Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Motivational Tools for A Buzzing Classroom & a FREEBIE

Motivational Tools for A Buzzing Classroom & a FREEBIE
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Hi all! I'm Yara, I have been teaching for about five years now (boy time flies!) and the first two years as a part-time casual teacher whilst completing my studies. My sister constantly jokes and makes a point of how she remembers our playtime as kids *rolls her eyes* and says I'd make them all sit in a circle and I pretend to be the teacher - haha. So, apparently it has always been in my genes. =)

I'm so excited to be a part of this new blog launch for Ladies with Class. I have been creating lesson plans ever since I can remember and two years ago, I was so lucky to have found TPT as I've met so many awesome and amazing educators from around the world!

In this post, I will share with you some ideas on how to keep students motivated! Students yawning, talking, or losing interest in the subject can all make for a less energetic and boring classroom experience - and we've all been there. Not every topic we teach is going to be interesting - let alone interesting for students.
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1. Give students a sense of control: for instance get students to choose the activity they're about to do (of course have a list of the activities related to the topic) and allow them to choose an activity at least once a day. This not only gives them confidence, but shows that you're interested in hearing their opinions and what they want. In my experience, this method has worked magically for me - if I can, I even use it a few times day and not just with activities, but I also get a student to 'help' me explain the topic. :)
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2. Always use positive reinforcement: there are so many things teachers need to think about on any given day. The worst part is that sometimes we do lose sense of what we're doing - not on purpose but merely because of pressure. I know I'm guilty of this. I once made a student leave the class prevented him from participating in one the activities the whole class is doing because of his disruptive behavior. This made him upset AND angry and when he was allowed back into the class - he wanted to 'retaliate' and this only encourage more of this negative behavior. However, the worst thing that you could do is to use punishment with students. In my experience, especially when I first started teaching - punishment NEVER worked.  didn't understand why. When I was a child, punishment was used ALL the time. It only made students feel insecure, negative and hostile - and this only made matters worse in the long run. 
3. Allow students to work together and offer rewards: This in my experience always works like magic! Friendship, belonging and healthy competition - three things that students LOVE especially kids. My experience is mixed and I've taught both adults and kids and this works in both classroom dynamics. The important thing to note here is that teachers are slowly become more like 'facilitators' rather than the traditional view of teachers standing at the front of the classroom and 'giving' students the information they need. The 'facilitator' position promotes the inquiry process where students 'look into' their understandings and try to 'find' answers themselves.

I hope you've enjoyed this post and to end - I'd like to offer a free behavior rewards card. It's so easy to use! Just let the student use a bingo marker or any marker to color in a square each time you give the student praise for something he/she did that was positive working silently/cooperating well with others etc... You name the rewards for that week. Each time a student gets all the squares marked off, give them a reward of some kind (you could name the reward at the beginning of each week). :)

Just click on the picture to take you to the free download.
Note: you could also print this in black & white / gray scale to save ink!
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4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I just started a blog post last night about giving kids choose and letting them work together. I've been helping the full time sub in 2nd grade during ELA (English Language Arts) and right now we are working on writing biographies. The kids got to choose who they wanted to write about and they are working together to help each other read the texts and to write "good sentences"! They are having a blast!

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  2. I feel lucky to work at a school where collaborative work is the norm for the day. I've discovered that there is very little they actually need to work "all alone" for. The practice has helped with social skills all around, and increased their oral language skills significantly.
    ~Heather
    The Meek Moose

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  3. Great Post! I have my kiddos working together all the time. My classroom is always filled with productive chatter:) Thanks for the freebie! Very Cute!

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  4. Loved reading this post! As teachers, sometimes it is hard not to get frustrated and use punishment. It's always good to remind ourselves not to "own" student behavior, and to remain calm and positive.
    Sebrina
    Burke's Special Kids

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