So how do we get these five, six, and seven year-olds to work so hard for an extended period of time? I think that's a question that we will forever be answering, but I know my colleagues and I would try some nifty tricks to motivate students to remain focused for an extended period of time.
|Courtesy of http://www.wpclipart.com|
1. Stuffed animals
During readers and sometimes writers workshop, I would hand out stuffed animals to quiet, hard-working, super (you know what I mean) readers and writers to keep them company. As the year progressed, I would give all or most students a stuffed animal to read with and then if they couldn't be responsible enough to have a stuffed animal, they would lose that privilege. Believe it or not, even the boys were not happy to lose the opportunity to cuddle with a stuffed animal while reading.
|Notice the kitty cat keeping her company during writers workshop!|
2. Reader, Writer, or Partnership of the Day
I started handing out tickets at the end of each subject, crowning somebody/somebodies reader of the day, writer of the day, or partners of the day. And we would reflect on why those individuals would receive this honor (they worked the whole time, they were focused, they took turns with their partners, etc). I would give them a ticket to take home to show their parents; it was a quick way of sending home a positive note and provide positive reinforcement to the student. Students would write their name after Love, as if they wrote the note to their parents.
I would write out Partnership of Day slips using this handy pad from Scholastic; this was a very popular ticket in math because we had so many partner activities, and both friends would receive a ticket.
The writers workshop slip is in my Writers Workshop Resource. Unfortunately, the reading detective skip is not for sale yet. I have been slowwwwwly working on my Readers Workshop Resource, but that whole learning a new grade level seems to be getting in the way of putting it together. Someday it will be up on TpT.
3. Class Goal Poster
Most of the readers workshop gurus (Calkins, Miller, etc) have taught us, we need build stamina slowly, with the younger grades reading for five minutes and then building up. Well I saw my amazing second grade colleague and friend create a little poster keeping track of the number of minutes her students would read. And she would motivate them by saying, "So let's shoot for 18 minutes today!" And the students responded so well to that little poster: by the end of the year, they were reading for 25 minutes independently...which is sooooo impressive! So I tried it last year, and it worked pretty well, when I was consistently using it. I would forget to update it sometimes. The next time I'm in a classroom, I'll definitely be more mindful of it. Check it out on TpT!
I would love to know how you keep your students angelic during reading, writing, and math workshops.