I enjoyed your video. I noticed near the end of the vidoe you mentioned incentives. Could you tell me more about/explain your incentives for the students.
Thanks for commenting!
I use an incentive chart to motivate my students to do more independent reading. It's basically a simple chart with stamps. When students complete a book they turn in a worksheet and a take a short quiz. If they pass, I award them stamps during silent reading time. I intentionally use a punch stamp that makes a little bit of noise so that the whole class can see me adding the stamps. I also apply the stamps as soon as I get a chance. I use the chart to apply a grade at the end of each grading period, but I think that the actual stamps are a motivator as well. It thought that it would be trivial, but I've actually had a few students tell me that they wanted a lot of stamps by their names.
When using any sort of incentive, it's always good to consider what you want your end goal to be. I use this chart specifically so that students will feel proud of reading a lot of books. To be honest, I don't use too many gimmicks when it comes to incentives.
I've found that the best incentive is (I know this sounds trite) positive reinforcement. However, let me qualify. I'm not talking about the proverbial "good job" that teachers always tell their students, because let's be honest, students totally know when teachers are just saying "good job" for the sake of it. I'm talking about very SPECIFIC and targeted positive reinforcement.
Let me give you a real example from my class:
Micheal answers a question using a complete sentence. I immediately respond by saying "Thank you Micheal. I appreciate how Micheal responded in a complete sentence and how he used the word affluent, because affluent was one of our vocabulary words. I can tell that Micheal was really paying attention..." after that I go on to comment on the actual content of the comment. I actually praise the PROCEDURE BEFORE THE CONTENT.
The result: Micheal knows that I'm not patronizing him and he's going to use a complete sentence the next time he shares. He wants to share again. The other kids who want to share are now thinking of how to phrase their answers in complete sentences and thinking of ways to incorporate our vocabulary words.
The absolute best motivator is competence. Dr. Kate Kinsella and Dr. Kevin Feldman, two leading literacy researchers, always say "competence leads to confidence."
That was just an example of how I motivate students to participate and use academic language. Initially getting shy students to want to participate is another matter that I will address in a future post.
Ana, what specific outcome are you looking for with your incentives?
Hope this helped!
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