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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Student Motivation Saturday Snapshots!!!

Happy Saturday!!  I am loving that I have had the chance to get some work done today.  I set the alarm for 5:00 (since there was NO way I could have been productive Friday night) and I worked on some schoolwork and updating TpT products until the kids were up at 6:30.  Then, the hubbie took my daughter with son in tow to gymnastics so I could go to karate class!  It has been pouring rain all day, so that has been perfect for a "work" day! :)
I am linking up with my BBB, Joanne, at Head Over Heels for Teaching with a quick student motivation strategy and with Run! Mrs. Nelson's Got the Camera to share some shots of my week!
Remember our team Homework Stars board?  It has been working great to keep track of students who owe work but we have a pretty tough group of kiddos in respect to getting their work done.  I have been giving barely any homework.  Except for reading 15 minutes a night, the students have had five homework assignments in 12 days of school.  Well, it is still the beginning of school and I am hopeful that the students will start to catch on quickly!  

Anyway, I stayed after school with my first student on Wednesday for my after school help "club".  By the second week of school, I always find one or two students that I know it is next to impossible to get any work done at home.  My heart just aches for them.  I talk to them about staying after school with me for help and in my six years in 4th grade, so far I have not had one student who said they didn't want to stay.  They actually seem relieved when I ask them to stay.  They look forward to it (really!).  

I think the key is that I only have my one to four neediest students stay after.  They get a lot of attention from me and for working hard, we always have a special snack. :)  This is so different from when I taught 6th grade.  We had after school help 2x a week and any student who owed work had to stay after.  That usually meant there were 15-20 students in one room and the teacher ran around for that hour helping as many students as possible.  Not fun!  

Now, in 4th grade I sit at a table with my little peeps and we get a lot of work done and, of course, they get my undivided attention.  When I walked out to the late bus with my student on Thursday he turned to look at me and said in the sweetest voice, "Thank you Mrs. Snyder."  It just made me melt because this was the one student that I was most worried about behavior wise this year.  We all know that there is something about students being motivated to please their teachers (even the tough students) when they know their teachers will go the extra mile and show they care.  We can do this in many ways and staying after school is a great example!  If your district allows you to stay after and help students, it is a wonderful way to build relationships and motivate those tough students!  

Next, here are some snapshots from the week:

 Students started decorating the covers of their writing journals.  I send my handout home with decorations for bringing in items and also give class time to look for magazines pictures.  Their journal cover is supposed to be a representation of themselves.  
You can download my editable "Decorate Your Writing Journal" handout here for free.

We took notes on "restating the question".  This is an important skill and we start with easy sentences.  We are reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and this week explored some vocabulary from the first few chapters.  The students glued this worksheet with definitions in their journals and drew an illustration of the word as well as used it in a sentence (encouraging the use of context clues when writing sentences!).

You MAY just recognize this sentence glued in the journal above!  For this second full week of school, we started using Mentor Sentences by Ideas by Jivey!!  I am already in LOVE!  I can tell that this way of teaching grammar is going to be the best change I have made yet in my ELA instruction.  We are using the back of our writing journal for mentor sentences and students started this table of contents in their journals.  Check back on Thursday to read more about how I am implementing this amazing product in my classroom!
We started our Read to Someone training this week and the students are doing great during Read to Self.  Right now, everything is done together as a whole class until we really get it mastered. :)
What's this?  I found these laying on my desk Thursday morning...yep! THREE more iPads (in addition to my lonely one last year!).  Of course, I am thrilled!! My class sizes are small this year (15-16) and I have four sets of desks set up.  Since I have four iPads, I can easily use them for group work in addition to the independent work at work on writing or word work stations.  Now, I just need to actually take the time to play with them and download the apps I need!
My three year old got this new backpack this week that I ordered from ebay.  He is starting "preschool" at his daycare with another three year old three times a week.  We wanted to make it "official" and searched high and low in the stores for a backpack that he would like.  Of course, we couldn't find one with a firetruck!  So, we ordered this one on ebay and it even has his name embroidered (hard to see in the picture).  Anyway, he wore this backpack for TWO days straight!  He wore it all day outside playing, at lunchtime, and at naptime.  So cute!!
Have a great weekend everyone!  


  1. Your son is adorable...how sweet that he loves his backpack.

    I love the story about your student. It is so true that our students need to know how much we care of them. I wish our school offered a late bus where we could keep kiddos after school. Unfortunately that isn't an option so I end up having a lunch date with them to help them catch up.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
    Find me on Facebook

  2. Look how cute your son is! I want to squeeze his cute little cheeks! How exciting that you got more iPads! I'm jealous of your student numbers! You are amazing that you take the time to stay after for your kiddos. I love you even more after reading this!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I'm pretending to NOT be jealous of your i pads (you'll have to read my post today)! I wish we had a late bus - I'd gladly stay late, but there'd be no way for the kiddos to get home, and we're not allowed to drive anyone anywhere. As usual, you ROCK!

  4. Gah, I am so jealous of all these people with ipads!!! We don't have wireless access in our rooms, so they'd only be good to use with apps that don't need the internet. Our school just doesn't feel like it's worth it yet I guess. Maybe one day!! Thanks for the mentor sentence shout-out! :) xoxo

  5. Those pictures of your son are adorable!

    You are so wonderful to take the time to help the kids that really need it.

    Today I was shopping for some kind of rack to store my 3 iPads - still looking. I'm hoping to find some sort of wooden dish display rack to use. What to do you use for storage?

    Learning in the Little Apple

  6. Your son is precious. I love your writing journals. I've been meaning to let my students decorate their journals. You are so kind to stay after school for homework time/club. You are so dedicated.

  7. Congrats on the iPads. Have fun with them.

    I love the idea of decorating the writing journals. I can remember doing that in high school.

    Digital: Divide & Conquer

  8. Your students are so lucky to have such a caring teacher like you! I love that they want to stay after school with you-they really appreciate that extra time with their favorite teacher Mrs. Snyder! :O) And, you're right, they'll do backflips for you if they know you care! Your son...PRECIOUS!
    Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching