Back to School 2020: May Your Reinforcer Game Be Strong

Published Post 
08/11/2020, 23:31 PM

May Your Reinforcers Be Strong 💪🏻 Back to School 2020 

Look guys - we have all been saying it... this year will be unlike any other school year. For me personally, the learners I work with have been home, many with a reduced demand level, with new stressors, without a routine or with MAJOR changes to their routines for SIX MONTHS! We absolutely have to think of this every morning when we walk in that door. This is what we and more importantly what our STUDENTS are up against.

With so many changes and restrictions, with so much unknown one thing we absolutely must do is make sure we are ready to reinforce the heck out of every. single. thing. our kids do 🙌🏻
I know that my “tentative and soon to change 1,000 times” plan for the school year looks like this:
1. Teach and reinforce masks, social distancing and basic hygiene
2. Teach and reinforce adherence to new routines (no communal supplies and not touching things which don’t belong to you... even if just to race across the room and put them “away”). This is going to be big. It’s ALSO going to take some classroom modifications, depending on the room (for those of you who don’t know, I no longer have my own classroom, I now teach Careers and Life Skills across 3-4 of our self contained special education program classes. Also - I enjoy creating my own rules surrounding the use of punctuation & making run on sentences trendy.) 
I think my motto this year will be “when in doubt, take it out.” If there is something your students can’t touch... get it out of the classroom. Or into a locked cabinet. We have no time for these kinds of battles (and frankly, our students have no time for the extra stress and confusion!) when returning to school in the midst of this pandemic.
3. Teaching our digital platforms 💻 Google Classroom was a fantastic way to set things up this spring. All in one place, 1 daily link to click and get access to EVERYTHING the students needed to do for the day (outside of live sessions). And guess what, most of the kids: 1. Didn’t know how to use it, 2. Refused to use it, 3. Didn’t “refuse” but also just didn’t get there 🤷🏼‍♀️
Google Slides Schedules & Activities, navigating to a link or website and returning, etc. These were huge barriers for our kids. I’m not saying that we won’t do any hands on lessons, or we will be computer based even in person 100% of the time, but we learned a lot this spring, and a big chunk of that was that our kids weren’t ready for accessing instruction online. And we needed them to be. Think about future implications! Sending home a digital schedule or video model for a new skill/generalizing a skill learned in the school setting? This alone makes it SO important that we get it right. Not to mention the very real possibility of additional shutdowns while this pandemic continues to hang heavy around here..
4. Preference assessments & HEAVY reinforcement for all these things listed above and more will be an absolute priority for me as well! Individualized token boards and other reinforcement systems will of course continue to be used - some moving to digital formats when possible to reduce the number of materials which are handled by both a student and their teacher(s.) 
Here are links to 2 FREE Token Board Resources for you if you need them! 
1. Printable Token Board (laminate and use with a dry erase marker, add Velcro and use physical tokens/coins): Click Here to Access
2. Digital Token Board for Google Slides: Click Here to Access
Using class-wide systems of reinforcement can also be helpful depending on your learners! I was working on this with some of my classes last year and will certainly continue to do so moving forward. In one class, we had 2 systems running: 1. Employee of the Week - every day students earned points based on behavior, effort & teamwork, if they received a set number of points that day, they were entered into a bin to be in the running for employee of the week that week (selected by pulling a name from the bin). PLUS every day that we earned 100% of our points, we earned a piece of the puzzle for our whole class prize! We were on a roll working towards a dance party when the pandemic hit our area and we were shut down, so I’m hoping to jump right back in where we left off!! 
Collage of 5 photographs showing a class wide reinforcer system. Includes Daily Employee Paycheck tallying points, Weekly Employee of the Week Certificate, Rules and Choiceboard for Whole Class Rewards and Puzzle Pieces to be Earned for Reward.

So that’s the rough draft of my plan. I am hoping we will ease back into routines and be able to feel confident and comfortable that we can maintain health and safety while meeting the needs of our learners. There will be adjustments and challenges, but just like during Distance Learning - there will be celebrations for how we have all risen to the challenge and exceeded the expectations!! Best of luck this year everyone! Please comment below to share your plans and experiences as you move back into your classrooms as well!

No comments

Powered by Blogger.

Creative to the Core

KG Fonts

Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin