Elementary Educators/Motivation


What is the best way to motivate third grade students to learn?

Hi Robin!
  In my experience of teaching third, fourth, and even fifth graders, I've learned that the best way to motivate them to learn is through praise. Obviously, you can only do so much when it comes to motivation, but a little (or a lot# of praise can go a long way.
 In my classroom, I tried various things to motivate my students. One thing that was super inexpensive, but a lot of fun, was my Staples Easy Button #from the office store- Staples#. You can use it in a variety of ways, but I used it with learning. When someone got a 100% on an assignment, when I passed back their paper, they got to come up and hit the easy button #they loved this#. The whole class cheered for them after the "That was easy!" was announced on the button.
  I didn't want to only leave it for kids who scored 100% because for me, it was having the motivation and drive that mattered more than a score. So when I had someone achieve something that might not have been awesome for everyone, for that particular kid, they got to hit the Easy Button.
  Another great thing that I used for motivating my kids for doing their homework was playing Homeworkopoly each week. You can Google Homeworkopoly and should find it. We played every Friday, and the kids had to submit their homework every day in order to play each week. Some weeks were off weeks for the kids, but when they saw that the game continued, and saw the other kids having fun, it usually motivated them to do their homework the following week.
  My classroom was always a positive place to learn. I allowed my students a lot of freedom, with the understanding that misuse of that freedom would result in their choices being made by me. I let them read anywhere they liked #as long as they were reading and not playing or talking#, they could get up and take a lap around the classroom if they felt restless or antsy. I wanted them to make choices for themselves, and to understand the consequences of their actions.
  I posted their work around the classroom, in the halls, and on my website. They loved seeing their work used as an example for others, so I had a special box that I kept. Anytime someone did something really amazing, I would ask if I could keep it to show my future students. They loved this.
The last thing I'll share is that I participated in a program called Mastery Club. This is by far, the easiest way to motivate kids to go beyond general learning and shoot for the stars. I am attaching a link to my website where you can see how it worked: http://steveandcat.net/mrswalker/scholarly_students.htm

    I think the key to anything is consistency. I'd also suggest that if you think your students are unmotivated, take the time to ask them what would motivate them. They'll be more willing to share than you might expect. If things aren't working mid-year, don't keep doing it because it's too easy to continue, take the time to change it up.

    Best wishes and please let me know if you have further questions about anything!!

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Cathy Walker


I can answer questions about classroom management, lesson planning ideas, organization, motivation, and mentoring new teachers. I can also answer questions about curriculum for grades 3-5 and how to prepare students for middle school issues. I'm also able to answer questions about dealing with parents and how to work together. I can also help with learning how to work on professional learning teams and working with other teachers. I'm able to help with technology in the classroom as well. I can also answer questions about student teaching. I can also answer questions about year round schooling.


I have ten years of teaching experience and have served on numerous committees. I've been grade chair, and committee chair for several committees. I've been a member of the PTA for ten years and I enjoy working with parents. I have had several student teachers and enjoy sharing my classroom with others. I taught in a year round school in North Carolina for three years.

BS Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University MAEd K12 Curriculum and Instruction MAEd Administration and Supervision Wake County Public Schools Mentor (I've been a mentor to three teachers) Cooperating Teacher through Eastern Michigan University Scholatic Teacher Advisor (2010-2012) I have my own website with teaching ideas and examples of things I do in my own classroom (www.steveandcat.net/mrswalker)

Awards and Honors
Teacher of the Year for Oak Grove Elementary Semi-Finalist for Wake County Teacher of the Year Numerous website awards Selected as one of fifteen teachers across the U.S. as a Scholastic Teacher Advisor

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