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Best of Works 4 Me: Motivating Students

These teaching tips and strategies will help you motivate even your most reluctant learners to participate in the classroom experience.

Found in: advice & support; motivating students

Motivating Struggling Students

Motivating Special Ed Students
Here are some thoughtful and valuable tips from Ms. Caliguri on motivating special education students toward success.

Responsibility in Drama Class
Ms. McElroy has a unique way of addressing special needs students in her theatre class, using a variety of tasks that contribute to class productions, make students feel important, achieve success, and behave well in the classroom.

Ms. Wimmer teaches struggling math students at different levels of skill. To meet each at his or own level, she created "Top-It", a take-off of the card game "War". Mixing in dice, Uno cards and dominoes, she creates a fun, effectve math lesson!

Motivating Reluctant Readers

Four Reading Motivators for Teenage Boys
National assessments continue to show that boys lag behind girls in reading. It's also no secret that many teenage boys avoid reading in class or at home. How can we motivate them to read? Check out these suggestions.

Hooking Readers
Getting reluctant teenagers to read can be a teacher's most daunting task. Ms. Polladr's tip: "capture student interest with an interesting warm-up and half of your work is done" may help. 

Podcasting Book Response
To motivate the enjoyment of reading at Ms. Marchesano's high school, students conduct podcast book reviews. It's a cool way to let them use technology over a popular medium to share and discuss books they've read.

Title Predictions
Here's a great way to help students with reading comprehension. Find out how Mr. Burow's tip sets up a purpose for reading and why students are better able to answer/comment with more detail and enthusiasm.

Motivating Better Behavior

Behavior Bucks
Ms. Morrison awards each student $25 in play money at the beginning of each nine week session, which they must use to pay for misbehavior. A culminating event provides just desserts for the whole class.

Behavior Contracts
This tip helps students learn about making agreements while participating in their own discipline improvement. Read about Ms. Sayles' tip and see if it can work for you!

Knightly Actions
Ms. Gealt has a unique, highly creative way of motivating students and rewarding their positive behavior. There are knights in her classroom, along with a round table. She even uses a scepter. King Arthur would approve.

Secret Student Behavior
A motivator Ms. Hughes uses to ensure good behavior is to tell the class that she will be watching a certain student without naming that student. Good behavior gets a reward and since no one knows who's being watched, everyone usually behaves!

Classroom Cleanup Motivators

Golden Can
Here is a school-wide motivator to keep classrooms clean. Learn how a simple incentive has helped build community, foster an understanding of shared responsibility, and made a huge difference in the appearance of the school building.

High School Cleanup
Imagine your students actually cleaning up the classroom before they leave each day. Sounds like a dream, but Ms. Dewell turned it into a daily reality. Read about how she motivates them.


Homework Club
"Those who do the work, get the goodies". That's what the sign in the front of Ms. Wilson's room says. Read more about her tip that she's been using for more than ten years and how it punishes no one, but motivates everyone!

Homework Completion Incentive
Ms. Yates has students who have trouble completing homework consistently, so she developed an incentive plan that not only encourages students to complete assignments on time each day but also focuses their attention on tests and quizzes.

Homework Portfolio
Ms. Walton came up with a unique way to get students to turn in their homework on time. Best of all, this tip got them to assume more responsibility while eliminating grade anxiety at the end of each quarter.

Homework Teams
In order to motivate her students to turn their homework in on time, Ms. Mysyk developed a system of teams and points. See how her tip can improve homework completion in your classroom!

Motivate Math

Pascal's Triangle Enhances Number Sense
Mr. O'Brien uses Pascal's triangle on his bulletin board in a manner that creates enthusiasm and interest in his students. Read more about his math motivator tip and see if it can work for you!

Ms. King says Pokemon cards can motivate reluctant math learners to take interest! Read about her tip that she says has her students ready to more while eliciting lots of volunteers ready to help.


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