Aim Higher Flyer

A Monthly Look into ECHS Instruction

Motivation Station

Strategies for Helping Students Motivate Themselves

Larry Ferlazzo, author of "Building a Community of Self Motivated Learners - Strategies to Help Students Thrive in School and Beyond", has highlighted the main points of his book for Edutopia.
In this article, Ferlazzo discusses which classroom strategies are most successful in increasing student motivation. He credits:

  • Autonomy
  • Feedback
  • Relationships
  • Relevance

To increase student autonomy Ferlazzo recommends increasing cognitive choice with project or product-based learning, student submission of homework, assignment or project ideas and thinking routines such as John Hattie's "Where am I going?", "How am I getting there?", and "Where to next?".

Ferlazzo also acknowledges Hattie's classification of feedback as one of the top 10 influences on student achievement and Carol Dweck's work of acknowledging effort instead of intelligence. Pixar author Peter Sim discusses a neat technique known as "plussing" to improve ideas without judgmental language.

The importance of teacher-student relationships cannot be understated in developing student motivation and Ferlazzo suggests showing genuine interest, acting friendly, being flexible and never giving up on students to solidify these bonds.

Lastly, material must be relevant for students to take interest and engage. Researchers have found that students who are required to write a 1 paragraph summary of the usefulness of what they learned make positive learning gains, especially if they have historically been "low performers".

Ferlazzo's book is available for sale on Amazon.

Does body language affect student engagement and motivation?

Check out an expert's opinion in the video below.

Technology Bytes

Customized Tutorials

Do you wish that students had spent more time studying for their first test? Did they blow off your review sheet? Try creating a digital tutorial using a whiteboard app!

Free apps like ShowMe and Educreations turn your computer screen or iPad into an interactive whiteboard that allows you to write on and voice over images, drawings, graphics, and pictures. Talk your students through solving an Algebra problem, editing and revising a text or classifying biomolecules in a personal tutorial they can watch over and over again. Similar to TedEd videos but created and customized by you!

Check out an example of a ShowMe I made a few years ago as a Biology test review.

Create, Organize, and Study for Free!

Think of the top 5 strategies you advise students to use to study. Did you think of flash cards? Did you think of self-quizzing? Did mind-maps and re-writing your notes come to mind? GoConqr is a web-based app that allows teachers and students to create, save, share and embed all of the aforementioned strategies.

Ed Tech Roundup did a great review of the app citing some innovative uses from collaborative student mind-maps, generating practice quizzes (multiple formats!), to creating flashcard sets to help students study for an exam.

Students and teachers can both create and edit content which can be accessed via laptop or smart phone. Give digital study tools a try!

CIF Stars

Project Scaffolding

Ms. Davis included a midpoint rubric check for her AP World History Project. Students analyzed their project using a second copy of the rubric to self-grade at the halfway point! Students were then required to write down all missing items and develop an action plan to finish them before the due date.

This strategy integrates self-monitoring feedback with clear learning intentions and opportunities for students to self-grade. Awesome job Ms. Davis!

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Socratic Seminar

Mrs. Byrd integrated a Socratic Seminar in her AP English courses. She utilized the inner and outer circle method with two hot seats. Check out the iMovie below to see it in action!

This strategy incorporates writing-to-learn (students pre-wrote level II and III questions), questioning, and has opportunities for peer and self evaluation. All of this student talk was a level III or IV - great job Mrs. Byrd!

Journal Entry: What makes a great teacher?

Students in Mrs. Weust's English class responded to this prompt in their journals. So what does make a good teacher according to our freshman?

  • Active lessons with the teachers away from their desks and the front of the room
  • Challenging students and not grading easily
  • Pushing students to the limits
  • Making personal connections with students
  • Checking for understanding before moving on in lessons.

Insightful stuff - thanks for sharing Mrs. Weust! Check out the gallery below to read some of their responses.