Monday, July 3, 2017

Blended Week Five: Motivate the Students

How important do you think it is to design school so that students are motivated to learn and find learning enjoyable? What are some experiences that could help your students feel successful and have fun with their friends? Some of these may be similar to or the same as those utilized by Summit Public School.

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Next week we will read and discuss chapter 6, "Elevate Teaching."

393 comments:

  1. This chapter focuses in on the importance of student willingness to learn. As a special educator, I see students struggle daily in being motivated to learn. I do feel that we as educators need to identify things that matter to students because this will definitely encourage students to come to school motivated and excited to learn!

    The authors mentioned that it is necessary to identify the job and then find a way to help people do the job more effectively, effortlessly, swiftly, and affordably. The authors gave a good comparison between the workplace and school. Businesses in the workplace have difficulty motivating their employees to take care of their health just as teachers are challenged daily to motivate students to learn.

    When looking at this chapter, I found that I agreed the most with the authors when they emphasized the key to motivating students to learn. The authors stated on page 143, "The key is to crawl into the learners' skin and see their circumstances-including their anxieties, immediate problems, and innate motivations-from their point of view." I believe this is so true as a special educator! I feel it is really valuable to connect with students on a daily basis. Building relationships is key to success in school and outside of school! I agree with the authors in that students really want to feel successful, and they want to have fun with friends at school. Educators have a challenging but rewarding job daily. Educators really do have to take on many different roles in the classroom to encourage student motivation. Building confidence in students is just as important as building relationships. Giving student feedback is also an essential part of the learning process.

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    1. I completely agree with you that we as teachers have to form good relationships with our students so they can be successful in school. This also builds trust. I also have a special education background, but right now teach in a second grade classroom. You make a huge impact on your students. I'm sure many days can be challenging, but forming those relationships is key. Keep loving on your kids, they are lucky to have you!

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    2. Above all teaching is about relationships. We can only know how to help them if we take the time to know them. Students can only know where they went wrong if we quickly provide feedback. A mark on the paper is not sufficient feedback. Giving detail takes more time, but it is more valuable and more appreciated by the students. I try to keep my comments positive so they are not discouraged.
      Kelly G. Thank you for all you and the other special services teachers do.

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    3. I truly understand the trouble of a special educator in getting our students motivated to learn. I struggle in a daily basis because many of my students have been unsuccessful in the past and a reluctant to try to change this in their own mind. The quote on page 143 is one that I had highlighted as well. It made me think more and more about what I can do as a teacher to encourage them and motivate them for learning success. I do everyday try to be at the door to greet them each day. I want each student to see I am glad to see them, try to make the day start off positive and hope to set the day on a good note to everyone. Since I am I the functional/life skills class, my exposure to the general student population is limited but I also try to be visible in the hallways during passing periods to speak to other students and hope to brighten their day as well.

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    4. If students aren't motivated to learn and don't enjoy school, they will not learn. A teacher's job is to motivate students to want to learn. I am many of the students' first teacher in the elementary school. If I make it a bad experience for them or make a student feel that they aren't capable of learning, I am setting them up to fail. Teachers have such a strong influence on a child's life

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    5. I completely agree! You have to have your students motivated to learn! I always tease that we are just as much entertainers as teachers sometimes because we have to find ways to keep the students interested in what we are doing!!! I want my students to find enjoyment in my class. I do tell them that they may not like everything that we do, but I want them to try their best to find something they like! I also think the students need to feel as though what they are learning is important to their lives.

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    6. For the first 12 years of teaching I myself was a special education teacher and enjoyed having the opportunity to form a better relationship pass the traditional teacher/student relationship. This past year I was general education teacher and really missed out on that aspect of student/teacher relationship. As a special educator, I enjoyed being able to feel that I could motivate my students more and address their individual needs more than a general education teacher. However, after reading this chapter, I realized that I need to take more time and spend on my students and address them and create an atmosphere that matters to them.

