We’ve all been there, at an assembly, on a field trip, at a restaurant and your student or child starts to have a meltdown. You’re frantically searching for your materials that you have spent hours and $$$ on printing in fun colors, laminating, and adding velcro. YES these are so efficient and the child is familiar with them, but did you know that you could use ANYTHING you have in front of you as a visual?
YES those token boards are AMAZING, I use them every day.. They help our students in so many ways, but sometimes, we just don’t HAVE THEM WITH US. Sometimes it’s good to switch it up ((read on for tips to get students to generalize too!))
I am this teacher, while it may seem like I have it all together, let me be honest for a second… I DON’T. I’m just like you… but maybe even more of a hot mess. But when you are put on the spot, amazing things can happen.
Take a deep breath and pull it together. You don’t need all of those expected materials. You have the skills.
I have been known to use all sorts of materials to get my students back on track. Anything in front of you can become a token board.
If you are in a classroom, WRITE ON THE TABLES. That in itself might be exciting enough to get your students back to work. We love to use the fun erasers from target to countdown to a break!
I had a student who loved poker chips a couple of years ago. We wrote numbers on them and he earned one for working hard, when he had all 5, he earned the whole bin for a break.
I currently have a student who likes making and knocking over towers. I wrote numbers on the shape pieces, we say the shape name and number as we build the tower and then he knocks them down when he gets them all… it has become so reinforcing that he wants to keep working right after for the chance to build it again, shortening his break time and increasing time on learning.
If you are at a restaurant, you can use sugar or ketchup packets, build a tower with the little jam containers or butter… or even used ripped pieces of paper to count down. When a child has to eat a certain number of bites, I put ONLY those bites on the plate, in a line resembling a token board because that is what they are used to.
For more on feeding strategies, check out this post from a couple of years ago: Food Training 101
The last one is the simplest, but might often slip our minds.
You literally need nothing more than a whiteboard to get by in a school. First/ then statements, token boards, schedules.
The best part of this all… IT’S GOOD FOR OUR KIDS. Our kids may have been using a token board for YEARS, take these great ideas/ strategies and use them to help your kids generalize off of that token board skill. See if they can stretch themselves and work with different materials. We need to remember to keep them constantly growing. Don’t let old materials become stale! YOU HAVE THE BRAIN FOR THIS, look around you, and be that amazing teacher you are! 🙂
What other tools do you use when you are in a pinch? Comment below or join our conversation on instagram @simplyspecialed!