Monday, October 27, 2014

Rewards, Certificates, Prizes, Oh MY!

Do you like to give your students a little reward now and then? I do. And it seems that every time I try to find one that meets my needs as a tutor, I come up empty handed. The big packets for end of the year always have ten to twenty classroom specific awards that I would never use. The small generic packs are boring and geared more toward in-school activities such as participation, attendance, or testing.

Where does this leave the tutor who wants to give her hardworking students a little extra encouragement? Empty. Scratching out her own late in the evening so she'll have it ready for the session the next day. Or, like me, using the ones designed for another purpose.

This situation lead me to start thinking about the whole behavior reward systems many early education classrooms employ. I got to thinking about a few of my younger students with special needs, that really need some external motivation to put in their best efforts during our sessions. last, I have a system that feels right, looks nice, and is encouraging my students already!

Tentatively, I'm calling it the Clip Card Reward Program for Tutors. Here's why:

  • I use a type of clip card to help the student monitor his own behavior or progress. These cards are designed to be punched with a paper punch, decorated with stickers, or my youngest student's favorite, drawn on. 
  • I call it a program because it's not intended for a one time use, but rather to use progressively over time. The program is designed to help students set their own goals, monitor their progress, and then make new goals once they achieve the previous ones. 
  • This is specifically designed to be used by tutors. The language is tutor specific, such as "Name is a hoot during tutoring". While classroom teachers and even home school parents may find parts of this program desirable, ultimately, we tutors will get the most use out of it. 
Let's see what this thing looks like, shall we?

Use the questionnaire that is right for your students. Revisit this page often, and help your students discover their own strengths and weaknesses. Talk through strategies to overcome challenges. Walk your students through a path to achieving their goals and setting new ones.

Keep track of all of your students using the program. Mark down the date they start, the goal they set, and how you will measure their progress. There's also a column to track when they achieve their goal. This will help you guide them in setting attainable short term goals to progress toward their long term goals.

I've included several options for award certificates, so you can chose the one that fits the student and situation the best. And so our students aren't getting bored with the same certificate every time they achieve a goal!

Help your student monitor their own progress by punching the card for each milestone toward their goal. The first student I put on this program needed to work on staying focused during our lessons. He's quite fidgety and easily distracted. So we set a simple goal of staying on task for one activity or homework sheet at a time. Each segment of our session could earn him one smiley face in one circle (up to 3 per session). He said that he wanted to try to earn at least one smiley each session, and play a game for his reward. We haven't made it to that reward yet, but so far, so good!

Would you like to test drive a portion of this program now? Head over to my store and download "Awards for Tutors" to get a sneak peek. 

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great idea! I know my kids love positive reinforcement - this idea will work great for those that need auditory affirmations and those that love gifts too:)


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