25 Ways to Motivate Students

February 2, 2024

During the school year, we hear the challenge teachers face to keep students motivated and engaged. No matter how compelling the lessons are, sometimes young minds have a mind of their own.

You’ve shared the creative and innovative ways you’re lighting a fire under your students. We’ve compiled them here for you and added a few of our own!

Here are 25 ways to motivate your students.

Fun Motivations

  1. Positive feedback! A trick as old as time, but it is still true in our hearts. Try to use more specific phrases instead of “Good job.”
  2. Peer-to-peer feedback. Allow students the space to offer acknowledgment to and from peers to create a positive work environment. 
  3. A simple reward system. Set parameters for a challenging but attainable goal. Contact local businesses and ask for donations. 
  4. Silly sock day - show off those vibrant feet without too much distraction
  5. Wear your favorite clothes day. Reward kids for their hard work and accomplishments while having them feel proud in their spiffy outfit
  6. In the spring, host an All-Star Contest! Celebrate students who are the highest performing students in Classworks.  
  7. Create a classroom playlist. Work with the students to compile songs that correspond with the energy you need them to display. By having them help choose the music, they’ll focus where need be and be more hyped when appropriate. 
  8. Lunch with a teacher. This is an extra special reward for students who need the extra nudge. Bonus: you get to know your student a little more 1:1
  9. Have students nominate a star worker for the week. Did someone overcome a challenge? Did someone help others with a difficult task? This will encourage intrinsic motivation and offer a lesson on democracy. 
  10. Take stock of what brings classroom joy. Surprise students with a reward after a hard day of work. Perhaps some free time or drawing? 
  11. Have a Classworks bulletin board highlighting student achievements for all to see.
  12. Contact guardians to let them know their child shined. Using your communication of choice, highlight a student's success with a quick note of admiration. 
  13. Theme days, similar to show and tell, but focused on something they are currently learning. This encourages a deeper understanding and interpretation of the class curriculum while having an extra dose of fun.
  14. Recognize and reward success as students close gaps and make gains inside Classworks. Highlighting 10, 20, 30%, or more growth is worth celebrating! 
  15. Inspiring workspaces. Have students create the workspaces that are most conducive to learning for them. No doubt, this is the vibe we all want while working! 
  16. Shout out your students’ badges and recognitions in Classworks. They receive these rewards by working on time and achievement. Encourage them to show off their badges with each other.
  17. Friendly competition. For the more mundane tasks, have students compete against one another to liven up the task, make it more fun, and still get the job done. 
  18. Remind the students of the “Why.” As a motivation tip for all ages, discuss why we’re doing the hard work and acknowledge what we’re working toward. 
  19. Game day. Once the class has reached a goal, allow time for students to play their favorite board games with their peers. This is excellent practice for directions, teamwork, and teaching.
  20. A certificate of achievement. A printed award to hang on the refrigerator signifies a job well done! Check out these easy-to-print ones Classworks offers. 
  21. Encourage autonomy with students rewarding themselves. Set a daily goal with a student, and once achieved, allow them to pick what they do next.  
  22. A pick-me-up bucket. Work with the class to write motivational notes and phrases and put them all in a bucket. When motivation is low, students (and you!) can pick one to read and feel inspired. 
  23. Let students set personal or academic goals and then offer support to keep the momentum going.
  24. Go, get your move on! Break and gauge the workload and energy level. Let students stretch, move, and shake to get the blood flowing and finish the task.
  25. Let your students choose a reward. Dress up in your Halloween costume in February? Let the kids show their creativity and have the autonomy to decide what they want to work towards. 

Are you looking for even more tips for student motivation? Check out this blog post. Also, be sure to check out our updated bulletin board kit options to add some flair to your classroom.

‍Contact us for more information about supporting your tiered intervention strategies, or reach out using the live chat button on the bottom right of your screen.

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