Motivating My Students to Achieve

Spartan PrideAs a proud Spartan fan, I watched the football team closely all season.  The team did everything right:  they all stuck together, through good times and bad, they worked hard, they celebrated the wins and learned from the losses and ended the year on a high note.

This has inspired me to use their example with my students.  It took me quite a while to figure out how to do that.  It finally clicked for me last week:

First, our school holds a Reward Day each trimester.  Students who have no office referrals or D’s or E’s on their report card enjoy a fun activity or field trip.  The others go to an academic support room which is designed to help them (hopefully) avoid this in the future.  So, our “Rose Bowl” will be having the entire team (59 students) eligible for Reward Day in March.  That will take quite a bit of effort on their (and our) parts.  Last trimester, we had 11 students who were not eligible.

Each week, the Spartans focused on their football game that Saturday.  Our “football game” will be our Catchup and Pickles.  Each Friday afternoon, students who have missing work “catch up” on the work, while students who have all of their week’s work turned in “pick” an activity.  If 75% of our team is a “Pickle”, we will consider our team to have won that week.

The Spartans are well known for dancing in the locker room after a win.  The team chose a song that they felt embodied their celebration.  We’ll be taking nominations for celebratory songs next week and we’ll choose our song on Friday.  When we “win”, we’ll celebrate by dancing.

It also occurred to me that the Spartan defense has a special saying, “the No Fly Zone”.  We will have a “No Fail Zone” in our rooms.  🙂

Finally, to help our students, we will be creating special teams.  We have two interns who, along with the two of us (the homeroom teachers) will divide the team into four smaller teams.  Each of these special teams will choose a name and the adult will help that team pull together and succeed.

I’m super excited to set all of this in motion.  When we explained it to the students Friday afternoon, they were also very excited, so I’m hopeful that this will really take off.

As we go along, I’ll try to update and let everyone know how it’s working.

What do you do to motivate your students?  Do you think this will work?

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