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Mustering Motivation

Photo by Robert S. Donovan

Keeping students motivated at the end of the school year can be difficult. Once spring fever sets in, it’s hard to get them to focus on classwork. Some really good ideas for helping students get back on track and stay motivated come from really good teachers around the country. The ideas below are some of our favorites.

Musical Solutions
If your students like music, these ideas from Heather Burke, a 4th Grade Teacher in Austin, TX, and Erica, a 5th Grade Teacher in San Jose, California, will work great!

Heather suggests offering students spontaneous “dance breaks” by playing music “buttons” (available from greeting card companies) that play 30-second clips of upbeat pop tunes. Whenever her kids need a break, she presses one of the buttons. Her kids know that’s the signal for them to get up, dance and sing to the music. Meanwhile, Erica relies on a long list of break-time activities she’s compiled. The Hand Jive,16-count hand movement combination, and Freeze to the Music, a game where students have to “freeze” when the music stops, are two of her favorite.

Break Open the Bubbly
Sarah, a 1st Grade Teacher from Beaumont, Texas, uses bubbles to keep her class motivated. She says, “Whenever we have reason to celebrate – we’ve finished a test, we’ve completed a basal reader, we’ve answered 25 math facts within one minute, we’ve all finished seat work on time, we’ve all turned in homework, and so on – I pull out a bottle of soap bubbles and blow bubbles all around the room. The kids love it! The hope that a bubbly celebration might take place at any moment lifts everyone’s mood, and keeps them all on their toes and on task.”

Dessert Day

Lorraine, a Preschool Teacher in Vestal, New York, uses the power of the student-teacher relationship to strengthen her class’ motivation. “I set aside one day a week as Dessert Day,” she says. “I pick 2 or 3 student’s names out of the box and invite them to lunch with me where I would provide a healthy, yet fun, dessert for us to share. It helps me to get to know the students better and I get to meet with each one a few times throughout the school year.”

How do you keep your class motivated at the end of the school year? Are there any tips and tricks you’d recommend to your fellow teachers?

Share them with us below!

Photo by Robert S. Donovan.


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