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Contact Community Services, Syracuse, NY
Contact Community Services

Good Behavior Starts with Fun: PAX-Good Behavior Game
The PAX Good Behavior Game (GBG) is an evidence-based, school-based prevention program that classroom teachers use to address disruptive, inattentive and aggressive behavior of elementary school students. Invented in 1967, it’s a universal program that teachers and school staff integrate into classrooms and school buildings to promote self-regulation and positive behavior among students.

Pax Student List
Students list what they would see, hear, feel and do more of to create a better classroom.

Contact Community Services’ PAX Partners provide coordination, training, modeling and coaching support to ensure teachers are consistently implementing PAX GBG, while maintaining fidelity to the model. For the 2017-18 school year, Contact is partnering with the Syracuse City School District in eight elementary schools and one K-8 building to help teachers and schools achieve their most important objectives:

  • Increase time for teaching and learning
  • Increase engaged learning
  • Increase reading and other assessment scores
  • Stay on track to graduate from high school and enter college

At the start of the 2017-18 school year, the number of Spleems (the PAX word for negative behaviors) were counted in participating classrooms at each school. In just six months, Spleems had been reduced 50 to 70 percent, and staff, students and visitors often comment on the peaceful climate in PAX schools!

What’s a Tootle?

PAX GBG intervention includes a set of evidence-based strategies called "Kernels" and a classroom game intended to increase self-regulation and cooperation and decrease unwanted behaviors called "Spleems." The teacher first applies the kernels in the classroom. These kernels include
  • Transition cues (PAX Quiet)

  • Written notes (Tootles) praising positive behavior

  • Use of a timer to decrease the time needed for task completion (Beat the Timer)

  • Random calling of students during lessons (PAX Stix)

  • Rewards in the form of brief and fun activities that are normally not allowed in the classroom, such as tapping a pencil on the desk or throwing paper balls (Granny’s Wacky Prizes).

  • The teacher also works with the students to establish a shared language and expectations about classroom behavior.

  Pax tootles
Tootles are the opposite of tattles. They let another person know that you appreciate and value them or something they did. Students and adults love to get them and give them.

Granny Wacky Prizes After these kernels are integrated into classroom activities, the game is played in two to five teacher-selected diverse teams. Each day, the game is announced and played three times. Initially, the game is played for only a few minutes at a time when the children are engaged in simple tasks. As students improve at the game, the game is played for longer periods and during different activities and times of day. During the game, the teacher identifies and counts each unwanted behavior. At the end of the game, the teams with three or fewer "Spleems" receive a reward, typically an activity selected from Granny’s Wacky Prizes. In addition to the three announced games, one unannounced game is played each day.

What Are the Benefits for Students and Teachers?

The expected benefits for teachers and students include:

  • About an hour more each day in which real learning and teaching can occur
  • A 70%+ drop in off task, disturbing or disruptive behavior
  • Less stress every day, less bullying, fewer fights and reasons for referrals
  • Fewer children who need hard-to-get special services
  • Better academic achievement, especially if teacher uses the time made available for instruction and learning

PAX GBG is particularly important from a public-policy perspective because it can be rapidly deployed to teachers who want to use it – without the need for whole school "buy-in." It is noteworthy that PAX GBG is one of the few activities ever recorded to prevent suicide in later life. PAX GBG, a trauma-informed approach, has proven to prevent mental illness, school failure, substance abuse, adolescent and adult crime, suicide and violent crime, and it increases high-school graduation and college entry, according to studies cited by the 2009 Report on the Prevention of Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders from the Institute of Medicine.

Implement PAX GBG In Your School

For information about partnering with Contact to implement PAX Good Behavior Game in your school, email Susan VanCamp at or call 315-251-1400, ext. 122.

For our video showing the impact of PAX GBG in the Syracuse City School District, visit

PAX Good Behavior Game, from Paxis Institute, is officially included on the U.S. National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. For more information, visit .

For more about the long-term benefits of PAX-GBG, visit The Good Behavior Game and the Future of Prevention and Treatment and improved mental health.

Phone: 315-251-1400  
Fax: 315-251-2218

6311 Court Street Road
East Syracuse, NY 13057

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