Learning is the process and on the way any student faces challenges. For some kids with learning and attention issues it can be tough to stay motivated and focused on the lesson during the whole period. They may need support to get started.
That’s where these visuals come in. They are simple tools I have used in my classroom to motivate kids and bring discipline.
I have got so many great ideas while teaching kids online so I just want to share something that has been working really well in my classes.
Print out a big empty cookie jar and a few huge yummy cookies. The cookies might be different shapes, colours and sizes, but make sure you fit them all together into the jar. You can add candy or ice cream as well! Younger ones will love bright pictures!
Every time your student is correcting his own errors or speaks for a long time (set up your own rules) put one cookie into the jar.
If by the end of the class the jar is full, award your student with something he is really excited about: assign less homework or cancel it, do a cartoon activity or even chew gum in class for 30 minutes! (don’t overuse this reward though).
Ice cream cones
Print out an ice cream cone and layers of the ice cream separately. Make them different colours(strawberry, vanilla, chocolate flavours … mmm!) but the same size. Reward your student with a new layer of ice cream for correct answers during the class and see how tall his desert can be! I’m sure the student will want to beat his own record class by class.
Did you play board games in your childhood? If yes – you know how amusing moving counters from start to the finish line might be! Choose any chart and move the student’s counter with every right answer he gives! Or you can even compete! Move your counter when the student makes mistakes or thinks for a long time. Move student’s counter 5 steps ahead if he completed his homework successfully! Find inspiration for charts’ theme here.
Feed the animal
On my background I have a rabbit and a dinosaur printed out and laminated. I let my student choose one at the beginning of the class and remove another one(usually girls prefer the rabbit, boys – the dinosaur). I explain to the kid that the animal he chose is starving and we need to feed him as soon as possible! To get food – we need to be focused on class and give correct answers during the lesson(one apple, carrot or maybe even steak?). The choice of food is up to your imagination!
Mr Potato Head
Cut out a bright shiny sparkly flashing shimmering star out of the carton and show it to your student when he is active. You can say: “When you do a great job you get a star and you can make a face for Mr Potato *! You will get to pick the eyes, ears, nose etc” (so make sure you have plenty of options to choose from). Or sometimes you can start from breaking the face into pieces, removing parts. That won’t leave your student bored! *He probably already knows Mr Potato Head from Toy Story animated movie so it won’t be hard to explain that the character can make different facial expressions.
A token board is a system that rewards desired behaviours with tokens, which kids can exchange for something they value. When the whole grid is filled with all three tokens, he gets his choice of a tangible reward. Maybe it’s a homework pass, discussing his favourite song in Engish or even watching his favourite YouTube blogger and answering the teacher’s questions afterwards?
The most important thing:
If you are not excited about the process, don’t expect your student to be. These reward systems should not be taken lightly. Teachers must be aware that a visible chart will be very well received by some students, but only if they input emotions and fun into the process.
Regardless of what format or type of visual supports you choose for your class, using them is the key!