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Today’s What’s Up Wednesday post comes from…me 🙂   Today I want to share with you some non-edible and free reinforcement ideas that you can use in your speech room. I know that quite a few people like to use candy as reinforcement and motivators, and that is just fine. I happend to have a lot of kids on special diets/restrictions or who have crazy food allergies. It is just to much to keep track of! So what are some non-edible options you can use with your students after the allure of stickers have worn off? What a great question!
Just as as FYI, I use SPEECHYLAND ( this is free on my TpT store ) as my reinforcement system. If students meet the expectations: work hard, participate, be respectful, etc., in my room then they get to roll the dice and move around the board. If they land ON a castle, they may pick a prize. This makes getting a prize unpredictable for my kids, so they are always wanting to roll the dice to earn a chance to roll.

OK, now back to prizes.

1. Dollar Store
O, Dollar Store how I love you! You can get quite a bit of loot for very little. Most items in their toy aisle come in packages of two or more. You can find play-dough, erasers, pencils, little notebooks, model plane kits, toy cars, even little science experiments that kids can do on their own. Their seasonal selections are always really good, lots of cute items.

2. Your Chair
If spending come cash isn’t going to work for you don’t worry, there are lots of other options.  I know it doesn’t sound like much but something about sitting in the teacher’s chair is very appealing to kids. My kids can choose use my ‘big fancy’ chair during their next speech session, as long as they use it correctly. This means no spinning or rocking in the chair, and of course they need to be following our standard speech room rules.

3. iPad Time.
Students can earn 5 minutes of time on the iPad to play a game. I usually end the session 5 minutes early to allow the student their time. If they are in a group, I will let them have their ‘prize’ and continue working with the other students. The student playing the iPad I usually have move over to my desk area so the students won’t be to distracted. You would be surprised what a motivator it can be for the other kids. They want to choose the iPad as their prize next time, so they work had so that they can roll the dice.

4. Old Electronics: Their not just junk!
I was cleaning out some boxes the other day and come across my Game Boy from when I was little. It was the first version of Game Boy that Nintendo released. So after I go over feeling really old, I decided to see if it is something my kids would be interested in. The response was crazy! They were completely taken back by this ‘anceitn’ device. They could not believe I used to have to look at a screen so small and that it had no color, the disbelief and horror on their face was priceless. One kid compared it played video games on a brick, ha! So that went into the prize rotation. They could choose 5 minutes of Game Boy time. All the games that were in the bag with it were elementary appropriate, Kirby and Tiny Toons Adventures, so I felt ok about tossing that into the pile.   I actually found my Tomagochi from elementary school too, so that may join the mix.

I am not as much of a pack rat as I sound I swear!

5. Lunch with YOU!
The prize that my kids love is to have lunch we me. They can bring two friends and have their lunch with me in my speech room. I really never thought about this as an option until one of our teaching mentors mentioned it to me a few years ago. So many of my students do not get enough, or any attention at home. Their parents work at night , they have crazy schedules, etc. This small act can put them in the spotlight and  make them feel special, even for just a bit. I care about my kids, like we all do, so I decided I could give up a few minutes of my day once in a while to make them feel special. Since this particular prize is in demand, I have to schedule students sometimes a week or two out to be able to work my schedule to fit their lunch slot. They don’t seem to mind or if they do they haven’t told me. I do have a rule that they cannot do two lunches in a row for prize choices. This way I am still able to get some work done.  I usually work during part of my lunch to catch up/get a head of stuff.

I hope they has been helpful and maybe given you some inspiration. What do you do to reinforce your students behavior and motivate them?


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Meet Maureen

Hey there! I’m Maureen Wilson, a school-base SLP who is data driven and caffeine powered. My passion is supporting other pediatric SLPs by teaching them how to harness the power of literacy and data to help their students achieve their goals…without sacrificing time they don’t have.

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