Technology sparks motivation in most kids. 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.
Using Edmodo for a Technology spark
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
Class Blogs bring a technology twist
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.
Google Hangouts infuse technology
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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I have been using Edmodo frequently throughout the last couple weeks with my group & they love it! Our homework has transitioned to either a journal prompt or word problem on Edmodo each day, with the option to complete it during centers the following day if they don't have internet at home. My favorite one so far was when I posted a Kid President video last week & they responded to the question: What are you teaching the world?" I took some of their responses & 'published' them on my website too.
I am just getting started, but I can tell you the kids were totally into it. They commented that it looked just like Facebook, and I can see lots of great discussion coming from it. Thanks so much for sharing this Adriene.
I couldn't agree with you more Carla! Connecting with your students and forming those relationships are the key to success in our classrooms! After I get my class list, I know quite a few of my students and their interests. For those I don't, I ask their 3rd grade teacher or parent at Meet the Teacher about their interests. On the first day of school I have a few books on their desk awaiting their arrival-huge motivator! They appreciate I selected books for them and I knew what interested them, showing I already care about them as a student! 🙂 I haven't used Edmodo, but work with someone who uses it as her primary source of communication and loves it! I hope it works well for you too! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
Head Over Heels For Teaching
I'm glad you dropped by Joanne. Thanks for the opportunity. I loved the notes your former students wrote to your current students. I bet they felt very special. I hope my readers will drop by to read your post. It was excellent!
Great write-up! Writing is a talent, and it must not be wasted. As with everything that we had been entrusted, we should
let it grow and share it with the world.>self