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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in motivation

Posted by on in General

There is a question that I’m getting more and more at workshops and trainings and that is "how do I motivate my students to work?" I hate to break it to you, but there is no “magic bullet” solution to this. Every student is going to have their own solution to getting motivated.

However, there are some things you can ask yourself when a student feels “unmotivated” or is unwilling to put forth the effort to learn that you think they are capable of. Instead of assuming “they just won’t work”, ask yourself these questions: 

Question 1: Are They Engaged?

Engagement is one of the most powerful motivators when it comes to your students. Are the learning opportunities you're providing worthwhile to your students? Do they peak their interest? Are they varied enough to keep them interested?

This is probably one of the most common things I see when motivation declines in learners. Either the tasks are repetitive and monotonous (example: constant textbook work), or they are “worksheet” driven and don’t allow students to interact with the world around them.

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Posted by on in General

(Image Source: YIES.com)

Ok, I know it's the end of the year and all you can think about is sleeping in, maybe getting your feet in the sand, and finally having a little time to relax and eat a meal without having to complete it in under 10 minutes as you grade stacks of papers or help a student in your classroom. As teachers this is one of the best feelings in the world. We hear that last bell ring and suddenly enter into a month or two of bliss and being able reset, refocus, and relax.

But before you get too comfortable, I want to make sure you don't accidentally go and waste your summer break. So here are 5 ways you can be sure to waste your summer break.


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Posted by on in General

It's almost here!

As the days grow longer, the students in your classroom get more volatile, and the smell of Summer break is in the air, I want you to STOP. Right now, as you decide not to finish that lesson plan and just play Kahoot with your students tomorrow, I want you to consider the opportunity being wasted. The opportunity to end your school year stronger than ever and set yourself up for an amazing Summer. Here are 3 things you can start doing today to make that happen.

1. Plan Ahead / Make a List

The easiest thing you can do to make the end of your year better is to plan ahead for the end of year hustle and bustle ahead of time. You are probably making a mental list of all the things you need to do, whether it's cleaning up your classroom, putting in your final grades, filling out that paperwork that's been in your mailbox for a few days, or signing up for your Summer professional development training. Don't be that teacher running around on the last day of school trying to figure all of this out at once. Make a list of everything you need to get done, prioritize it, and knock out at least 1 task every day. Start with anything that can take less than 10 minutes.

There may even be a few things that you're thinking, "I'll do that over summer, or get to it at the end of the year." This is a dangerous game and I would bet just about anything that when the time comes and you are staring down that mess of lesson materials in the back of your classroom, or getting those books organized, or handing back the student work that's been on your wall since first quarter (yeah, it's ok we all do that sometimes), you won’t have the time or energy to do all the things you put on that "Summer" list. Make sure you get ahead of these things so you can divide up the workload over the last few weeks instead of the last few hours.

2. Don't Stop Teaching

Ok...so I know this sounds simple. It's so easy at the end of the year to start "filling up time" instead of focusing on student learning. In your head it's very easy to think: "just get through these last few days." I get it, and this is normal, but here's a secret: students know when you're phoning in your lesson. If students feel like your just getting through the day, or have given up on learning for the year, they will give up too.

I know it can be difficult, but stay focused, stay committed, and continue doing what you do best: teaching kids.

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Posted by on in Student Engagement


Check out Part 2 of my previous post, "Prompts to Pump Up Creativity and Imagination." The upcoming "sparks," all crucial areas in education, don't get enough time in our classrooms. They can be used in various ways: a "wake-up call" in the morning to get students thinking and feeling. The prompt can be written on the board or said orally to students. Give them a minute to understand what the statement, question, or "equation" means. Add another minute for reflection-and-thinking about their interpretation. Follow up with a class discussion about the prompt and all its associations, connections, meanings, and practical applications in everyday life.

You might want to add writing to this mini-lesson. Instead of just discussing the prompt with students orally, ask them to write a short paragraph response to it. Follow up with kids reading their responses to classmates and discussion. They would think about and reflect on the prompt's meanings, associations, connections, as well as their practical applications in everyday life, and write out their answers. It all culminates with students' oral readings and a class discussion.

Note: The mini-lesson should not exceed 30 minutes. Scan the different prompts and see which ones would be suitable for your students. This would work for upper elementary/middle school to high school students. 


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Posted by on in School Culture

no excuses

This Might Get Ugly...

I'm going to start by fully understanding the vulgar gestures you may want to make towards your computer screen or the nasty emails you might write to me after reading this, but I think it needs to be said. But I believe that, by the end of this, you will at least partially agree.

First, let me admit

As a teacher I know it's one of the hardest jobs in the world. I fully admit that trying to educate students who are lacking necessary skills, two to three grade levels behind, unmotivated, and we'll just say "challenging" can be extremely challenging. And let's not forget all those ridiculous management issues you shouldn't have to deal with, but do very day because "hey, it's part of the job." Trust me, I get it. I really do.

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