Thursday, March 10, 2016

What Motivates Students?

I listen to various podcasts when I am driving to and from work. I like "An Extra Pack of Peanuts" which is about world travel; I like "This American Life" which focuses on interesting stories about real people, following a particular theme; and I listen to "The Cult of Pedagogy" where Jennifer Gonzalez talks about all kinds of useful things for teachers.

Today I was listening to Jennifer Gonzalez talk about motivating unmotivated students. You could read the text or listen to the podcast yourself. These are the 5 things she recommends for motivating in the classroom, followed by my comments on each.

1.  Students are more motivated academically when they have a positive relationship with their teacher.

  • I try to develop relationships with my students. It's so hard with a limited amount of time and so much to teach. I think I treat the kids with respect, and I really care about their educations. I share with them about my life in an attempt to let them see that I am a real person outside of school. I hope they know that each of them is really important to me. I could do a better job of building relationships with all my students.
2.  Choice is a powerful motivator in most educational contexts

  • I believe in offering choices to my students. I let them choose where they want to sit; they choose their partners; they choose what kind of seating suits them. Often when they finish a required assignment, I let them choose what they will do while the others finish. I offer many choices for preferred reading time. 

3.  For complex tasks that require creativity and persistence, extrinsic rewards and consequences actually hamper motivation
  • Today I offered students a "Challenge" activity to work on after a test. Many students took advantage of this opportunity to learn more without the promise of extra credit or a grade. 
4.  To stay motivated to persist at any task, students must believe they can improve in that task.
  • I have so much to learn about "growth mindset". I have been in the habit of saying, "You're good at this," and "You're so smart." Good thing I have growth mindset and I know I can improve if I keep trying.
5.  Students are motivated to learn things that have relevance to their lives.
  • I recently advocated for the students to stop doing work out of the workbooks that are boring and dry. I got permission to teach reading, analyzing, discussing and writing through the use of Time for Kids magazine. These articles are current and relevant. The kids are much more interested in them than in that stale ol' workbook. 
I have been teaching a long time, and I hope to continue for a lot longer. I want to be the best teacher I can be! I keep reading books and talking to other teachers. I love listening to podcasts and reading other teacher's blogs. This keeps me on my toes and helps me stay connected with my students. I'm always open to feedback and new ideas. Post them in the comments.


Famous Person

My famous person is a Youtuber that was born on August 7th 1992 he is mostly famous for lego games. To help you here is a quote from his LEGO games ‘destroy first, think later’. He is non violent but makes crummy jokes. He has 1,206,704 subscribers and nearly 3,000 likes on every video. My favorite series that he did is The amazing spider-man 1 and 2 and skylanders super chargers. He plays over 17 different LEGO games he has a celebration series called Yolocraft. He play minecraft multiplayer and pixelmon multiplayer. He has 3 kid friendly channels but now he is 23 years old. Can you guess who my person is?


Question of the Week

I asked Ms. Davis “What inspired you to make this blog?”
She told me that she went to a technology conference last summer and they were talking about blogs. She did not know anything about one. So she decided to start a blog, not just to learn about it but actually keeping in touch with her students and student’s parents. She wanted to use it to express her feelings and what she knows about teaching. This is a good idea because some parents don’t have time to come in or have a phone call so this is perfect for busy parents who want to stay in touch with their child’s teacher.
-Olivia S

2 Truths and a Lie

  1. During August I played soccer for the Oroville Youth Soccer Club. I was on a team called the “Rush.” We went to a tournament and won our first game against the “Cosmos.” It was a tie so we had to do a kick off, we won the kick off. The score was 3 to 6. But then lost our second game against the “Puma’s.” The score was 1 to 0. During the season I played a forward and mid-fielder and got to make goals.

