- Adhesive Velcro
- Clip Art (for pictures of Earned Reward Time options)
- Laminator (preferred, not necessary)
- Paper to Print “Work For” Card and Earned Reward Time Options (see examples pictured below)
- Adult(s) capacity to rigidly adhere to a pre-identified schedule
- Regular communication among adults using the “Work For” card to promote consistent implementation across settings
- Skill-building interventions (i.e., addressing lagging academic or social/emotional/behavioral skill deficits) must be used in conjunction with “Work For” card use
- Student selects a preferred earned reward time (aka free time) activity (e.g., time with a preferred person) and affixes it to their “Work For” card.
- Teacher uses timer to track student work times (e.g., one hour, chunked into 15 minute segments) and earned reward times (e.g., 15 minutes). Each chip represents the same amount of student work time (e.g., 1 chip for every 15 minutes of work). Timer sounds at the end of each work time (or at the end of a 30 minute work center, if applicable, in which case student would earn two chips at once to represent the two 15 minute segments of time) and earned reward time to signal end of that activity.
- At the end of each work period (or at the end of a longer work center, as applicable), teacher asks student if they did their work. Student response provides an opportunity for teacher to cite supporting evidence (if there is a true self-monitoring skill deficit) and praise the accuracy of self-report, if applicable. Teacher distributes 1 chip for every 15 minutes of student work. If student earned all four chips (for 60 minutes of work total), they also are given the chance to redeem their earned reward time choice and proceed with that activity for the next 15 minutes.
- If a student does not earn chips for doing their work and you suspect that there is an issue with “buy in” or capacity to produce the amount of work required (e.g., for students brand new to school or to this system), consider requiring that they complete work for half of their earned reward time (e.g., 7 minutes), then proceed with earned reward time for the other half (e.g., 7 minutes). This would not be appropriate to implement with students who had previously been successful.
- To increase buy-in to the “work for” card system, use it for routines (e.g., morning meeting) in addition to independent work times. Counting participation as “work” will help the student value this and see success.
- If a student who is used to the system already and seems to understand it refuses to complete work, they will need to complete all of the work owed during earned reward times, and this work will carry over to future earn times until it is complete.
- If a student is disengaged during work time, put a box around the items (e.g., on a worksheet) they will need to complete in order to earn reward time.
- If student is disengaged during work time but there is no physical work product involved, identify minutes owed (i.e., to sit, not participating in preferred activity) during earned time instead of problems or items owed (i.e., from a math worksheet).
- Students’ earned reward time choices must rotate (they are not permitted to select the same earned reward time activity two times in a row). Students may not select iPad or computer time more than once per day.
- The number of Earned Reward Time duplicates should be limited to the number available in a given classroom. For example, there should not be more play dough icons than containers of available play dough.
- The order in which students are allowed to select their earned reward time choices should either randomly rotate or be granted to the first student who is showing the teacher they are ready to make their earned reward time selection.
- If a student misuses earned reward time materials, that activity will not be a choice for next time. For repeat offenses, lengthen time student is banned from choosing that activity.
- If student selects time with a particular preferred adult as their Earned Reward Time choice, they must also make a second Earned Reward Time selection to be used in the even the preferred adult is unavailable. Prior to selecting a second Earned Reward Time choice, the student should be led through some guided practice with how to handle the potential disappointment of this adult being unavailable.
- Filling a star chart for demonstrating success with personal goals (e.g., MYOB, raising hand, “handling it”).
- School Store (with School Bucks) for safe and respectful behavior, tracked and rewarded at each “work for” time.
- Bucket-filling Wall aligned with social work or PBIS monthly themes (e.g., kindness, respect) – could be shared out at of month or rewarded with Fun Friday.
Interviews with SCSD / BOCES Ready to Learn 4:1:2 Special Education Teachers (Daniel Darpino, Rebecca Dysard, Mackenzie Houlihan) and Social Worker (Laura DeNofio) on 9/26/2016; 10/3/2016.
Miltenberger, R. G. (2008). Behavior modification: Principles and procedures (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Morgan, P. L. (2006). Increasing task engagement using preference or choicemaking. Remedial and Special Education, 27, 176-187.
Zirpoli, T.J. & Melloy K.J. (1993). Behavior Management: Applications for Teachers and Parents. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company.