August 22, 2013

Back to School Week: 7+ Ways to Motivate Your Students

ideas for reinforcement systems and ways to motivate students

I hope you've been enjoying Back to School Week so far! Today let's talk about different ways to motivate and reward your students to work hard towards meeting their therapy goals, while having some fun at the same time. There are a ton of super great ideas out there, so hopefully you can find something that will work for you :)

1) Stickers or Token Board:

When working with preschoolers, I often give them an index card or paper and allow them to add a sticker to the row frequently if working and remaining on task. They need to fill it up before the end of our work time in order to enjoy some free play. The number of stickers required depends on the student. Sometimes I use token boards the opposite way - students start with a full board, and pieces are then removed if off task. This website has quite a few {FREE} token boards in themes that are popular with the young'ns. For school age students, they earn a few stickers each time they come to speech, and get to pick a prize once their sheet is filled.

2) Prize Box:

This is the method I tend to use. Students earn stickers each session if they complete their work, are good listeners, and try their best. Once the sticker sheet is filled up they get to pick out of the prize box.

3) Positive Reinforcement Jar:

I used this in my room last year, and the students really enjoyed it. I usually picked a name out at the end of every month, and that student got to choose a prize.

4) Board Games:

Classic board games are awesome for using in therapy. The ones I seem to use all the time are Connect 4, Jenga, Chutes and Ladders, and Candy Land. It's so easy to accommodate games for various communication goals, or just simply use as a free play reward at the end of a great session.

5) iPad: In general, all my students LOVE earning iPad time. Often, they will not want to work, but when we do the exact same activity on the iPad...whole 'nother story!

6) Timers:

Sometimes kids just need to know how much longer they need to work. I usually set the timer on my phone or use a timer on the iPad. Visual timers or an hourglass can also be really great for those kiddos that need to actually see how much time is left. (P.S. iPads with the most updated operating system installed have a visual timer available in the "clock" that comes standard.)

7) Craftivities:

Kids learn best by being active, playing, and doing. If you have the time, space, and patience, craft activities are a fun way to get kids rarin' to go! Crazy Speech World always posts great ones, and this Pinterest board has tons of fun ideas.


And now, for a roundup of amazingly awesome reinforcement ideas from around the web!

Wack-a-Word: from the Peachie Speechie

Vocab Twister: This could easily be adapted for any communication goal!

Custom Chipper Chat Boards - from Liz's Speech Therapy Ideas. I see lots of kids having fun with these!

Random Rewards: This post was all about random jobs for kids, but I think it would be fun to have a random rewards jar in my room!

Get your students really involved in activities with these fun and personalized game tokens!

What fun would it be to work on flash cards with sticky hands?!

Kristin over at Simply Speech (I adore her blog!) posted about Class Dojo and how she is incorporating it into her speech room.

Kristin also posted her new behavior chart. This is similar to what you see in many elementary classrooms, but now it's been revamped for the speech room!

Splatter the Speech Teacher: This is what a coworker of mine did with her upper elementary students last year to motivate them to complete their speech homework. If students turned in 15 or more assignments before the last week of school, they earned ice cream toppings of their choice to slime on the speech pathologist! What a blast!

Finally, as a last resort, there's always this option:

(totally joking!) 
Leave a comment: What's your go-to way to motivate and reward students?

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