Token Board

Behold, the Token Board!

But what is it?

A token board is a visual way of encouraging a repeat behavior. Like a star chart, but very re-usable. For my purposes, when a child answers correctly or follows a direction, the child is given a token for the board. When they reach their goal (I usually have goals between 5-10 tokens) then earn a “break”. With my self-contained students, break is usually a minute with a toy of their choice or a minute on the swing.

It takes some of my students many weeks before they really understand how the board works, but most of them really buy into the board eventually. Assuming that is that the break item is highly desired. Token boards seem to work particularly well for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, lower cognition, or young ages because the feedback is immediate and visual. And the reward must be immediate as well. These are students that cannot work for a treat tomorrow.

How do you make a token board?

So easy and so many options! For this board I used squishy circle ‘counters’ with male velcro on the back (the male side is the, er, um, pokey side). On a large laminated file card I wrote the numbers and put female velcro down. One for each token. Numbered to practice counting (the student must count when he/she takes them off). And an extra piece of female velcro for a picture of the reward (visual = important).

I’ve envisioned making these with princess pictures or Sponge Bob instead of squishy circles, but haven’t gotten around to doing that yet . Whatever you use you should have a large supply of because they get easily lost and trashed.

Token boards are easy to make and easy to use. Just remember a few important tips:
1. Immediate feedback of putting the token on the board (or student can do it)
2. Immediate feedback of the reward when all the tokens are received (I have the students count the tokens just to “make sure” they have enough) .

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  1. Such a fantastic idea for positive reinforcement!

    I need to save this idea!

  2. CC, thanks for commenting on my blog. I’m not a true New Englander. The IKEA is in Stoughton? I’ve only been there 2 times & haven’t driven either time. I know we took one of the Stoughton exits. It is next to a Costco & Jordan’s furniture store. About 45 min. from Woonsocket. Where in the Pacific N.W. do you live? I used to live in Spokane(actually a suburb of Spokane, now.) I’m guessing the coast since you said the rain bothers you.

  3. We use charts for EVERYthing around here. I like this one!

  4. Thank you! This is awesome. I’m going to make one of these!

  5. Again, something I just may have to try with my almost 4-yr old. Getting her to focus long enough to comprehend something (especially things she’s not terribly interested in!) can be a challenge sometimes. Something along these lines might be more effective. Great idea!

  6. Great idea. I have been using a chart that I have to remake every time she finishes it up. this is so much more frugal and saves me time.

  7. Excellent idea. I’ve seen variations of this, but I’ve never actually tried it out. I think I will, though, when we come back to Canada, because I know it’ll be tough for the boys to switch back to school.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, btw, it is nice to ‘meet’ you. And you know – I want super powers, too ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. Hey CC, it’s nice to meet you! Love your blog.

    I have something very similar to this called “The Reward Board”. It works like a charm. Thanks for the great tips!

  9. This is great. I’m going to adapt this for a potty training/reward chart because I can use the magnetic ‘tokens’ on our white board.

  10. I love it! we have so many different systems for so many things but this looks so much easier and better to understand.

  11. I do a slightly similar thing for the preschool children I teach. They are given take home work (we only meet once a week) and have empty circles that get filled with a sticker for every take home they complete. Once we started doing this it was amazing how much they were getting done.

  12. Hi!! I was just looking through some of my archives and remembering what led us to homeschool my son this year and I came across a link to this post when I saw your token board. I have to tell you…this is the #1 motivating thing for him! This works 99% of the time and I LOVE it. Just thought I should let you know that a year later it’s still going strong. =) I hope I didn’t just ruin it by saying that!!!

  13. stacey goldberg says:

    thanks for showing a picture with the token board in addition to the information about what it is. I am always looking for other ways to format token boards with students.

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