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## How Do You Motivate Students to Learn Their Math Facts?

I am trying something new this year to help motivate students to learn their math facts.  I heard about doing Math Wars from another math coach.  Each class will give themselves a name for a team.  The team could even be alliterated for more fun.  For example, Mr. Bowers Brains or Ms. Elwick’s Elephants.  Having the students take ownership in what they name themselves promotes more motivation to work towards the goal of learning their facts.

For trophies I tried to think of something that would reflect the idea of math and that I could spray paint gold.  After brainstorming with several colleagues, someone suggested an abacus.  So now I have the GOLDEN ABACUS (angels singing in the background).   The golden abacus will be traveling to the winning classes and will go to follow the next champion.  I bought several abacuses so that each winning class could have an abacus for each WAR.

## Cute Hollywood Stars Boulevard Bulletin Board!

Brainstorming about a way to honor our proficient and advanced students from last year’s state testing, our leadership team developed the following idea.  We decided to take each child’s picture and place the child on a Hollywood square with a golden star.  To evoke the feeling of walking in Hollywood with the stars’ squares, we had each child hand print the square with gold paint and a golden signature.  Parents, teachers, and children alike are all complimenting the wall.  Everyone has been stopping to gaze at the wall and find their child, student, or themselves.    We are so proud of the positive attention it is getting and the motivation it is providing.  The bulletin board simply says “school’s name wall of fame”.  The bulletin board has some simple stars on it and a red carpet we made from bulletin board paper.  There are pictures to follow that show our final product.  This would be a great way to motivate students towards any goal.

## Use This Festive Tool to Motivate Students Toward Goals

Are your students working towards mastery of their multiplication facts?  their AR goal? or maybe some other goal? When your students in class are working towards a goal, use a string of large C9 Christmas lights to represent each child.  Label student names on each bulb with a Sharpie marker.  Unscrew the bulb so that it won’t light up until the child has reached the goal.  When a child reaches his/her goal, then screw in the bulb so that it lights up.  Eventually the whole string will be lit when all of the children reach their goals!

## Build a Classroom Economy to Teach Responsibility

I learned this valuable classroom advice from a former colleague who learned it from her master teacher.  Set up your classroom using Bonus Bucks.  Bonus Bucks are the size of Monopoly money in the denominations of \$1, \$5, \$10, and \$20 bills.  Bonus Bucks can be earned from rewards of good behavior, classroom jobs, turning in homework etc.  Students must be responsible enough to save money for paying desk rent at the end of the month.  The rent is equal to the number of days in school for that month.  So, for most months the rent would be about \$20.  Students are required to pay for privileges such as getting a drink of water, going to the bathroom, getting a new sharpened pencil, extra recess, trips to the treasure box, etc.  Students may also be fined as a consequence for bad behavior.  If students don’t have enough money at the end of the month to pay for rent, they must be in debt and find a way to work it off such as picking up trash, or helping the teacher, etc.  Students learn the importance of saving their money and some bring in their own wallet to keep their Bonus Bucks in.

If you would like to purchase the Bonus Bucks Classroom Economy System, I have placed Bonus Bucks, a parent letter, a cooperative Bonus Buck, classroom job tags, and directions for using Bonus Bucks in your classroom on Teacher’s Pay Teachers. Click the image below to see more.

## Are Your Students Bored with Stickers and Stamps…Try Smellys

To reward your students, try smellys.  Students love smellys.  Smellys are when you put a happy face on the back of a child’s hand using scented chapstick or the like. If you have several flavors of chapstick, students will want all of the flavors on their hand. For example, if you have banana, cherry, and chocolate, students could progressively gain all of the scents during a day for their good behavior to accumulate the scent of a banana split.

## How Do You Foster a Positive Learning Environment? Part 2

Procedures are the expectations you have for the way your classroom runs.  If you have vague procedures, then you will not have the results you desire.  For example, if you want your students to quietly put their papers in the paper tray when they finish their work, you must first consider the other problems that may occur.  Students may stand around the paper tray and talk.  They may rush to shuffle their papers in the tray in differing directions, or they may elbow one another when they turn their papers in because they are in a hurry.  Discuss these potential problems with your students, and ask students how this could cause problems…even model the wrong way to act.  Then tell students your expectations and how you want them to act.  Model how to walk to the paper tray, how to place the paper in the tray, what to do when there is more than one person at the tray, and how to leave the paper tray after the they have turned the paper in.  Being specific about what you expect and reinforcing your expectations will yield a well-managed, positive, classroom environment.