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  2. Student willingness to learn is critical to the learning process. As a 6th grade teacher, I see engagement as the single most important component. This starts with the relationship of the student and teacher, as well as student-to-student relationship. I have seen a major shift in the past decade within the classroom to provide more opportunity for student collaboration and learning and less focus on teacher-driven lectures with individual "practice" of a skill.

    I have used various platforms to allow for student collaboration (Canvas, Google apps, Padlet.com, etc.), and I have seen student engagement increase when they are given a specific task, solid resources, and the opportunity to work with others. Do my students sometimes get off-task? Yes. That said, I feel there is more engagement and completion of tasks when students have the opportunity to collaborate. Engagement definitely increases during these tasks.

    I think that is one element of blended learning that concerns me: independent work to achieve mastery of standards. My school corporation has used two online learning platforms, and this year we will attempt a third. These programs have not been especially motivating to the majority of my students. I see engagement decline, as many students get distracted and engage in other activities as an escape from the online learning. Perhaps it is the platform itself, and our new program will be more engaging. I can hope! I am hoping, too, that as we continue with our reading that this is addressed and suggestions will be offered. I absolutely see the value in programs that promote learning and provide immediate feedback. In addition, more time for 1:1 or small group instruction is certainly needed. An interface that could allow for that to occur that is highly engaging would certainly be welcomed in my classroom.

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    1. Our school has started using Canvas and I love it. I am in the process of learning all of the things the Google apps have to offer as well. It is funny how much the students enjoy teaching me how to use Google docs and Google slides. I enjoy having them teach me.
      With Canvas I find I have even more free time during the class period to sit down one on one or in small groups with my students. We work through math problems they struggle with, drawing techniques they struggle with, or parts of the Inventor software they are convinced is haunted. More students are going to the presentations on Canvas before they come to me with questions. They are taking ownership of their learning rather than being teacher dependent. When they cant find what they are looking for they ask a peer then come ask me. If they discover something cool, I project their computer or work on the overhead and have them share out to the others. So much fun!

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    2. I agree that our schools have placed a larger focus on collaborative learning in the past few years. I see the pros/cons of this in my classes. My regular classes tend to handle these project well and like them... it's my AP classes that grumble about having to work with others. They like to have sole control over their work!

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    3. You bring up some very good points in regards to student engagement, Janelle! There are many aspects of blended learning that can provide high levels of engagement for students, but we must also tap into their interests. There are many standards to be taught in Indiana, but flexibility for delivery and resources used to master these standards. Utilizing digital texts that are of high interest to students, incorporating virtual field trips on high interest topics and places, allowing videos and blogs to be outcomes for assignments, and a myriad of other digital opportunities that I am sure exist and I don't even know about them would allow a wide range of students to be successful and highly engaged. You mention the use of a new platform, and I am hopeful it works well for your students this year, but that is just a vehicle for digital learning. The content and expectations that we attach to those vehicles help to motivate our students. Thanks for sharing!

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    4. I really like your thoughts about student engagement. I too feel that students need that interaction with each other just as much as what they learn in class. I worry that the independent learning and focus on technology will lessen that experience too much!

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    5. Janelle I am also a 6th grade teacher. I teach middle school Science. I agree with your opening statement absolutely, "I see engagement as the single most important component. This starts with the relationship of the student and teacher, as well as student-to-student relationship." I noticed when I do as you stated the year runs so much better. I have seen relationship partnershiping decrease behavior problems and increase engagement. I am curios what programs have you utilized since you are now in a 3rd?

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    6. I agree totally with everything you said. I too feel like it is difficult to engage students when there are so many programs thrown at us. It's like we are wondering around in the dark waiting to bump into something that works.
      We've already done the 1:1 transition and are now using something called LSI, which focuses on collaboration and lots of other stuff that's just busy work but many students engage when there is collaboration. My problem as an 8th grade teacher is there are always those who refuse to engage and are content to slide by and take a grade someone else earns. LSI wants us to walk around making tick marks in some program for each student as we walk around. With 34 kids in a room, that's difficult to do. I usually like to focus on holding each other accountable when we first start group work and rely on students to turn in students who are not pulling their weight. Another obstacle is the kids who are not at school on a regular basis. They miss out on crucial group engagement activities and it is hard to get them caught up and is unfair on their group mates. Engagement is the number one key as we all agree. I guess there are so many battles we fight that hold us back. Anyone have any suggestions on the issues I discussed above, I'm open to how you addressed them.

