First up, I am linking up with my sweet friend Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for her:
Yes, I know it's not Saturday, but it kinda is for me since I'm on spring break (finally!!) so, it's ok that I'm a few days late, right? ;O)
I'm just gonna share a quick trick I use each year about 2 weeks before testing starts. Our state testing comes a week after we get back from spring break. So, the weeks leading up to testing, students are sooooo ready for spring break, and it can be hard to keep their attention, especially when we are in full review mode.
So, I throw something completely new at them in hopes that this new idea will motivate them to pay attention and participate. And it does (thankfully!!)
I have these pink tickets from Oriental Trading:
They have lasted forEVER. So, here is what I do...
I explain how they can earn tickets (paying attention, staying on task, and participating in discussion and review- my students "mostly" behave, I just really want them focused on instruction ALL...DAY...LONG). Then, we get right on started with the reviewing and I give away tickets like crazy that first hour.
Once a student receives a ticket, they put their name on the back. At the end of the day, I pull 3, 4, 5, or however many I want from the pink bucket they put them in (can you tell I have an affection for pink?) . I wish I had pictures, but I forgot to take one before I left Friday. :O(
Once their name is pulled, they can come get their prize. Usually, it's a piece of candy from my candy box. Sometimes, though, it may be no laps at recess (we have a track and students are required to do 2 laps before they can play) or maybe they get to use one of my pillows the entire next day while we are doing floor activities. Honestly, it doesn't really matter what the prize is, they just want to win!
I leave all of the tickets in the bucket after I have pulled the day's winners. That way, they have more chances to win if they have received more tickets (we discuss probability briefly).
I started this this past week with my students and there was an immediate improvement on focus levels and participation. I know it's a very simple motivation tool, but it works, and I'm all about simple in the midst of the stress of upcoming testing!! :O)
Head over to Joanne's blog and find some more great motivation strategies and link up your own if you can!
I'm also linking up with Latoya for:
(Beware- the rest of this post is totally personal and nothing to do with teaching!) ;O)
Finally...if you recall a few weeks back I posted my spring break bucket list. On there, I said I wanted to start going to the gym again. Weeeeeeell...I went today. Here's how it went:
I decided to take the spin class because it was only 45 minutes long and I'd mostly be sitting so maybe it wouldn't seem like I was having to do as much?
I tell my kids we are going to the gym and I hear things like, "Wow, we haven't been there in forever!" and "K has never even been there because we haven't been since he was a little baby!". I'm already feeling very out of shape but this isn't helping. Thanks kids.
Anyway, out we go and off to the gym. We get there and I'm trying to sneak in because I haven't been in over a year. I quickly scan my card and head to the kids room but, nope, don't get past before the trainer at the front desks checks the computer as I go in and she looks at me (with THAT look) and says, "Welcome back Amanda!" and then she kinda laughs. Not really in a mean way, just in a "I've got your # you lazy thing you!" kind of way.
So, it's not going great so far, but I'm a finisher so I don't give up (and I haven't even started working out yet!) I drop the kids in the playroom and head upstairs to the spin class. First off, they've changed the bikes and so now I have to figure this out. I do and it's fine. Phew.
Finally, we start the class and I'm nervous. 30 seconds into song 1 (there are about 7 songs) I realize I've made a huge mistake by taking this as my first class. By song 2, my legs are screaming. By the 3rd song, I'm looking around wondering who I need to tell that I have 3 kids down in the playroom so please have them call my husband when I pass out, fall off the bike, and go to the hospital in the ambulance.
Song 4 is a "ride easy" song so I sat and "rode easy" trying to catch my breathe. Song 5 I realized that I had gripped the handle bars so tightly I had ripped off a little bit of skin on my right thumb when I was trying to will myself to keep going. By song 6 pure adrenaline kicked in and my body was in fight or flight mode so most of the pain subsided and I was just trying to be done!! The last song hit and I was soooo happy to be finished!
It's always a little nerve-wracking when you get off the bike because it's never a sure thing your legs will hold up under you. Mine mostly did, but it was touch and go for a second. We stretched and then I headed for the stairs to get my kiddos. One foot down the steps and I knew that I was possibly not going to make it down the stairs on those legs. I considered going down like my 2 year old (sitting on my bottom and just sliding down) but I thought that may call a little too much attention to myself so I gripped the handle hard and took it step by step. Finally, I made it with out falling and picked up my kids. (I'm sure this was quite comical to many people to watch.)
So, how do I feel...hmmm. Mostly like I'm very out of shape. My legs are ok now, but definitely when I go upstairs I realize tomorrow I probably won't be able to walk. But I'll push through it and go back tomorrow anyway. Oh, and I probably won't be able to sit for a week. I wonder what class I should do tomorrow...hmmmmm... ;O)
Anyway, back to school related things, how do you get your students motivated during spring fever/test prep time? I'll take all the suggestions I can get!