This morning I am so very proud of myself! You see, I found a way to make Mom, Dad, Matthew and Tarsha all happy and successful. First, I must mention that Matthew is not playing his much loved hot wheels game for his computer time this morning. Second, he is not even using a ticket*. Matthew is identifying letters on that computer screen.
It was recently progress report and parent teacher conference time at Matthew and Aliya's school. Both children received notes saying they are a pleasure to have in class and both are average students. However, Matthew isn't identifying letters. This seems to have sparked a NEED to have him practicing A LOT, per Dad. Dad even wanted me to go online to PBSKids.org to do activities with him. I didn't find any letter activities and the games are above preschool level. I did find http://www.kinderwebgames.com/, which has great games to learn letters, shapes, colors, and numbers. They are shown three and must identify the correct one.
I set Matthew up to play the identifying a letter game with the incentive that every time he identified a letter correctly the first time, he would earn a M&M mini. Notice in the photo there is a little mini M&M package! This was a great incentive for him to take it seriously and hopefully learn to identify letters. When the M&Ms run out, I have mini chocolate chips. I have mentioned before that I am not above bribery, right?! Mom and Dad are on board and I like the idea because I get to be the good guy offering yummy incentives instead of only yucky (hear healthy) dinner options! :) He thinks this is a grand idea as well because his Halloween candy is just begging to be in his belly and Tarsha usually only allows it after something healthy.
*As for tickets...
When I interviewed, I heard loud and clear that Matthew and Aliya's parents DID NOT want them in front of the TV or computer for any extended period of time. I also heard they wanted them eating healthier and picking up their toys...but the kids have already addressed these issues with me! :) When I first came on board, I asked what their parents had in mind for reasonable amounts of TV and/or computer time. Annie (mom) said 30 minutes max and not everyday. I figured the only way to give the children a choice of how best to use this time, was to give them tickets respresenting how may chances they had. Aliya and I made a chart holder and 4 tickets for each child - (2) 30 minute TV times and (2) 30 minute computer times. She even drew pictures of a TV and computer to distinguish between them. I explained that they could pick when they wanted to watch TV or play a computer game, but they had to give me a ticket and it would be timed. Each week the 4 tickets start anew, and if they use them at the beginning of the week, there will be no more for the end of the week. Of course, my always thinking Matthew informed me early on "we could just make more tickets!" I laughed but explained that this is not how these tickets work! I am excited to give them opportunities to make choices and teach a little about budgeting!They rarely watch TV and Aliya has never used her computer time with me. Needless to say, it has worked very well. Annie said to me, "Tarsha I don't know what your doing, but its working. They don't ask for TV when I get home anymore and I can just spend time with them."