Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Think Youtopia for struggling students

The school year is almost over so why post about a behavior plan? It's a little too late in the game for starting one, but perhaps it's something good to have on your radar as you look forward to next year. I get it, next year couldn't be further from our thoughts this week but the hours, days, and weeks will tick away and before you know it, two things will be happening: school will be starting and struggling students will walk through your door.  Youtopia.com is a website that I have used with one student during the 2nd semester with great results. It was a student of mine that was having problems with behavior and work ethic. He is capable, yet had times of shutting down. Many things were tried, but failed. I discovered Youtopia and after doing some learning, gave it a try. Youtopia is an online behavior plan that allows you to set up goals, awards, objectives and activities for the struggling student. You can pretty much come up with any type of plan: behavior, lack of effort, social problems, etc. The cool thing about Youtopia is that you can create "badges" that the student earns through gaining "points."  Points are earned through earning "money" and "hours." You can set the point total, goals and badges to whatever you want. You can have multiple students do this and create a friendly competition between the students, which might be a motivator. This would be an ideal plan for k-6. Students older than that may find it a little cheesey and not "buy in" to it. My student really wanted to earn those badges so that was a motivator for him to work hard and have a positive attitude. In order to explain how it works, this blog post would be extremely long. Instead, hopefully I will have a chance to show you how it works next year in a workshop or in-service type setting. I encourage you to give it a look and just mess around with the site. It could be a valuable tool (or at the very least, something to try) next year. So, instead of saying "Nothing works with that kid!" and giving up, give Youtopia a try. After all, it is our job to help them. 

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