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) .