Kids v. Teachers - a magical intervention - The Autism Helper

Kids v. Teachers – a magical intervention

Categories: Resources

I am not going to lie to you but this intervention is kind of like waving a magic wand. I pull this game out of my ABA bag-o-tricks for group behavior management. When I first heard of this game from a professor in grad school, I was not initially won over at the prospects. It seemed okay and I figured I’d give it a shot. Holy crap was I surprised! Something about the combination of competition and group consequences hits a nerve. My kids snap to attention when I bust this puppy out. For serious. Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!

When my professor originally told me about this game – it was called you vs. me. I switched it up to kids v. teacher since it applied better to my class.

How it works:

  • Make a list of rules. I like rules that are clearly defined and state what you should be doing instead of just want you shouldn’t be doing. We write them on the board when we use this game. When we started this we used for generally compliance in group settings. This week and last week I have been using it to specifically target certain behaviors – ie. being a good friend and not bugging your friend. (We have been having some major punky preteen problems during independent game time!)
  • When the kids are following the rules – they get a point.
  • When the kids are not following the rules  – the teacher gets a point.
  • At the end of designated time period – the winner can earn some special privilege. Teacher winning would mean kids lose out on the special treat. When I started this I used tangible rewards such as break time or cookie/chip. Now the joy of winning is enough for my kiddos 🙂 They also get a big kick out of when I am ‘mad’ that I lost. My acting skills have gotten quite good being a teacher!

Tips:

  • The first few times you play – make sure they win! You will get immediate buy in. If they don’t access the reinforcer or winning they won’t be into the next time you play.
  • When the kids get a point for following the rules, make sure to comment on what the person is doing that earned the point. This will help further reinforcer this desired behavior. ie: I love how Andrew is taking turns so nicely with Grace.
  • Get into it! If you aren’t – they won’t be!

I know, I know, I know – it sounds too simple and too good to be true. I thought so too and now I am a believer. This game is the bomb and has this instant and powerful effect that is nothing short of inexplicable magic.

 

Sasha Long
Latest posts by Sasha Long (see all)

22 Comments

  1. I used to do this with my mainstream class a few years ago…and forgot about it. It certainly was a winner – nothing beats beating the teacher! I am going to give this a whirl with my new kiddos and see how they go! Thanks for the refresher 🙂

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  2. Thanks for sharing this simple, yet effective intervenion. I have used this intervention and a similar one that I read about in a book by Shelia Wagner. You can make an individual version of this and it is explained in the book. It was magical for one student. One day he was not starting and completing work. Once we started the intervention, he was on task for the rest of the year.

    Book is called: Inclusive Programming for Elementary Students with Autism:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1885477546?ie=UTF8&tag=autitoda-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1885477546

    She writes a book for middle school students too.

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  3. Love it. I’d forgotten about this game until this post. I’m sending it along to all my teachers!

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  4. Thanks Keaghan! One of my favs!

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  5. Thanks for the tip Mary!

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  6. So I hate to be a negative nancy… But basically the way the teacher ‘wins’ is by the kids misbehaving? I get a point when I catch the kids being bad, like I’m a witch on a broom.. I already know I’m going to catch them and it’s their job to prove me wrong daily? I like the concept, but perhaps getting the kids in a competition against each other like boys vs girls or yellow group vs blue group and even then it should be geared towards positive reinforcement, a point for doing what you are suppose to do not for getting caught being bad. I win when kids are behaving well and I will reward them for that, not reward myself by punishing them when they lose.

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  7. I used to use that in student teaching! However, I have found that when I use Classdojo.com for positive reinforcement in my low incidence class, it has been more effective. It is a program that gives students an avitar and they get to earn points for positive behavior and loose points for negative behavior. It makes a sound if you get or loose points and it is a good visual for them. It also attaches parents to the account so parents can see exactly how the student behaved, and is a great tool for behavior tracking for IEP goals.

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  8. Love class dojo! 🙂

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  9. I see what you are saying, but the kids don’t see it this way. I tell my kids that I like losing this game as well. But I think a simple fix would be to relabel the table. Instead of it reading “students” and “teachers,” perhaps label it “good behavior” and “bad behavior.” That way students take the responsibility for both sides of the table and the game doesn’t pit the students against the teacher.

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  10. I have used Class dojo and it’s worked really well, but will try your idea on my sixth form students as some felt that they were too old for Class Dojo.

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

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  11. Love Class Dojo!

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  12. This is similar to the good behavior game which is a well documented validated practice. It also works wonders! I love this whole group version; thanks for sharing!

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  13. Exactly! It’s a reformatted version of the good behavior game! 🙂

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  14. I’ve never heard of this, but I love it! How do you catch the students following the rules though? I can imagine my students would be quick to point it out every minute or two. Do you do it at regular intervals, or is it solely at your own discretion?

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  15. Great point – I have to catch them following the rules – so if they bring it up they won’t necessarily get a point. If they do it too much – you could always give teachers a point since the students aren’t following a “don’t talk out” rule. I do it at my own discretion mostly but you could do it on intervals too!

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  16. I have seen teachers at my school use this. I will be subbing at schools closer to my home this year, any thoughts on “rewards” to use as a sub?

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  17. Hmm… good question! I would suggest break time, computer, picking the next activity, homework pass, small candies.

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  18. You can use the zones of regulation curriculum vocabulary and say expected vs. unexpected group or classroom behavior.

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  19. Class Dojo was too juvenile for my 5th grade class. Last year, I used Class Craft which the kids absolutely loved. The students get to pick a class (warrior, mage, healer, etc). They get to earn XP (experience points to level up), AP (allows them to learn powers) and gold coins which they can use to upgrade their appearance and to acquire a pet. Some of the characters are dressed a bit too adult like for younger kids, however, I did not have any problems using them. You can put students on teams and use for table points, you can integrate curriculum content and have boss battles which the students beg for every day. There is a free account and a paid account. I chose to pay last year to get the boss battles. It was definitely worth the $$ I paid. I have not used any other program that was more effective in managing classroom behavior and motivating students to work hard and do their best.

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  20. Great suggestion!

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  21. I LOVE this idea and would like to implement it this year but can’t wrap my head around what to do with one or some of the students who knowingly choose to do the wrong thing because they want to be “cool” or “funny”. Would that be a point for the teacher or is that when the student is pulled aside and dealt with independently?

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  22. I would probably pull the student aside. Keep in mind they could be less likely to this because of the group contingency (one student acted out “ruins” it for the group) althought sometimes it has the opposite effect. If it seems attention seeking, I would *try to ignore and redirect!

    Reply

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