • Try using and stating this consequence as a positive incentive whereby students earn recess by completing specific amounts of work
  • IMPORTANT! Be sure not to subject those students with legitimate learning and other disabilities to this consequence if part of that disability affects their ability to complete work as quickly as the typical student