  1. When I was younger I did ballet and tap dance. For ballet and tap dance my teachers name was Peggy. We had a bunch of recitals, during one of the recitals my ballet shoe came undone and fell off. I wore a bunch of different costumes. I don’t remember much about ballet and tap dance, but I still have some of the costumes.
  1. Last summer I was on a swim team for the Oroville Orcas. This was my first year on a swim team. We had a bunch of meets but I only went to one. I got fourth place. We learned a bunch of different swims like freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and a lot more. The coach also taught us how to dive. We also dived off the block, which was a slanted, short diving board.



  1. Ms. Davis - I loved reading about the things that motivate unmotivated students. That's a challenge for all of us!

    Connor - I'm stumped. No idea whatsoever! I'll have to google it!

    Olivia - I enjoyed reading about why Ms. Davis decided to write a blog. I remember her telling me about it after she attended the conference and she was so excited!
    I'm glad it has come to fruition. I make sure to read it every week!

    Anela - I'm going to guess that #1 is a lie because I think kick offs only go to 5 points, but I'm not positive about that. Am I correct?

    Ms. Farrar

  2. Conner- I do not know.
    Olivia- I've never thought of why she started the blog, but now I know.
    Anela- I think #1 is a lie because I've never seen you at the soccer fields
    -Kaylee J.

  3. Anela-I think 1 is a lie.

    Conor- I have no idea who that youtuber is.

    Olivia- I think that is really cool how Ms.Davis has her own blog .

  4. Connor- I know a lot of youtubers, but I don't know this one.
    Olivia- I think that was a very good question to ask and I am very interested in why she did make this blog.
    Anela- I think #3 is a lie.


  5. Anala- 1 is a lie I was on team rush and you were not on that team
    Olivia- that is why she started the blog, I thought she was told to do it
    Conner- I don't know


  6. Conner- I don't know who your person is but he sounds cool.
    Olivia- I didn't know why she started the blog until now.

  7. Conner- I don't know I only watch some youtubers and video game youtubers aren't one.

    Olivia- Interesting, I enjoyed learning why Ms.Davis created a blog.

    Anela- I think number 1 is a lie because I know you are not a fan of soccer. :)


  8. I don't know who your person is Connor and I think number two is a lie Anela and that is pretty cool that Mrs davis created the blog.-Patrick

  9. Conner- I have no idea who he is, but my little brother may have watched some of his videos.
    Olivia- That was an awesome reason/inspiration for Ms. Davis to make a blog.
    Anela- I think #2 is a lie, just a guess.


  10. Ms. Davis- I think you do motivate most of us and thank you for letting me ask you the question!
    Conner- I can't figure out who your person is.
    Anela- I think #3 is a lie.
    Olivia S.

  11. Conner- I love YouTube, but I don't know who he is!
    Olivia S.- Wow that's amazing!!
    Anela- I helped you make the lie so I know!!!

  12. Ms.Davis- You do motivate us, well at least me and I think that is a good reason to start a blog.
    Olivia- That was a really good question to ask.
    Conner- I don't know who you're person is.
    Anela- I think #2 is a lie because you talked a lot about your swim team.

  13. Connor I don't know who your famous person is.

    Olivia sounds like Ms. Davis is wanting the best for us.

    Anela I think number 2 is a lie.

    - Jose

  14. Conner- I have no idea who your person is. My brother would know. He loves minecraft, legos, and YouTube.

    Olivia- That is really cool how the blog got started.

    Anela- I have no idea which one is a lie.


  15. Anela-I think #2 is a lie.


  16. Anonymous said...

    Olivia.S-I think that was a really good question to ask.

    Conner-I have no idea who your person is.

    Anela- I think #2 is a lie.


  17. Mrs.Davis~~You do motivate the class and that is great and you even motivate me and that is a great way to start out our years. Also that is why you are everyone's awesome language arts teacher.
    Olivia~I really like you question also it was a great question.
    Conner~I don't know who your famous person is but they sound nice.
    Anela~I think that #2 is a lie.


  18. I'm doing some of the things that your class is doing. Also, Anela I think the first one is a lie.

    •Izzy from Pennsylvania•


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