Kids are all so unique. What motivates one, may or may not motivate another. Balancing the need to teach all the standards, monitor progress, match curriculum to student needs, and keep them motivated can be one big juggling act sometimes. Motivation can be one’s pathway to success or major roadblock to progress depending on the student. I think the answer to motivating the masses is by using a wide range of techniques. For me, this is really really important as all of my students struggle, so I work very hard to make a connection with them, encourage them with praise and encouragement that they are doing things well. I praise their effort and improvement rather than focus on the overall end product. With reading, I try to stay informed of what the kids enjoy reading and what’s new that they might like to try in order to match their interests.So what are adolescent readers interested in? Well, from my Adolescent Literature class information, Kids from 5th-12th grades like books that:
Are fast paced
Involve Coming of Age themes
Include characters within their age range
Are edgy and that stimulate controversy
Free of many adult characters…they’re often in the background
Often told in first person
Current and focused on today’s teen issues.
Getting kids to talk about their reading is really important at this reading stage as kids are very social and enjoy any opportunities given to talk. Offering choices helps motivate them too. I mentioned how different kids are, and so are their tastes in reading material. Boys and girls prefer different books from each other, but no matter whether a student is male or female, all students have different interests. Choice is very important for adolescent students. No matter the choice, talking about the books is key. Here are a few ideas you might try for building in discussion.
Last week, I introduced Edmodo to my class with the help of our technology teacher. My students really enjoyed discussing internet safety, playing a few interactive games focused on internet safety, and watching a video clip all from Edmodo. Our Technology Specialist set the lesson up, so now I can use it for class discussions. I’m really looking forward to giving it a try, and I found this tutorial that explains how to set up your class if my readers would be interested. The address is https://www.edmodo.com
I began this post with talking about the importance of connecting to your students and building a positive learning community. Another way to build community with your students is through a class blog. You can use your blog for students to submit book reviews, to host discussions, and even as a book project. I used a blog, Where Wild Readers Roam, in this way, and although it wasn’t a total hit, I do think it would have been if I’d been the students’ classroom teacher. As the interventionist, it was tough to find time to meet with my blogging team.
Of course another great way to spark classroom discussion is with Google Apps. You might use Google Hangouts for your lit circles or a collaborative Google doc for group contributions. No matter which app you choose, you’ll figure out a way to use them in a unique and motivational way.
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