Saturday, October 25, 2008

Token Boards

Many of us use token boards with our students to increase all sorts of behaviors from time on task to safety to AAC use and toilet training. Here are two token boards that support those last two items, AAC use and toilet training. The first board (front and back above) allows a student to choose from six rewards that the student shows a preference for and then gives praise and a "two thumbs up" symbol for each appropriate AAC activations. After ten symbols are collected the student receives the reward. The second board (below) is for a student who has low vision and uses 3.5" white on black pictograms. The student is working on toilet training and chooses from five rewards, for each day the student is dry all day praise and a "star" are earned. Four stars earns the choosen rewards.

The design of the boards is based on the standard "____ is working for ____." The rewards are decided using either a preference assessment or data on prefered activities/items. The physical boards are designed using language and symbols the student understands. The student is allowed to chose their reward each time the board starts again and most importantly each earned token is paired with lots of social praise. As the student's skill increases awarding of tokens becomes intermittent or more tokens are required before the reward is earned, until finally the token board is faded out entirely.

Here are some resources for token boards online:


  1. First of all, I just want to say how much I enjoy your blog - I am a second year K-5 Life Skills teacher who is always looking for new and great ideas. Your blog has more information on this type of programming than I can find on the whole web! Thanks!
    I use token economies with students that I work with one-on-one at home (my part-time job), but I am having a hard time using them in my classroom. I have two students with some pretty severe behaviors, but are pretty high cognitively (compared to my other students). I know I need to reinforce them every 5 minutes or so, but I can not do that without interrupting the rest of the class. Right now, the token would need to be reinforced with a tangible item or at least with some immediacy. How have you done individual token boards in your classroom without disrupting everyone else? Any suggestions?

  2. Well, maybe not more information than the whole web... maybe just all that info in one place, which is a goal of mine, if for no other reason then I know where to find what I need! Thanks for the compliment.

    Here are some non-disruptive reward ideas:
    -self-monitoring and rewarding self-monitoring later
    -some kind of card dropped onto the students desk silently, all the cards are later turned in for reward, if that is now immediate enough how about cutting a photo or symbols or even word card of the final reward into puzzle pieces and then dropping those silently, one by one, when the puzzle is put together they get the reward
    -use paraprofessionals to dole out rewards
    -use a large timer (time timer, on screen computer timer, etc) set for certain interval, when it rings silently drop something (candy? toy?) into a plastic, clear jar at the end of the period the get what is in the jar (reset the time, silently, if they are off task, eventually just moving to the timer to reset it will get them inline)
    -tie rewards to completed work, turn in the work, get the reward, at first you may have to cut worksheets into strips or squares and reward each problem, but then you can increase the size of the paper
    -have your students create a "secret code" with you, for example a thumbs up is one point, a double thumbs up is two points, etc and then have the student tally the times you give this "social praise" reward, the tally becomes both the number of rewards earned and the number to beat the next day

    The other option is to just do a interdependent classroom contingency, if the entire class does great for five minutes the entire class gets some kind of reward (on that old "marble jar" premise), you can set it up so the class can still earn a reward if one kid acts out by having working independently during a problem time be worthy of reward

    good luck


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