Rethink Ed Spotlight Educator: Jean Lawson, Truman Elementary School (Springfield, MO)

Mrs. Jean Lawson

Ms. Lawson is a special education teacher at Truman Elementary School in Springfield, MO. Truman Elementary is a part of the Springfield Public School District, which is Missouri’s largest school district. Over 25,000 students attend 36 elementary schools, an intermediate school (grades 5 – 6), nine middle schools, five high schools, Phelps Center for Gifted Education, and 2 early childhood centers! Out of all the teachers at those schools, Ms. Lawson has been awarded Springfield’s Teacher of The Year 2018-19!

Classroom Cafe Cart

We are honored to celebrate with Ms. Lawson and feature her as a Rethink Ed Spotlight Educator. Ms. Lawson has successfully implemented Rethink Ed into her daily classroom activities. For example, she uses Rethink resources and data tracking to help her students meet their goals. These resources help create obtainable targets because she can break down a student’s goal into smaller, more achievable tasks.

“Skills we learn are practiced through authentic experiences. I believe in providing authentic experiences to bring learning into the real world. Math and social skills are used in cooking and selling snacks to teachers on our Rolling Café.”

Ms. Lawson also loves using the Rethink motivation boards from the resources section. In the photo below, you can see some of her students making pizza. When a student meets a goal or completes an assignment, they receive another pizza topping until they have made a finished pie! Ms. Lawson has seen great progress and success using these motivation boards. She found that many students,

Baking Pizza and cookies!

“who have been reluctant to do nonpreferred work, willingly work. The positive association with the table work has crossed over to other times where they will willingly work and not use the motivation boards. That’s success!”

With the ability to record, track, and analyze student data, Rethink helps Ms. Lawson promote the success of her students. We are honored to partner with Ms. Lawson and Springfield Public School District and we look forward to continuing to inspire hope and power potential.

Mrs. Lawson and her staff (along with Santa and an elf). This includes Mrs. Lawson and her other autism teacher (in the green on the right), Phoebe Ezell; and our 6 paras. A couple of them also work with students on their goals, collect and enter data on Rethink.

Using Motivation Boards To Increase Student Engagement & Motivation

Strategies for Using Motivation Boards

Motivation is meant to promote learning and positive behavior in a classroom. Often, educators struggle with generating and sustaining motivation. A simple and effective method to combat this are Motivation Boards, however, they must be implemented the correct way.

Individual Motivation Boards

Individual Motivation Boards help individual students stay engaged and motivated. Several engaging Motivation Boards on available on the Rethink Website. Choose a Motivation Board that fits what you are teaching and/or that is attractive to the student. Set a goal for the student. Identify something that the student would like to earn such as a small prize or time to play with a favorite toy. Each time the student meets the goal, note the success on the Motivation Board using the tokens, along with verbal praise. When the board is complete, reward the student with the predetermined prize.sept-helpful-hints-1

Small Group Motivation

Participation in small groups has many benefits such as:

  • Promotes teamwork
  • Includes students of all abilities
  • Encourages communication
  • Promotes collaborative and positive peer support and encouragement
  • Increases learning of skills
  • Decreases problem behavior

Provide each small group with a Motivational Board. Set a goal for the small group such as lining up quickly and quietly. When each member of the group is successfully lined up, award the group with a token. This will engage all students and help everyone to be successful through peer modeling and encouragement. When the Motivational Board is complete, award the small group with something that everyone can enjoy such as a treat or free time.sept-helpful-hints-2

Group Motivation Boards

If you have a goal for your students to read a certain number of books each month, or maybe you want to encourage cooperative behavior between the students in your classroom, consider using a Motivation Board with the whole group. After setting a clear goal, determine the reward for meeting the goal (pizza party, extra recess, etc.). Display the board where everyone can see it. Each time the class moves toward the goal, add a token to the board. Once the board is complete, celebrate!sept-helpful-hints-3

View a Webinar to Learn Other Techniques to Motivate Students!

Watch this webinar on demand to learn other reinforcement strategies to motivate your students. Having students motivated from the beginning of the school year is essential to student success. During large, small, and individual teaching sessions, it is important to maximize motivation when teaching both academic skills and working on reduction of problem behaviors.

View Webinar


 

 

Resources:

Motivation and engagement play a huge role in students’ academic achievement (Martin, 2001; Martin & Marsh, 2003)

Students who are motivated and engaged in their learning perform considerably higher academically and behave better than students who are unmotivated and unengaged (Fredricks, Bulumenfeld, & Paris, 2004)

Teachers can impact their students’ motivation and engagement (Hill & Rowe, 1996)

https://www.rethinkfirst.com/Home/TeachingMaterials?categoryId=12