Education Week's Debbie Viadero has written yet another story related to student motivation--this time about class size. According to the article, a study released at the AERA conference has found that smaller classes help students stay on task. This seems sort of obvious, as I've mentioned before, but there are a couple of interesting points she makes that I think are worth noting. The first is that teachers with smaller classes aren't really taking advantage of smaller classes to teach in a more collaborative way. That means that the increased level of attention in students is not coming from a ...


Here is a fantastic talk given by author Dave Eggers about starting 826 Valencia--a combination Publishing Headquarters/Writing and Tutoring Center/Pirate Supply Store. It's a little long (~25 minutes), but it's a great example of how to make learning fun and how teachers, schools, and communities can work together to motivate students. Seriously. Check it out....


We've talked before about students underperforming because of gender stereotypes, but Education Week's Lesli Maxwell has a story up on gifted students underperforming due to racial stereotypes. Gifted black students often feel pressured to "act black," says the story, which students define as "being laid-back, being dumb or uneducated, and pretending not to be smart." This study points to a disconnect between students' schools and their communities. If being educated is considered "white," then studying and acting smart may make black gifted students feel that they are rejecting their black identity. Perhaps this choice could be assuaged if curricula was ...


For those of you who are really into student motivation (as I assume most of you are), I highly suggest that you set aside a good couple of hours to explore all the online features of this month's issue of Educational Leadership. And once you've read through all that, you should get your hands on a physical copy of the magazine and read the rest of the articles. Because--I am not joking--all of the articles in this issue are about student motivation. There are articles about motivating kids to read, motivating kids with technology, how to keep the "flame of ...


Middle school can be rough. It's a weird, in-between, awkward time for most pre-teens, and it also lays the framework for how well a student will progress academically in high school. Educators have given the early and upper grades increased attention, but not much is known about how to motivate students in the unique set of circumstances that is middle school. Education Week reporter Kathleen Kennedy Manzo takes an in-depth look at that particular issue in this article. Here's an excerpt: More than a decade after a prominent group of middle-grades reformers set out to infuse higher academic standards into ...


This past Sunday, I had dinner with a friend of mine I hadn't seen in quite awhile. We used to hang out every couple of weeks or so, but lately it's been more like every few months. The reason can be described in two words: law school. Luckily, he was able to squeeze me in right at the end of his spring break--which he spent writing papers and working on homework--because otherwise, I don't think I would have seen him at all this semester. After all, finals are coming up... in May. "It's time to start studying," he told me. ...


This story in the Rocky Mountain News is about one high school that decided to pay their students to take their state tests in order to increase attendance. Students received about $50 each total, $5 for each test they took and an additional $1 for good behavior. The result? They had almost 100 percent attendance. At least as interesting as the story is the comments left at the end. The general consensus from commenters seems to be that giving incentives to take tests is a bad idea. There are a lot of interesting ideas down there, before the comments begin ...


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