Saturday, October 4, 2014

Spark Student Motivation

I'm linking up with Joanne over at Head Over Heels For Teaching for her Spark Student Motivation Linky.  

One way that I try to hold the interest of my 6th graders (which, if you know 6th graders, can be quite challenging---friends are so much more important than learning in the 6th grade) is to incorporate little bits of my life--or my made-up life--into my teaching.

I have two Boston Terriers who have made their way into math problems, practice with sentence types, compare and contrast essays, etc.  I reward them by letting them listen to a recording of my littlest dog screaming in rage because my husband has the audacity to dance in the house.   I have a small stuffed Boston that will get to spend the rest of the day on the desk of a student who blows my mind with something that they did or noticed, such as an act of kindness or a remarkable math connection.  I even have one of them featured on one of my good behavior cards.

I will tell them that when I was younger I had a hard time with a common trouble spot of whatever difficult concept we are currently working on.  For example, two weeks ago we were working on dividing with decimals---so many places to make mistakes!  I told my group that struggles that I had trouble remembering the zeros in dividing decimals, so I learned to put boxes over each digit in the quotient to remind myself that I need something in each place.  Now I can't recall whether or not I had trouble with this math concept--but as one of my students said to me "I didn't know that teachers had trouble with learning too, " it nearly broke my heart.  They have so many unspoken fears about their abilities.

Making things personal has really paid off in ways that I never even imagined.

1 comment:

  1. I taught sixth grade a zillion years ago and have to admit I found it VERY tough! But I would think that making that personal connection makes a huge difference.
    I'd love to get another Boston Terrier one of these days:)