100 Ways to Motivate Your Students!

February 19, 2021

It’s almost here! Can you believe it? The 100th day of school is not only a big calendar milestone for districts, it’s also a chance for teachers to celebrate the impressive achievements their students have accomplished since August. Whether the gains have been big or small, just about everyone has something to feel proud of.

Even if there’s still a bit of work to be done before the real fireworks go off, students have, no doubt, come a long way and it’s important that they don’t lose the momentum they’ve worked so hard to build. We’ve already outlined some great strategies to incorporate incentives into your lesson plans, and, to celebrate the 100th day of school, you’re getting 100 more!

  1. Plan a virtual dance party to celebrate everyone meeting this month’s time on task or mastery goals
  2. Wear fun hats during your video lectures, vote for the best one and let that student pick a prize
  3. End successful video lessons with a game, like “I Spy” with different colored items in the teacher’s background
  4. Send personalized encouragement videos to students -- remember, students love feeling like VIPs
  5. Host an in-person or Zoom lunch with students 
  6. Incorporate online classroom games like Go Noodle
  7. Make a class playlist of all your students favorite songs and play them during group work time
  8. Take the time to chat about a topic that interests your class
  9. Offer online peer reviews and office hours for older students
  10. Share and shout out students who have earned Classworks badges, characters, and shields
  11. Use kindness jar to keep tabs on students who help their peers or volunteer to lead discussions
  12. Include fun videos, gifs, and images in your positive feedback messages with students
  13. Let your virtual class out early (the timetable is more flexible than ever!)
  14. Emailing parents with student congratulations, parents love hearing about their students’ achievements 
  15. Share student’s My Scores page to parents, guardians and adults in their lives to build buy-in at home
  16. Work with students to help plan and accomplish their individual goals
  17. Set class-wide goals and monitor progress with the whole classroom community
  18. Host a movie day! Have your students vote on a movie and stream it during class time
  19. Go on virtual field trips to places you’re studying - ever wanted to visit The Smithsonian
  20. Use breakout rooms for peer to peer collaboration 
  21. Assign partner projects for students to build community
  22. Teachers introduce students to their pet(s) and vice-versa
  23. Allow students to use fun virtual backgrounds during lessons 
  24. Model enthusiasm for learning
  25. Provide high interest learning opportunities -- relate lessons to your students favorite topics. Check out Classworks Classroom Reading passages.
  26. Offer opportunities for improving grades or catch-up work
  27. Create scavenger hunts either online or in-person to teach about different resources and tools
  28. Send shout outs to your students, too - not just parents!
  29. Show students how to take ownership with different classroom roles and technology features -- Students can track their own progress using the My Scores dashboard
  30. Highlight student strengths in group projects - assign each student a role or have them pick their own
  31. Shift teaching from a book to applicable learning like teaching science with cooking
  32. Play virtual games with Google Slides
  33. Create custom assessments to practice key skills - check out our step-by-step guide
  34. Give students an opportunity to show and tell what they value most about each lesson
  35. Host unit/ theme parties with relevant food and beverages
  36. Data track students growth and progress 
  37. Offer students choice boards or menus on what they want to learn
  38. Let students decide how they want to learn something ie books, internet, interview
  39. Safely integrate social media into classroom projects when appropriate
  40. Use pop culture topics for culturally relevant connections
  41. Publicize goals to keep students accountable -- check out our bulletin board kit!
  42. Have students create vision boards to align to their goals on programs like Canva
  43. Give students time to reflect on goals and progress
  44. Really emphasize the power of “yet” and having a growth mindset with younger students
  45. Provide practical feedback on their goals and what’s going well for a student during your one-on-ones
  46. Build in weekly time for feedback on students’ work so they can improve right away
  47. Offer students check-ins at the beginning of class so everyone feels heard
  48. Establish clear expectations and provide all the resources your students need to achieve them
  49. Be inspirational - add inspirational quotes and photos into a lesson
  50. Create a classroom vision board and have everyone contribute
  51. Use collaborative culture norms for different classroom practices to set expectations
  52. Host your own All-Star Contest! Celebrate students with the highest time-on-task above 80% mastery
  53. Remind students to keep their eyes on the prize - whatever prize is relevant for your students at the time
  54. Flexibility in ways to complete work and assignments - technology has made asynchronous learning a lot easier!
  55. Let students act out examples and nonexamples for the class
  56. Share personal experiences and anecdotes with students so they get to know you more
  57. Use varied types of technology for your lessons. For example, Classworks can be used on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
  58. Establish routines for your class -- it’s easier to maintain good habits than to break bad ones!
  59. Take a poll to see what your students want to be when they grow up. Then, connect subject matter to careers that interest them
  60. Ask students to reflect on prior experiences and visualize their future goals, then draw them!
  61. Check for understanding in different ways. One teacher has her students give a signal at various times to ensure they’re paying attention, kind of like Simon Says: “If you have questions about what I just went over, pinch your nose!”
  62. Incorporate multiple learning styles, but don’t explicitly use them for select students
  63. Create different classroom clubs or teams so students feel apart of a community
  64. Group students dynamically rather than at random -- Grouping reports can help ensure that students change groups appropriately as skill mastery increases
  65. Host a variety show for students to show various talents
  66. Celebrate students heritage, values, and cultures with celebrations and projects
  67. Gauge confidence levels of goals and tasks to provide adequate support for students
  68. Shout out student success by their efforts
  69. Read motivational stories from different cultures and backgrounds
  70. Incorporate mysteries into your lessons
  71. Discover new things together- if you don’t know, google it!
  72. Students earn goofy time with you
  73. Avoid going through the motions - try to keep each day fresh, you’ll appreciate this too!
  74. Flip the order of lessons to keep students on their toes
  75. Put on performances
  76. Make yourself available for students
  77. Have “Master” classes where students teach something they’re an expert on
  78. Teach using units of study so content is related
  79. Provide scaffolded reading material to build background knowledge
  80. Create interactive notebooks together -- See a sneak peek of the Classworks Goal Tracker
  81. Use accountable talk/ talking stems
  82. Have a classroom pet (real or fake!) and have students take care of it
  83. Let students take turns on being the “navigator” for presentations or screen sharing
  84. Pull brain breaks throughout the day
  85. Do classroom yoga to keep students active
  86. Find books to explain and support the Why behind classroom expectations and norms
  87. Ask for students favorite books and read them aloud
  88. Teach cross-curricular lessons to peak students interests
  89. Have pajama day for virtual students
  90. Gamify lessons -- in Classworks, students have access to over 7,000 gamified activities for ELA and Math!
  91. Find virtual tours for different careers possibilities
  92. Take learning outside! Many schools have empty stadiums that are currently not being used.
  93. Reach out to authors and people of interest to speak to your class
  94. Give students tasks that keep them moving, like a Carousel Brainstorm activity!
  95. Proudly display exemplary student work in your digital or in-person classroom
  96. Celebrate differences and uniqueness among your students
  97. Find and read a book that’s been turned into a movie then critique the differences
  98. Play pictionary when learning new vocabulary
  99. Visit your dollar store for fun prizes to create a grab-bag
  100. Give students additional time to work on closing gaps. If you have Classworks, your students already have learning paths based on their most current assessment and progress monitoring data.


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