Reflection: Intrinsic Motivation Navjot Talks Terrestrial - Section 6: Reflection & Closure


One of the most difficult, yet most necessary, activities that teachers do is to build a classroom culture where students treat each other with respect.  Once we have achieved the ability to do that, the next step is to teach students how to support a classroom culture where everyone learns.  That is a tricky endeavor!  Classrooms are like big families - lots of jockeying for position, "sibling rivalry," and concerns about who has the power.  I remember the first time I told a student, "Trust me - you won't care that you weren't first in line twenty years from now," and he responded, "Oh yes I will!  I will remember this day forever!"  The things that seem unimportant to us adults, often turn out to be pretty important to the students we teach.

One of the ways I go about creating a supportive environment where every student learns, is working to make sure that every student feels that they can learn - that they actually have a shot at it.  Sadly, by fifth grade many of my students have already decided that they aren't capable of learning.  Even more damaging, many of these students are also viewed that way by their peers as well.  A big part of helping them to feel capable, is to get their peers on board.  Using the "Thank You Note" strategy sounds rather simple, but I have seen magic things happen with this.  After I introduce this strategy, little "Thank You Notes" start appearing everywhere - kids find them in their desks, and on their seats.  Of course, I have to put abject fear into them - should I ever find one with anything less than something positive!  

I will also put "Positive Post-Ups" inside kids' notebooks and in their desks.  Sometimes just a few words in a teacher's handwriting (along with a smiley face) that says, "I noticed how hard you worked on your division problems today - Good for you!"  Or, "Wow!  You got all of your Science Vocabulary done without being reminded - way to go!!!" - means the difference between a student who keeps trying and one who has given up.

The Bottom Line - when students feel good about themselves they are more willing to be supportive of others.  That's just how it works.

  Building A Supportive Classroom Culture
  Intrinsic Motivation: Building A Supportive Classroom Culture
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Navjot Talks Terrestrial

Unit 2: Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems
Lesson 12 of 20

Objective: SWBAT identify the characteristics of terrestrial ecosystems.

Big Idea: What are the identifying characteristics of terrestrial ecosystems? Students work in "expert pairs" to skim and scan scientific text, and then use a collaborative strategy to teach their fellow scientists what they have learned.

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2015 02 03 14 41 25
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