Motivating & Engaging Students
Motivation+Engagement+Rigor=Student Success
October, 2011

My newsletter is designed to be a quick, practical read; strategies you can use tomorrow. In addition to the classroom strategies, there is a Principal's Perspective for School Leaders and Resourceful Recommendations, where you'll find my favorite resources. Upcoming issues will include:
  • High Expectations for Students
  • Rigor and the Common Core Standards
  • Ratcheting Up Reviews
  • Connecting with Students in New Ways  
Enjoy this issue, forward it to friends and colleagues, and contact me with any feedback or questions. 

Keys to Motivation

Did you realize that every student is motivated, just not by what we want them to be motivated by!  If you want to tap into student's intrinsic motivation, pay attention to the two keys:  value and success. 

Students are more motivated when they see value in what they are doing. For some students, they need to understand the relevance of a lesson, but value is more than that.  Some students see value in activities, interaction with others, or in a relationship with you. Get to know your students so you can connect to their value.

Students are also motivated when they feel successful.  Consider providing activities which are open-ended or questions for which there is no wrong answer.  Or, provide smaller chunks for students to process so they are not overwhelmed.  As students begin to feel successful, they are willing to try again!  

Principal's Perspective


Looking to promote a change in your school?  Recognize the positive to fuel the change!  One of my favorite activities is "name it, claim it, and explain it". As you are in classrooms, take digital pictures or videos of effective practices.  When you start faculty meetings, put the images on the screen and ask teachers, "If this is your classroom, congratulations! It's a great example of what we are trying to do.  Name it, claim it as yours, and tell us what you are doing." This begins your meetings on a positive note, and adds an encouraging twist to your walkthroughs.  An extra tip: don't feature your superstar first; find teachers who don't typically receive recognition and build their confidence.   

Did yBarbara R. Blackburnou find an idea you can use tomorrow?  Your students and teachers are individuals, so adapt the ideas to make them effective for your classroom or school. If you'd like to share a tip and see your name in my e-newsletter, contact me!

You'll find activity templates and more information about my presentations and books on my blog, my website for teachers , and my website for school leaders.

Finally, never forget, you make a difference everyday--even when you don't think so!



 Barbara R. Blackburn

Barbara Blackburn
Blackburn Consulting Group
In This Issue
Keys to Motivation
Principal's Perspective
Tips for Engaging Learners
Remarkable Resources
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Tips for Engaging Learners 

Is it difficult to engage all your students?  Use Stop, Reflect, and Respond.  Frequently during your lesson, stop and ask students to reflect on what they  learned.  Next, ask them to respond. Rather than calling on one student, which allows other students to disengage, ask all students to respond.  You can use pair-shares, technology clickers, dry erase boards, or thumbs-up or down.  The formative assessment allows you to check understanding and engage all students at higher levels.


Remarkable Resources   

Check out Erin Klein's site, which is filled with practical tips for using technology to improve instruction. If you are an elementary teacher, click tiny tips!

Feeling overwhelmed? Frank Buck has great organizational tips, both for principals and teachers.

I'm reading
It's an interesting guide to "teach students to ask their own questions."  It provides practical strategies for teaching students how to produce, improve, and prioritize questions.  The format is easy-to-follow, and the examples are help you implement their suggestions.