Saturday, October 22, 2016

Using Token Boards to Motivate Students

The Teacher's Toolbox
Time to confess! Special-ed teachers have a secret little tool in their pockets that works like magic for kids that just won't work. Want in on the secret? Token Boards! It's a tried and true motivator. 

But did you know you don't have to be a special-ed teacher to use a token board? If you've never used a token board. It looks something like this: 
Courtesy of Designed by Teachers
It works like this: The student decides what reward he'd like to work for, a star (or token) is added at intervals during the lesson, the student earns their reward when the lesson is complete. Easy! 

This works WONDERS with students in a regular-ed setting because they've never seen anything like it and they really think they're getting something for nothing! 

It also works like magic in our special-ed classrooms... to a certain point. If you're a special-ed teacher you can attest to this: TOKEN BOARD BURNOUT! After awhile, the novelty wears off. The child (and the teacher) gets tired of looking at it and working for the same old rewards. 

I don't abuse the token board. I try not to use it for every task. Sometimes we don't need it at all. (I am always working to wean the student off the token board.) But when that head is down or the arms are crossed, and I'm getting that "I'm not doing it" look, I know it's time to whip out the token board.

Usually, I customize the tokens to include characters or other cute items such as cupcakes or butterflies just to make it interesting. This year, I've decided to take it a step further by making Seasonal Token Boards! 
The Teacher's Toolbox
Right now, we're using the Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate token board and my students LOVE them! Such a simple thing can make such a difference! 
The Teacher's Toolbox

By changing the boards monthly, we add a little excitement to our every day tasks. The kids love creating these little "scenes" and by the time it starts to get old... we get new boards! WIN-WIN!  
Build-a-Scarecrow - The Teachers Toolbox
If you have volunteers, room moms, paras or college students, they can help you assemble these in no time at all.       
October Token Board - The Teacher's Toolbox

My students take their token boards with them for Speech Therapy and OT. It helps keep them on track while out of the classroom, as well. One more bonus... they LOVE showing these off! 

So to motivate students with token boards, remember: 
1. Don't abuse it or overuse it. 
2. Keep your rewards and tokens fresh.

I've been working on monthly token boards to share on TPT and they are turning out SO CUTE! These will be available as a growing bundle for a great price, so grab them here!
November Token Board - The Teacher's Toolbox
 Monthly Token Boards


1 comment:

  1. Great post! I always used token boards when I was teaching! You are right, they are one of our best kept secrets!

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