I know a lot of therapists have moved away from stickers and I totally get it. It’s aggravating when they take forever to pick one out. It’s an added expense. It’s another thing to remember if you’re already hauling stuff all over the school.
But I still like ‘em. I don’t do it every single time (meaning I usually do if we meet in my room, but almost never if we meet elsewhere), so if we need to skip I don’t run into tantrums. It’s a really easy way to show my little ones I’m listening to what they say since I make a point to buy ones that match their interests. And I have a couple of students who feel like rewards are for a visible, measureable accomplishment since that’s what they see in the classroom. I want them to understand, working and trying hard even if we are moving forward at a snail’s pace, is worthy of a (albeit tiny) trophy.
But my final reason has to do with kindness and social skills. I’ve started to let some of my students choose two stickers—one for themselves and the other for a classmate. It gives us a minute to think about which sticker might be appropriate for that classmate (they love Star Wars or dogs) and it encourages them to approach a classmate once they return to the classroom—a tough skill for some of my little ones.
So what about you? Stickers—love ‘em or hate ‘em?
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I love the idea of selecting a sticker for a friend, Kim!
I love that idea!! I can’t do it with every class or I would have no stickers left, but I think I will definitely try it with my young K-1 special ed. class that has lots of behavior/social/emotional goals.
Let me know how it works out with them 🙂 I have a much smaller caseload which makes it easier to implement (but I don’t do it with everyone either).
Thank you for that! These days, more than ever, the things are teach my kiddos secondary to their goals seem just as important. Kindness is so important. Be well, and thanks for the little lift.
I’m finding my kiddos have needs beyond “just speech” that fall into these areas of support and kindness. Thanks for helping foster it in your students too!
I started collecting rubber stamps a few years ago (some on sale at craft stores mixed with ones I could find secondhand at garage sales and thrift stores). I have those as an option along with stickers. This year I’ve been having two rubber stamp choices and 1-2 sticker options available. I revamped my therapy room rules to tie them to the building-wide behavior expectations and did some teaching on those at the start of the year. I posted a mini-poster with visual reminders of those at the beginning of the year, and during early sessions I referred to the rules visual often, both to reinforce positive behavior and give redirections/reminders. Students earn a sticker or stamp by following the rules. The choices I offer are usually tied to holiday or seasonal themes or recent pop culture interests (e.g. ice skate stamp or snowflake stamp and Frozen stickers one week). It has been really helpful to pick a focus for reinforcers, which I’ve tried to tie into weekly activity themes. Limiting choices saves me mental energy in preparing for the following week and helps the kids make a choice more quickly. Having a couple options means the kids I see twice a week can try both if they are torn.
I really like the idea of the opportunity to pick a sticker for a friend!
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