Break Card

  • Situation

    How can I prevent a student from being non-compliant during groups or activities?

  • Summary

    Provide a break card or something that symbolizes a break to the student.

  • Definition

    A break card is a visual that signifies the need to take a break from an activity. This could be a colored card, with the word “break” on it, or a picture or object that signifies “break”.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites

    Information regarding how long the student CAN stay focused.

  • Process

    1. Be sure you know approximately how long the student can remain on-task (example: 5 minutes). You may also know the student has difficulty during a specified time during the lesson; taking data is the best way to insure you know this information.

    2. After the specific on-task time such as 5 minutes, or at the specified ‘trouble’ time, hand the student a break card saying “You can take a break for ___ minutes.” Set a timer for the break.

    3. When the break time period is over, encourage the student to return to task, indicating there are other break cards available. Set a timer for the instructional time he is able to focus.

    4. During the ‘training period’ allow the student to take a break each time he/she requests.

    5. Make sure to honor requests made by the student for a break.

    6. After it is established that the student understands the connection, then provide a specified number of break cards. For example, if an instructional time is 20 minutes long and the student can attend for 5 minute increments, provide 4 cards.

    7. As the student’s appropriate behavior increases, slowly decrease the amount of cards to your assessed criterion level.

  • Documents and Related Resources  (website resource for pictures/icons)


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