Sunday I posted about our PACT that has commenced this week. I was reading a fellow SC educator’s blog here and he was sharing about ways to motivate kids to perform well. He asked for anyone to share motivational tools and techniques used, so I posted a comment on his blog. But as I thought about it, I thought I’d share here too–why not? Plenty of my readers are facing high stakes tests about now too.
A Typical Morning…
Our school has a morning news broadcast at school that I’m sort of in charge of–some days I think the kids and the show are in charge of me! I get to school each morning at roughly 7:15 to check their scripts, make sure our glitchy distribution system is up and running (and have time to troubleshoot if necessary–knock on wood–lately it has been running like a dream!), and then prepare my own materials for my to do list, classes that will venture into the library, or classes I’ll visit elsewhere.
Game Plan – A Meeting of the Minds
So anyway, in one of the principal-curriculum coach-LMS “meeting-of-the-minds” we brainstormed some ways to get students to pay attention to tips that may help them perform better on PACT. Our concern was that since our students are “tested” so frequently (3 times already this year using MAP) we thought we needed to impress upon students the importance of the test, how to approach this high stakes test, and give them incentives to pay attention and attend school. Here is what we came up with:
- Attendance was easy–huge ice cream party for all students who attend all six days of PACT. But reviewing test taking tips was a boring and dry topic, but one we felt was important. So we agreed upon the tips we would stress, and then came up with two projects. Here they are:
- Project one–take an ABC Powerpoint of test-taking tips that the principal had and present it on the news show. But the difference would be to have kids voices doing the preso, and lively, snappy, jazz-like music to accompany it, and make it enjoyable. We actually saved it as a video, and our students used (some 8th graders, some 6th graders) were allowed to voice record until they were happy with the product. The final video was just under four minutes, and I feel the kids enjoyed it. I may post it here later. It’s at school.
- Project two – A Test Tip Call-in Style Trivia Contest
For the three weeks leading up to the week of PACT, we did test tips on our news program. But there was a twist. We gave the tip early, making it so the student viewers read it off the TV during the show and heard it on their tvs at the same time, done sometime early in the show. Then last thing we did before signing off, we sponsored a call-in contest, and students would have to use the class phone to call the library to answer. We would showcase four statements (seen and heard) on the TV, and then encourage callers to call the library and tell us which statement was true. We entertained the eighth caller, or the first caller after 8 calls who correctly identified the correct statement. By adding the competitive twist, teachers said the students were really paying attention to the news broadcast, and we were giving the kids information that was important to boot!
Did this work?
My students this week keep asking why we are not continuing the call-in contest since PACT is far from over. Good point! (Their prize was a coupon for a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. I really don’t think the kids use them, but they love winning. We would recognize the winner on the next day’s show.) Hopefuly they remember the tips we gave. There were many.
My students who work the news broadcast wanted me to string a phone into the studio, but we could not find a cord long enough. I told them perhaps next time, and in the meantime, we are hunting for a LONG telephone cord or perhaps investing in a cordless JUST for this purpose. It was a lot of fun, and the news crew for once focused on something besides playing with the chromakey and funky backgrounds!
So now, what are you doing at your school to motivate students??