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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sparking Student Motivation {Reading Goals}

Can you hear that?  It is the sound of reality settling in!!  This is my last weekend of summer before it is officially back to school time:(  Even with the disappointment of summer coming to an end, this is still my favorite time of the year overall!  I love fall weather, football, the "newness" of a new school year, and I love, LOVE schedules!  I function so much better on a schedule! After about three weeks on summer vacation, I am so ready to be back on a regular routine. :)

Today I am linking up with my dear friend, Joanne, at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Sparking Student Motivation Saturdays!
Two weeks ago, I blogged about using Accelerated Reader (AR) to track students' points and individual goals to provide motivation for independent reading.  You can see that post here.  There was a lot of great dialogue and I had some amazing pointers from Alison at Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin' and Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings especially! Thank you ladies for taking the time to share your thoughts and suggestions.  This is just another example of I love the blogging community!

With my owl theme, I asked readers to comment on some catchy phrases for an owl themed classroom display for AR point goals.  I had some awesome suggestions and have been working in my room this past week getting things ready (students start September 5th!).  I can basically devote my whole room to ELA this year since I am teaching three 80 minute blocks of 4th grade ELA, so I decided to use two areas of the classroom to display independent reading successes for motivation.  The first area is the "owl tree".  I bought this tree online because I just am not crafty enough to make my own tree!  

I cannot draw or create life like displays to save my life.  I do like how it looks in the space though and really adds to the cozy feel of my library.  I took a variation of Stephanie's (from Polka Dot Palace) suggestions for an owl themed title.  Thank you Stephanie!  Here is the tree displayed in my room. :)  The little blue slice at the bottom of the tree is the top of a "husband pillow".  The letters for these displays were cut on my Cricut.  I used the "Ashlyn" cartridge (Base Shadow setting at 3.5"). 
The tree has little owls placed in spaces going up the tree at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of goal met (each owl is larger than the previous one).  Here is a closeup of the 100% owl:

I am going to use the points goal set by AR for each individual student and place these little owls with student names on them as they reach each percentage of their goal (based on the STAR test) for the quarter.  These little owl tags are just a couple inches high and will be "flying" around the tree in the space for the % of goal met.  I plan to also let students set their own goal (suggested by a reader) because I think most students can exceed the AR goal set by STAR.

Our tech guy set up the individual quarters in AR per my request because last year only the full school year was set.  I am so excited to see how this motivational strategy works out!

I also set up this display as a number of books read "club".  
There is space for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 books read to start.  If students start to exceed 60 (I will encourage them to do so!), then I will add more "clubs".  I am only allowing chapter books read (at the students' individual levels)  to count toward the totals and will add student names to the papers somehow as they move through the clubs.  Don't you love the title for this area?  This suggestion came from Joanne herself (your host of this linky)!!  I am thinking about using Fridays to update our clubs since they are pretty high up (close to the ceiling) and then have some kind of class celebration complete with "Hoot Hoots" for each new name added!!  Doesn't that sound fun?

I will be updating readers throughout the year about how these areas are working in my classes.  I am optimistic about these motivational displays!  My room isn't quite ready to share completely, but I will be posting more pictures in the next week. :)  Did you see a glimpse of my owl book bin labels?  They are on sale at 20% in my TPT store now through Labor Day for those of you still getting your classroom ready!  I have four other designs available on sale too including Bright Chevron, Bright Polka Dots, Zebra Print, and Superhero theme!  The Owl "CAFE" letters are a freebie in my store.

Check back at Head Over Heels for Teaching for some more motivational strategies!

Also, stop over and checkout the amazing giveaway (Day 1) by Fifth in the Middle and Where the Wild Things Learn!


  1. I LOVE your tree and owls! How cute!! I need to get something going for my AR goals too- my kids keep asking. It's just one more thing on my list! Ack!
    ideas by jivey
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  2. I'm so excited you liked my title!!! :O) You know how I say whoop whoop? That's how I came up with your owl title! heehee! Your colorful and exciting goals for AR are guaranteed to get your students motivated about reading! (Your room looks great!) Reading Counts just started yesterday for our school(they have to wait until after the 9 day count) and my class is already going crazy! I love the build up before it officially opens! I know AR and Reading Counts have the same concept just different point systems, but I offer no homework for the rest of the year if they reach 500 points. I've only had 4 achieve it in the past few years, but some were very close. It usually takes most of the year to get to that goal, and I figure if they have earned 500 points they probably don't need homework! I'd rather them read! :) This incentive really gets them excited! Thanks for sharing and linking up friend!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. I love your tree! It looks fantastic, and what a fun way to encourage those who might not love to read, but are competitive by nature!

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
    Find me on Facebook

  4. I love your AR tree Holly! It turned out so cute!! I also like the idea of the "books read" banner. What a great motivational tool!!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  5. Oh my gosh! This is all adorable!! I love all of it, and not just because my theme is owls!

    Our principal has forbidden us to use the STAR test and she really wants people to stop using AR. Long story. I can explain more via email.

    But everything is absolutely adorable!
    Collaboration Cuties

  6. Oh gosh I love the readers club wall!! Such an awesome idea.
    The E-Z Class

  7. Thanks Holly for the shout out! I LOVE the tree! Your kids are going to FLY through their A.R. points...I just know it. My kids are chomping at the bit for A.R. to start next week. I'll have to tell you how much the highest points are by the end of the week. I'm sure it will blow both of us away. I love the section for how many books have been read too. I might need to do that this year also.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  8. Love your owls! I have an owl theme in my room as well. I just might steal your "HOOT HOOT" quote idea :)

    Adventures in Multigrade