Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spark Student Motivation Saturday: Promote Great Thinking!

I know it's summer and sometimes it's hard to get motivated, but it's time to share some MOTIVATION! Link up any idea, lesson, tip, trick that will motivate your students when we return to school. It can be something that motivates YOU! Let's face it, if it motivates us, it motivates our students!
**We will continue this link on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays for the month of August, but it will be open during the two weeks, so join anytime! Mark your calendars! (August 10th, 24th)
As I think about heading back to school in a few weeks, I always get nervous about my new mix of students. Building a safe learning community in my class is top priority for me and I start on day one, it sets the tone for the whole year.
How do you get your students comfortable enough with each other to share their thinking and ideas? I know in every class there's always a few that are reluctant to share and feel intimidated by the students with strong, outspoken personalities.
I like to encourage risk taking and praising each others' ideas right from the beginning. I've used different strategies and techniques each year, but after I found these light bulb sticky notes at Target I thought of a great idea!
As I said, I work very hard building a strong classroom community where my students take ownership of their learning and thinking. I love the idea of my students praising each others' ideas with these sticky notes! What validation they would feel if they received one of these notes from one of their peers! I bought one for each of my groups to encourage them to promote others' thinking.
I realize not every Target stocked this product or may not have any left, so I made these "Great Thinking Cards" so we can all promote GREAT THINKING in our class!
Some ideas to use these cards:
  • Each group has a set at their group to hand out to group members or other classmates.
  • Create a bulletin board to hold all the great thinking ideas/work.
  • Teacher passes out light bulbs during lessons.
  • Teacher or student leaves light bulb on another student's desk while at lunch or out of the room.

A way to promote thinking and sharing to build trust amongst each other would be to ask open-ended questions where there's not one "right" answer which will give students confidence to respond creatively without being afraid of being "wrong".

Of course, with increased participation by all members of a group, student engagement increases, speaking and listening skills (CCSS) are developed, and it gives us feedback so we can assess their understanding. It's a win-win-win! :O)
I know this will be a great self-esteem booster and confidence builder for all my students!
I hope this post MOTIVATES you to MOTIVATE your students to share their thinking and ideas!

*If you link up, you will get these light bulb cards to promote great thinking in your class!
The set includes color and B/W thinking cards plus bulletin board posters.
Link up any idea that motivates you or your students-if it motivates you, it motivates them! No idea is too small or too big! :O)
** Don't forget to grab my button and this post when you link up.
While we're here, let's share some blog love and "motivate" each other by following/commenting at least one person's post! :O) I can't wait to read everyone's ideas!

Don't forget to get your new Fan FREEBIE on Facebook!


  1. As always...super cute idea. :) I just saw some light bulb note pads the other day. Just might head back over to get them.
    Creating Lifelong Learners
    Follow me on Bloglovin'

  2. I just saw those light bulbs last night when I was at Target. I bought the last pack. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, but I thought they were too cute to pass up! I love the idea of them sharing a friendly note to encourage each other!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  3. You are always full of great ideas and this is another one. I love it. I have not seen those yet but will be on the lookout! I have been working really hard with my students to get them to feel comfortable sharing their thinking and responding to each other in positive, meaningful and helpful ways, especially when working with open-ended questions. We use a lot of sentence starters and modeling!!!(I of course am the model ;) )

  4. I absolutely agree with the open-ended questions. We do one every day to help with them being able to justify opinions. It really works to help them with their thinking skills! :)


  5. I love the idea of handing these cards to my students and encouraging higher order thinking skills. Third Graders will love this!!

  6. What a great idea!!! :) I'm not a blogger, just a faithful blog reader. So, I pinned it for you! :) Thanks.

  7. love this idea! and of course, LOVE TARGET DOLLAR SPOT!!!

    Hodges Herald

  8. These are so great! :)

    Heather Haugen

  9. Round two:
    Sorry for the confusion.


  10. I absolutely love the light bulb idea. I have them on my back to school wish list. I have a spot in my room that would be perfect for displaying these.

    Thank you!


  11. Thank you again for this idea! I just love it!


  12. I love the idea that students are recognizing others with this!

    - Pam
    Moments to Teach

  13. Fantastic idea!
    I just pinned it!!

  14. Very cute idea with the lightbulbs!! I never can find ANYTHING in our Target dollar section so I love that you made some! You are so quick with making those little motivators! You are so good!! :O)

    Have a great weekend!

  15. This is such a great way to help develop a feeling of classroom community!
    I pinned this because I do not have a blog. Thank you for sharing!

  16. What a neat idea! Thanks for the chance to try them out for free in my class!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  17. Great idea to get them seeing beyond their own actions! I was going to be training them this year to respond to each other in conversations. This fits perfectly into that!
    Here's my pin:

  18. I love this idea also! I can't wait to start next school year with such an amazing neighbor!!

  19. Can't wait to use this idea for the new school year! It beats my brain drawings I have my kiddo's do.

  20. Love this idea! You are so clever (as always!)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  21. Love this idea! Thanks! Your motivation is beginning to work on me!


  22. The lightbulbs are a great idea! Thanks for motivating me & getting me excited!!!

  23. I love the lightbulb idea, Joanne!! I also love that you included an alternative in case teachers can't find those awesome sticky notes at Target:) Always thinking, my friend!! Thank you for being so inspiring:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  24. Thanks for this interesting post about student motivation, it's very helpful and I'll be using it with mine. We are engaged in various sciences and our students are very capable. We have a department where students can present their ideas for startups and inventions. As a commission, we choose which of them are the most socially significant and useful. If you are interested in learning about a professional service that helps new inventors, then I advise you to read and see how young talents make their way into the world of new technologies and science. If you are one of them, you will definitely like it.

  25. I put up posters last year, but some shell gas station store numbers
    of them could really use their own set to flip through.


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