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!
- 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.