Saturday, September 14, 2013

Spark Student Motivation Linkup!

Hi all!  I'm linking up with Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays to share my current classroom management strategy.

Last year, I made my management strategy WAY too complicated.  I had a table system, a whole class system and an individual system.  It was bananas.  And way too much for me to handle. To be honest, I was too into Pinterest and what other people were doing.  So I had a behavior chart, I did warm fuzzies and brownie points.

Midway through the year, I felt like the rewards were too common and had no meaning. I felt as though I was just bribing the kids to do things they were SUPPOSED to do.  Okay, if you get along in your groups and stay on task, then you can get a candy/pencil/eraser/whatever.  Um, no.  I still motivated my students with authentic praise, but the rewards aspect was out of control.

This summer, I resolved to do less.  I read up on Whole Brain Teaching and probably googled every conceivable combination of "Whole Brain Teaching Upper Grades" and "Whole Brain Teaching Fifth Grade."  I read the book and blogs and decided to go with a new strategy this year.  I kept the clip chart and introduced a daily Behavior Report for all students.

Recycled Picture Alert!  The clip chart is from Teaching with a Touch of Twang.

Right before dismissal, students write in their level on the behavior report.  I asked for all students to have the first night signed (they were all level 3;-) so the parents would know to look for the report in the future.  It's copied right on the back of their homework log, so they can't forget it.  Students who end the day on level 4 get a little sticker.  After 5 stickers, they will get a newly designed/washi taped clip.

We have had five days of school and I haven't said the word "reward" or the word "consequence" once.  No one has asked "what do we get?"   I'm also using a Scoreboard (created by Teaching with Style).  I told the class they need 400 points to get to the Level 2 Scoreboard.  Each morning we tally their points (and mine).  But none of the kids have asked what they get.  They seem so happy with their one second party when they get their points!  And I've seen really great behavior from some of the kids I was warned about.....

I am sure this won't last for forever, but I am feeling good about the fact that the students are motivated by their desire to be acknowledged rather than a little trinket and I don't have to juggled three (!) management strategies.

How are you keeping your students motivated?  Be sure to link up with Head Over Heels for Teaching!

Also, Erin at Lovin' Lit has a giveaway going for her newest Interactive Notebook Pack!  This one is for writing :-)  Be sure to check it out!


  1. Sarah, I just downloaded the scoreboard that I learned about from another post today! So, now there's two of you who love it...I'm starting the implementation on Monday! About how many points do you students earn each day? (just wondering how long it will take to get to 400). I'm so happy that your year is off to a great start! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. I love how this makes the students think about their behavior and internalize it! And yay for no rewards!
    A Tall Drink of Water