Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Inspiring your students

We as teachers have a huge impact in our students' lives. We teach them, we listen to them, we nurture them, and we inspire them. Our students often come to use unmotivated...unmotivated to do their homework, unmotivated to study for tests, unmotivated to do their best.

So how do we inspire our students?

TEN different ways to inspire and motivate your students. Turn your classroom into a place of inspiration and motivation...inspiring them to be the best that they can be.

Author and speaker Zig Ziglar says, "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing -- that's why we recommend it daily."

Here are some different ways we as teachers can motivate our students. Hopefully you can find at least one new way to motivate your students!

1. My number one way for inspiring students is let them know you value them as a person, not as number for your testing data. Ask them questions about themselves. Notice things about them....even if it seems little to you it may not be little to them. I'll never forget a student that I had in 5th grade, the year I did student teaching. We didn't know it at the time, but his mom was very sick. He would often forgo showering so that his mom could use the soap and shampoo and be clean when she went to the doctor. One day I had talked to him and just placed my hand on his shoulder. I don't even remember what I said. But he told my mentor teacher that that had meant the world to them...that he knew I cared about him. Sometimes it's the little things.

2. Talk less. You know how you go to teacher inservice meetings and are bored to tears because the presenter just stands up there talking? The. Whole. Time. And you're so bored that you could scream? That's what happens to our students. Let them talk and discuss and share with their peers. Discussing things gets you to think about what you feel and think.

3. Create an inspiration board. Include inspirational posters that you have found and have your students bring in quotes, photos, etc. that motivate and inspire them. One of the teachers in my school has an inspiration board when you first walk in her classroom, and I just love it.

4. Do a "Quote of the Week" or "Quote of the Day" in your classroom. Throughout the week talk about the quote...what it means to you and how it inspires you. Use the quote to spark a great discussion.

5. Using quotes from famous people, have your students research the famous person. Why do they think this person wrote that quote? What do you think it meant to them?

6. Create a mini book or such on inspirational quotes. Introduce new quotes and have your students write and illustrate them in their mini book.

7. Talk about your own learning. I am always striving to learn new things. Whether it be about a place I am traveling to, learning how to cook new foods, learning a new skill or hobby, etc. I LOVE to travel, and I LOVE to talk about the places I've traveled to. Traveling to new places always inspires me to learn more about that place. I traveled to Auschwitz and Birkenau and couldn't wait to learn more about it. Your students will see and feel your passion and will be changed because of it.

8. Have you heard about Growth Mindset? It's a way to get your students thinking differently. I love it. It really does get your students to think and reflect...and to not give up when the going gets tough. It's a whole new way of thinking. It not only helps them think about the current task but also will help them in their future. Here's a poster to share what it's all about.

TEN different ways to inspire and motivate your students. Turn your classroom into a place of inspiration and motivation...inspiring them to be the best that they can be.

I LOVE this "not yet" concept in this video. I am definitely going to teach my students NOT YET next year!


If you're looking for more Fixed vs. Growth Mindset activities, I have a set Growth vs. Fixed Mindset sort cards and wall display cards for your bulletin board. Give them the yellow word sort cards and have them sort or categorize them into fixed or growth statements. Then you can use the red fixed (red for STOP) and green growth (green for GROWTH or GO) cards for a bulletin in your classroom to remind students the difference between growth and fixed mindset statements.


TEN different ways to inspire and motivate your students. Turn your classroom into a place of inspiration and motivation...inspiring them to be the best that they can be.

9. Set high expectations for your students. Yes, I know all your students are not ready for what we have to teach them. Believe me, I know. But we have to believe in our students and believe that they can achieve it. If we don't believe in them, who will? Larry Bell wrote an article about this in Education World. I like his ideas. You can read it HERE.

10. Hang inspirational quotes and pictures in your classroom. Quotes and photographs can help trigger two things in our minds. When you pair a quote with a photograph it helps reach more than one place in the brain. I myself am a visual learner so seeing a picture or photograph really helps it sink in. 


TEN different ways to inspire and motivate your students. Turn your classroom into a place of inspiration and motivation...inspiring them to be the best that they can be.


How do you inspire your students? If you have an idea that I haven't shared, I would love to know what it is!



Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

End of Year Activities

The testing season is over. No more cramming for THE big test.

Now what?

It's the end of the year, and you've still got to teach the kiddos and keep them thinking, learning, and creating.

I have put together this list of fun and engaging activities for the end of the year.

It's the end of the school year, and you need some new ideas for your classroom so you don't go crazy. Click here for 13 fun and engaging activities that your students will LOVE!


1. Math games - Put all of the main math topics that you've covered this year into a hat. Let each child pick a topic and create a board game on that topic. I have my students create at least 24 question cards (they need to be up to your standards, so you might want to check them after 1 or 2 questions) and a game board. It can be a fun themed game board like the jungle or circus. My students LOVED to make games like this!

2. Fractured fairy tales - Have the students choose a fairy tale. Then they rewrite the fairy tale, making it fractured. Change the characters, the setting, point of view, or plots. I'm sure you've heard of the The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. That's a fractured fairy tale. I did this years ago, and my students loved it! A couple of my students changed the setting to today's time, and they were hilarious. I had them create picture books with their fractured fairy tale and then present it to the class. Great fun!

3. Be the teacher - Brainstorm a list of all the topics that were covered this year. Have students choose one of the topics and create a lesson to teach it to the class. They have to create the lesson and the materials and then present it to the class. Have you ever heard of this before? Pretty profound.

90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.
75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.
20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from lecture.

4. ABC book - Create an ABC book on how to survive the 4th grade (or whatever grade/subject you teach). Come up with something for each letter of the alphabet and then illustrate it.

5. Classroom awards - Instead of buying awards for your students and having to choose them yourself, have your students come up with the awards (all positive of course). They will probably come up with some pretty creative awards, maybe ones you've never heard of. Then either they can vote for each student/award (every student should get one), or they can each choose who gets what and deliver them themselves. Makes it very personal when they do that.

6. Game day - Have your students bring in game boards and have some good game time. Game boards encourage bonding and problem solving. I grew up playing games, and many of our students today don't play games at home. They will love you for it!

7. Scrabble tournament - Put all those learned vocabulary words to good use! Bring in some Scrabble games and have a tournament. 

8. Literature circles and book clubs - Choose some books (4-6 books) and let your students choose a book to read. Students meet up with their book club and discuss the parameters....how many chapters to read, what they are going to discuss, etc. Give them the ownership and let them have fun with it.

9. Brochure - create a brochure for future students on how to survive the 4th grade (or whatever grade/subject you teach). Include what they need to know, what they will learn, tips, and advice.

10. Compliment day - Have students write their name at the top of a piece of paper. Pass the paper to the person next to them. That student starts at the bottom and writes a one line compliment. Encourage them to not focus on physical characteristics. Then they fold up the bottom of the paper, covering their words, and pass the paper to the next students. Another way I've done it is to have my students write all the students' names on a paper. They write a compliment next to each name. Then cut out each line. Call each student's name out and everyone brings them their compliment line. Students glue each compliment line onto a big piece of construction paper. Each student will go home with a page of compliments. What a way to build their self esteem!

11. Class Jeopardy - Create a class Jeopardy game together. Put students into groups, with each group having a different subject area (if you are self-contained). If not give each group a separate topic that was covered this year. Have groups create Jeopardy questions and answers for the class game and input them into a class Jeopardy powerpoint.

12. Reading/Math buddies - Team up with a younger or older class and practice reading or math. If you're an older class, your students can read with the younger ones. Teach your students to ask thinking and metacognition questions. They can even prepare some questions on cards. You can also play math games with the younger classes. Games for math facts would be perfect. Board games would even be great.

13. Memory book - Have your students create an end of year memory book on this school year. It's a great way to reflect on the school year, thinking of everything they have learned, the friends they have made, the accomplishments they have made, and all the wonderful memories. You can create your own, or I have one that you could use too. All you have to do is print and copy! Check it out HERE

It's the end of the school year, and you need some new ideas for your classroom so you don't go crazy. Click here for 13 fun and engaging activities that your students will LOVE!

I hope you have found at least one or two activities that you can use with your kiddos! 

Keep calm. School is almost over!




Visit Southern Fried Teachin''s profile on Pinterest.