47-6 Incredibly Simple and Powerful Student Incentives

Here’s one massive unintentional lesson the world learned from Communism…incentives are necessary to inspire productivity. Here’s where Capitalism falls short. This tired cliche is also lacking:

Competition brings out the best in people!

Granted competition is motivational, but I’ve witnessed competition bring out the WORST in people! Watch parental behavior at your next youth sporting event. Study the history of the Industrial Revolution. Teach a World History unit on Imperialism. Then, reevaluate that cliche. Perhaps it could be reworded as:

Competition is motivational!

When it comes to the classroom, some students love incentives and competition and some kids hate them. It’s been my experience, that incentives motivate many students, but not all. Hence, it’s important to offer the right kind of incentives. It’s been my mission to include the incentives that are:

  • Fun
  • Low-risk
  • Simple
  • Social in nature
  • Non-academic
  • Engaging
  • Relationship-inducing

In this episode, I’ll promote 6 such incentives. Only 2 of these carrots are academic in nature, but even those are promoted and administered in a joyous non-threatening fashion. My objective in unleashing all this academic Capitalism is 2-fold:

  • I want to inspire reserved kids to join the class-participation party
  • I want to coax even more out of students who are already contributing

The key for teachers is to have fun. When you’re having fun, the kids are often having fun. In that spirit, below is a photo essay of how Mr. Sturtevant awards a PLUS +1. Of course, I could just say it…but I like to do things with more style and originality. Listen to the episode to hear a description of the entire dramatic performance.

Plus +1

FOR YOU…my dear student!

Here’s my joyous list of 6:

  1. Plus +1
  2. Questions Off
  3. Potty Pass
  4. Food Pass
  5. Teacher’s Pet for the Day
  6. Verbal Praise Coupon (You have to hear about this one!)

I have 24 hours to come up with something awesome!

Episode Template

The Problem:

Your students need to up their class participation game.

The Solution:

Incorporate some low-risk incentives.

What You Can Do Tomorrow:

  1. Determine the target audience for your incentives
  2. Decide whether your incentives will be academic, social, or both
  3. Create some non-transferable reward cards or coupons
  4. Consider ways to deliver the goods with style!

Maybe…all your students need to up their participation game is a little Capitalism. Don’t be shocked if you and they have a lot of fun in the process!

Listen to “47-6 Incredibly Simple and Powerful Student Incentives” on Spreaker.

46-Utilize the ENTIRE School Building with this Engaging Scavenger Hunt…Starring Caroline Craig-Bowden and Sandy Smith

As I read through the 20 page assignment on the Industrial Revolution, I kept thinking to myself...Wow, this is boring! If I was feeling that burn, imagine what my students were going to feel. I decided it was time to break out of the box. In this case, literally break out of the box of the four walls of my classroom. I sent my students on a school-wide scavenger hunt utilizing QR-codes, a hint sheet, and provocative prompts from the reading. This episode will detail this EPIC lesson plan from the vantage point of two of my awesome students. I will also offer advice on how you can create a scavenger hunt at your school.

Caroline Craig-Bowden and Sandy Smith

First, secure a QR code reader. I love this simple, but powerful app i-nigma.

Second, produce QR codes. Classroom Tools has a remarkably easy site to utilize in this quest. Merely type in the questions and answers and then Classroom Tools will generate the codes.

And finally, concoct hiding places around the school for your codes. Create a HINT SHEET to help students search. Below, is my list. I’ll bet you could apply many of my hiding places to your building!

HINT SHEET:

  1. Finding this one could take you to another level
  2. On the back of a warning
  3. Where Sturtevant gets his Old Skool messages
  4. These kids looked great in 88
  5. Behind something black and gray
  6. If you find this one…YOU’RE REALLY ON A ROLL!
  7. If you don’t find this code, your prospects of winning will be extinguished
  8. Open this door and find an awesome relationship
  9. If you get to the bottom of where this code is placed…I’ll be shocked
  10. Search this virtual tool we use daily

ANSWERS:

  1. Elevator
  2. On the back of the “No Firearms” warning on the front door
  3. My mailbox in the main office
  4. The Class of 1988 composite
  5. On the backside of a trashcan in the hallway
  6. On the the large paper rolls in the supply room
  7. On an obscure fire extinguisher
  8. On the backside of my wife’s office door
  9. On the bottom of the defibrillator in the basement
  10. On the “About” section of Google Classroom

Episode Template

The Problem:

Your next lesson looks a bit dry.

The Solution:

Incorporate unit concepts into a scavenger hunt utilizing your entire building.

What You Can Do Tomorrow:

  1. Download the i-nigma QR reader
  2. Create QR codes on Classroom Tools
  3. Determine hiding places for codes around the building
  4. Craft a Hint Sheet

Morph a dull lesson into challenging your students to hustle around the building formulating wonderful responses to the day’s essential questions.

Listen to “46-Utilize the ENTIRE School Building with this Engaging Scavenger Hunt…Starring Caroline Craig-Bowden and Sandy Smith” on Spreaker.

45-How to Bounce Back from a Bad Day in the Classroom

Just because I’ve authored a couple of books and host a podcast on engagement, does not mean that I don’t have challenging days in the classroom. Last Friday was one of those days! The first 3 periods went great. My students were animated and participatory. The last 3 periods were miserable. My kids were lethargic and crabby. They were not the least bit impressed with my lesson. I left home on Friday defeated!

Now…I’ve been teaching a long time. I’ve learned what to do when I have a miserable day like Friday. I’ve had plenty such days in my career. In this episode, I’ll tell you about my miserable Friday and about 5 coping mechanisms I employ whenever I have a bad day. The good news is that I bounced back on Monday and thoroughly engaged ALL my classes.

This episode will help you bounce back too!

Episode Template

The Problem:

It’s easy to get discouraged when you have a bad day in the classroom.

The Solution:

Bounce back with these 5 coping mechanisms.

What You Can Do Tomorrow:

  1. Evaluate your lesson plan
  2. Analyze your delivery
  3. Consider your audience
  4. Don’t take a bad day personally
  5. Embrace that you will bounce back

Everyone has bad days. Use such experiences as teachable moments where you can learn to better engage kids!

Listen to “45-How to Bounce Back After a Bad Day in the Classroom” on Spreaker.