Elementary School Teachers

How do you handle when a third of your class is unmotivated and won't complete work? I teach third grade.

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Can you send it home to be completed as homework? Making it an inconvenience on parents because their children won’t do the work in class can sometimes be a motivator. Kids don’t want to have to go home and be stuck doing their assignments that they could have gotten done during class, and parents don’t want to have to make them do assignments that they should have done in class. Also rewarding students who have no missing assignments weekly or doing things that are positive for those who are doing right motivates the ones who might not be as excited about the work as well.

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Natural consequences. F

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Incentives. Look at giving your students interest inventories. Can even search it up online. Check with the school psychologist to see if he or she has any. You don’t have to go broke and give out tangible rewards but you can set up rewards systems in your classroom that can be a motivator. You can assign jobs. Some easy free rewards could be extra recess time, Get out of doing homework passes, extra time on computers for fun (if you have computers) student teacher for the day, star student (one of my favorites) for the day or week. You can purchase cute erasers and special supplies to keep in a separate case that only the star student gets to use for the week. Let them choose their seat (if not too disruptive). My students can keep items from the star student supply case. I just replenish it, which is cheaper that giving out prizes to the whole class. I get a lot of the supplies from the Dollar Tree. Fun Friday activities that are educational but don’t look like it. Set your class up in stations that are actually gaming stations and hopefully you can find inexpensive games. If you can’t afford to buy games then look online (love Pinterest for this too) for sight word or math bingo. You can get the whole class involved. Give out cute decorative erasers or create a star board in you class. Kids love competition and having their name in lights (or highlighted on the board as a winner) where everyone can see is magic to them and it can be healthy competition. 15 minute movie Friday. I show tidbits of kid’s shows (usually some popular sitcom on Netflix Kids that they all love or even PBS kids). Might need to talk to your administrator about the 15 minute Friday “showtime” reward to be sure he or she understand why. I’ve never had an administrator say no, but if they do look for fun STEM stuff. No kid hates that. We made tiny parachutes out of lunch paper bags that we cut up and decorated. You tie yarn to them with the paper bag parachute at the top and a tiny basket at the bottom (we used coffee filters for the basket) and they fly, even just standing around throwing them up in the air out on the playground. Found the activity on Pinterest searching kid STEM projects. The kids loved it. We did an egg drop were kids had to use supplies I gave them (only the supplies I gave them nothing extra) to pad the egg so it wouldn’t break when they dropped it. I gave them empty toilet paper rolls, cotton balls, plastic gloves (latex free cause I had a bad experience with that and a kid allergic to latex), two sheets of paper, a few strips of tape (not a lot of tape the have to work with just enough but not too many supplies) and a plastic water bottle. They loved it. I get them to work or they don’t get fun Friday. It works for my sped students. It can work for your kids too. Plus you’ll be one of the most popular teachers on campus

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I started a Fun Friday incentive in my 2nd grade class. I had students not motivated to complete anything and that has all changed! Our Fun Friday consists of 30 minutes of free time. Students who have not completed their work get to use that time to finish it and join in the fun.

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Sad to say but this is probably an issue with this subset of students that has been a continuing problem since the grades before you. Every year there is a group of students like this in my class, I just reward the students that complete their work in a timely fashion with being the first to line up, extra recess, and rewards as I can. One year I put a Hershey kiss in the desks of kids that were motivated each morning. Only the hard core unmotivated continued, most fell in line

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I have the same situation but with 7th graders

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We went the natural consequences route as a 5th grade team one year, it motivated some

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