Author and speaker Zig Ziglar says, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Here are some different ways we as teachers can motivate our students. Hopefully you can find at least one new way to motivate your students!
1. My number one way for inspiring students is let them know you value them as a person, not as number for your testing data. Ask them questions about themselves. Notice things about them….even if it seems little to you it may not be little to them. I’ll never forget a student that I had in 5th grade, the year I did student teaching. We didn’t know it at the time, but his mom was very sick. He would often forgo showering so that his mom could use the soap and shampoo and be clean when she went to the doctor. One day I had talked to him and just placed my hand on his shoulder. I don’t even remember what I said. But he told my mentor teacher that that had meant the world to them…that he knew I cared about him. Sometimes it’s the little things.
2. Talk less. You know how you go to teacher inservice meetings and are bored to tears because the presenter just stands up there talking? The. Whole. Time. And you’re so bored that you could scream? That’s what happens to our students. Let them talk and discuss and share with their peers. Discussing things gets you to think about what you feel and think.
3. Create an inspiration board. Include inspirational posters that you have found and have your students bring in quotes, photos, etc. that motivate and inspire them. One of the teachers in my school has an inspiration board when you first walk in her classroom, and I just love it.
4. Do a “Quote of the Week” or “Quote of the Day” in your classroom. Throughout the week talk about the quote…what it means to you and how it inspires you. Use the quote to spark a great discussion.
5. Using quotes from famous people, have your students research the famous person. Why do they think this person wrote that quote? What do you think it meant to them?
6. Create a mini book or such on inspirational quotes. Introduce new quotes and have your students write and illustrate them in their mini book.
7. Talk about your own learning. I am always striving to learn new things. Whether it be about a place I am traveling to, learning how to cook new foods, learning a new skill or hobby, etc. I LOVE to travel, and I LOVE to talk about the places I’ve traveled to. Traveling to new places always inspires me to learn more about that place. I traveled to Auschwitz and Birkenau and couldn’t wait to learn more about it. Your students will see and feel your passion and will be changed because of it.
8. Have you heard about Growth Mindset? It’s a way to get your students thinking differently. I love it. It really does get your students to think and reflect…and to not give up when the going gets tough. It’s a whole new way of thinking. It not only helps them think about the current task but also will help them in their future. Here’s a poster to share what it’s all about.
I LOVE this “not yet” concept in this video. I am definitely going to teach my students NOT YET next year!
If you’re looking for more Fixed vs. Growth Mindset activities, I have a set Growth vs. Fixed Mindset sort cards and wall display cards for your bulletin board. Give them the yellow word sort cards and have them sort or categorize them into fixed or growth statements. Then you can use the red fixed (red for STOP) and green growth (green for GROWTH or GO) cards for a bulletin in your classroom to remind students the difference between growth and fixed mindset statements.
9. Set high expectations for your students. Yes, I know all your students are not ready for what we have to teach them. Believe me, I know. But we have to believe in our students and believe that they can achieve it. If we don’t believe in them, who will? Larry Bell wrote an article about this in Education World. I like his ideas. You can read it HERE.
10. Hang inspirational quotes and pictures in your classroom. Quotes and photographs can help trigger two things in our minds. When you pair a quote with a photograph it helps reach more than one place in the brain. I myself am a visual learner so seeing a picture or photograph really helps it sink in.
How do you inspire your students? If you have an idea that I haven’t shared, I would love to know what it is!