Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Motivating Middle School Students (MMSS Blog) Part 1

This school year has started off quite well as far as motivating my students.

Motivation #1: Conference With My Students.  I have begun conferencing with each student during silent reading time at the beginning of the class. During this time, I listen to them read, ask them questions about the book that they are reading and show them how to actively read and keep notes. The students are writing a letter to me each week about what they are reading. I make notes of things that I can discuss with each student to help fill in some of the gaps that they have. For example, one student used the wrong form of "their" in a sentence in her letter. I used our conference time to explain "their, there and they're." I showed her a few examples and she got it. After our meeting, she thanked me for helping her to understand the differences. Not only was she motivated, so was I.

Motivation #2: Use the Nook E-readers. Last spring I wrote a Donor's Choose proposal to get a Nook Color to use in my class. I also asked my PTA to assist in funding the project on Donor's Choose. Well the PTA at my school is so wonderful they gave me $300.00 toward going and buying either a Nook or a Kindle Fire. It was Mother's Day weekend and there was a sale on the Nooks at Barnes and Noble. I went and purchased two Nooks to use in my classroom. Then in June my Donor's Choose project was funded and now I have three Nooks to use. They are so motivating to the students. They are all being used on a daily basis. The kids want me to start a list of who gets to use them next.

Motivation #3: Respect Reward Tickets. This week I started to give out a Respect Reward ticket.  Students receive the Respect Reward ticket when they are doing their best and showing respect to their classmates, teachers or themselves. Each month I will pick a winner that will be given 20 minutes to use the Nook to play a game. I have games like Boggle and Scrabble on the nook so it will be educational (Shhh don't tell my students!)

Well that is all for today! Next week I have a few more motivational ideas that I will share.

What kinds of things are you doing to motivate the middle school students that you work with?

Till Next Time!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Great First week with Whole Brain Teaching!

"This is the best class I have ever had!" 
" Wow, That was a fun class!"
" My class was awesome!"
These were the comments I heard this week as I dismissed students from my classroom. This has been the best week ever. It all started with being in a flash mob at the superintendents convocation meeting.

I am in the green on the end.

Then, I used several new (to me) Whole Brain Teaching techniques. The kids loved, loved, loved, them and that is saying alot for middle school students. Whole Brain Teaching actually put smiles on the faces of my students.

First, I taught the students how to stop what they are doing and answer " Yes" when I say "Class."

Next, we learned the class rules and the motions. I showed them how to teach each other and all about the scoreboard. I was amazed at how into it they were. 

Well one week later my grade six students are loving it and very enthusiastic. My grade eight students are okay with it. They take more convincing. We played Basketball Trivia which is my version of Mind Soccer. So I am hoping that will help motivate them to increase their participation. 

Also, another highlight is the 40 book reading goal. I already have five students that have completed reading their first book. this has motivated others. 

So I am off to a great year.
P.S. Check out the new MMSS Blog Store!

How is your year going so far? What new things have you tried?