Back to school

First-day-of-school-300x232Where did it go? Fortunately, neither Kathy or Summer are in hiding. As school starts, they’ll have the newest version of 123TokenMe at their side, and are excited about sharing classroom tips.


As more and more teachers, therapists, and parents put 123TokenMe to use they can look to this website and our Facebook page for ideas. Please add your own teacher stories!

Summer reading

IMG_4302-300x300Reading? Academics? In the summer? Let Me help. McCartney and her mom set up 123TokenMe for a target behavior of “Fun in the Sun.” Every book McCartney reads this summer earns her a token. 


Shhhh… it’s a secret, so please don’t tell McCartney. If she earns all her tokens, she’ll be heading back to school in style. And, if this summer reading project is successful, her backpack just might include some books for fall reading.

September’s Social Butterfly: Learning names and using greetings

IMG_0990-2-300x288Social Butterfly flies into my classroom every month to help with social skills. In September, her emphasis was on learning names and practicing greetings. “My name is…” “How are you?” “What’s your name?” “Nice to meet you, …” In addition, Social Butterfly had a surprise for my students this month. She helped each one create a Friendship Book.


Every Friendship Book had pictures of each student, teacher, and aide along with their name and two of their favorite things. The students took these books home with them every night to involve their families in learning about their classmates and staff.


We set up targeted behaviors for each student on 123TokenMe Pro. These behaviors were based on using greetings and learning peers’ names. Between Social Butterfly kisses and 123TokenMe award shows, my classroom was all aflutter in September.


In October, we’ll be asking Social Butterfly for help with everybody’s favorite two items.



Summer’s Rock Stars: A back to school tip for teachers



To start the new year we begin teaching “ready to learn” behaviors. We talk about what it means to be ready, and encourage our kiddos to become Rock Stars! We show this picture as a visual reminder.


“Ready to learn” means bodies are calm. We sit criss-cross apple sauce with hands in our basket. Eyes are on the teacher, ears are listening, and lips are quiet. All of these behaviors need to be in place before any teaching happens. 


We encourage these behaviors by using 123TokenMe Pro. We award a token to each student when they demonstrate their target behavior- “Being a Rock Star!” We begin by using the star token for each student. As soon as they become a Rock Star, though, they choose their own preferred token type. A wonderful motivation. Now… rock on!

Hooray for School!

We borrowed copies of the CD’s that the teachers play in class and uploaded the tunes to our ipods at the house.  I was able to play “Hooray it’s time for School” every morning when we started back to school so that our son would know where we were going, and be a little more prepared for the routines.  I thought this was really helpful to give him a chance to learn the songs in a variety of settings.

Community Quest

A Teacher pushing a wheelchair I teach a medically fragile class.  The majority of my students are in wheelchairs.  So they don’t get to explore the campus on their own the same way as their peers.  However, it is important that they have many experiences and know where important people are: the school nurse, secretary, and principal.  Also, where important places are such as the office, bathrooms, library, cafeteria, and bus drop off. 


At the beginning of the year I take pictures of people and places that they should know. I do this with my phone so it is quick and easy.  Then we play a game called, ”Community Quest”.  I show them the picture and they have to find it. This can be done in groups with the students taking turns, or individually. My students really enjoy being out of the classroom and on an “adventure”.  They also get to socialize with the people in the pictures when they find them. It is a fun way to make sure they know where to go and who to see when necessary.

Open the Doors, and See all the People

Open the doors, and see all the peopleGot a student who is anxious about the big unknown world of school? Our kids love the advent calendar at Christmas time so we are going to do a modified “Back to School” version. Countdown the days until school starts with small doors that open to pictures of things they will get to do at school. Be sure to include your child’s favorite activities, such as puzzles, tricycles, or building blocks. Other ideas to add in to discuss could be the mode of transportation to school, particularly if your child will be riding the bus, and even a typical meal for their school day. Be sure to include friends pictures if you know they will be attending the same school. By month’s end you should have many fun things they can look forward to doing and seeing on their big day!

Playin’ with Dad

Here’s an easy idea for getting back to school. Take your little guy to the playground of his school as much as possible.  Get him used to the actual equipment he will be using at recess. The playground is an important place to fit in. Sometimes I bring Little JP’s sand toys and sometimes his trike. JP can get in a rut (sound familiar?) so we try to change up what we bring.

Eat Breakfast Like a King

Eat Breakfast Like a KingGetting back into a school routine isn’t easy for anyone. There’s never enough time, but don’t cut corners at breakfast. Picky eater? Gluten-free and casein- free (GF-CF)? It’s time to be creative in starting the day with smart fuels to sustain an active day of learning. Who knows what kids truly eat when at school? Make this meal count. Best advice: Read the label of EVERYTHING you place in your loved one’s body. If you can’t read it- don’t feed it. Just because the box says natural, sugar-free, or GF-CF does not make it a healthy choice. Go back to whole foods. Begin each day with lean protein, fiber, and a healthy fat.


Here are three of my many kid friendly breakfast ideas:

Breakfast Ole: Add black beans and a slice of avocado to scrambled eggs. Top with salsa and goat cheese. Roll in organic corn or whole grain tortilla.

Shake it up: Add together a small amount of frozen berries, ½ banana, and PLAIN yogurt in a blender. Sneak in ground flax seed and cinnamon; blend.  Serve in a special glass for fun.

Toasted peanut butter sandwich: Toast whole grain bread, spread with natural peanut butter or nut spread, spread with smashed or sliced bananas. Use brown-rice cakes for a change.


I will share some more breakfast ideas in comments or a future post. Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper!

The Star of the Story Is… You!

The Star of the story is YouA tool I have found helpful with transitions, especially the transition of a new school year, is social stories. An array of social stories are avilable on-line and in books, but personalizing social stories with photographs of the student doing the desired activity seems to get a better response. A new school year may include many firsts such as new staff,new room,and a new routine.Familiarizing students with new staff or what is expected (Such as, “waiting in line to get lunch”, or “sitting on the carpet with hands in lap”) by using photographs increases buy-in. Who doesn’t like being the star of their own story?