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A Holiday Video for You

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Happy Holidays to all Motivation Matters readers! Now that you have completely exhausted yourself getting packages out to all your family and friends, we hope the holiday break re-energizes you to seek out new and better ways to motivate students and educators to improve schools.

We would like to leave you with a video we found on YouTube showcasing an elementary student's classroom presentation of a pop-up Christmas card. This boy was obviously motivated to do this school assignment. Check out the video here:

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Watching this child's video and homemade card for an e-buddy reminds me of why I made education my career: students bring such joy to our lives and motivate us to be better people.

I have taught middle school for thirty years and at university full-time for another four in a teacher-education program in a state university--and what keeps pulling me in--is wanting to be around so much energy and so much (sometimes untapped) talent. If teachers were to teach from the heart AND mind, remembering WHY we wanted to be teachers in the first place, our learners would be smack at the CENTER of our efforts. Over the years my students have reinforced my efforts to find out what they know and to facilitate their learnings further, bringing along their experiences, knowledge, cultures, interests, and then talking through our processes. Finding the unmined gems within each learner, pre-k through adult, through the bits and pieces we have collaged into our own teaching models--Nancy Atwell, Piaget, Donald Graves, Vygotsky AND thinking about the ways we learn ourselves---makes the best working motivational model. We need to keep the joy!

I have retired from full-time teaching, but have just written a book proposal for a text about motivating young adolescent writers. I have no idea how long it will take to hear if the project is a go, but I am reading, writing, reflecting, reading some more, talking with peers, spending time in classrooms working with teachers and writing across the content areas--and remembering students such as the youngster in the YouTube video, who continue to inspire me.

What motivates YOU to write? Or to learn? I find it very meaningful for me to remember myself as a middle school/then junior high student and to continue to observe and learn from students over time. We teach children and young adults, not just the subjects!

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