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  3. I think it is very important to find a way to motivate students in their learning and for them to find it enjoyable. But I also think they need to realize that it involves work and how rewarding it is to accomplish what is set before them. I liked how the first task for blended-learning teams is to understand the student perspective and design student motivation as the main focus. I think that a lot of times we have so much going on as teachers, that sometimes we forget to think about how the students think/feel about what is going on. I do agree that kids want to feel successful. My first graders love learning new things and enjoy starting to do more on their own like in making choices on books they read, programs/apps they work on when they are finished with morning work and AR, etc. They also love to have fun with friends. That is one of the main reasons they look forward to coming to school every day. They have a connection to their school family.
    Not only do we have a lot going on with covering all of the curriculum, assessments, etc. like the book was saying, teachers are responsible for instructing large groups of diverse students and have limited time to work/connect with each student one-on-one. This is where I feel bad when I don't have a lot of time to talk or work with my students one-on-one and they need that so much. I also try to create a safe and positive environment for my students. I agree that once these needs are met that kids are more prepared for learning.
    I like in the Summit's SMART goal that it prepares students for college AND in life. While teaching my students the curriculum, I also try and teach them common sense and common courtesy. Point 5 talked about the importance of giving students quiet time when they can immerse in a book. Once we get going I give my students a set time every day for Quiet Time. I also feel that kids needs this.
    Some of the problems Dr. John Ratey discovered that American adolescents are dealing with are issues we are seeing every day. Kids are tired at school, they are not getting enough exercise and are faced with stressful situations on a daily basis. I agree that giving students a choice and more control helps them with these issues. My students love having the option of what center they work on and with what friends. The students love the centers because they are hands-on and they are able to work while they socialize.

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    1. I love your comment about how students need to realize that learning involves work. It is so funny (and a little sad) when students complain about actually having to do homework. I should remind you I work at a high school. What have they been doing up to this point that they have not had to dedicate time outside of the class period to finish their lessons? Maybe they took classes that were too easy. They also complain about homework for an elective class. I remind them they elected to take the class. Key work being "class". The content is fun, but it still requires them to work.

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    2. I love that you brought out that our students today face so many challenges in their daily lives and keeping them focused in a classroom can be a very difficult task. I try to give the students about 5 minutes every morning to "chill out" before we start into the daily work. My class is unique in the fact that my students ride a special bus (intensive intervention students) come at a different time and we have breakfast in the classroom which is the perfect opportunity to get relaxed before the day begins! I also try to make sure my students get one to one attention from either myself or my instructional assistants. This does allow me to use instruction on an individual basis and to use programs with technology since we are a 1:1 school corporation. I get feedback daily and this allows us to monitor student progress. Using this blended learning is helpful in determining what skills need to be taught in smaller groups or with the whole class.

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    3. I appreciate your thoughts about work and how rewarding it is for students to accomplish something that has been set before them. I believe our school moved to engagement and fun without making sure there was learning and work involved. Students caught on to this. They realized that the expectations were low, and as long as they appeared engaged, very little work was required. After 3 years of this, our 8th grade students are more than ready to move on to the high school, where they believe they will be challenged and required to think and work.

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    4. I also agree with your thoughts that learning requires work. If learning is very easy, then there probably isn't much real thinking or learning taking place - at least at the high school level. Students need to think deeply about the material, question assumptions, and practice skills. I think a good teacher will guide students through the material, and help them to see that through effort and hard work, they can have the successful outcome of learning the material. Persistence is a needed life skill that students can learn while challenging themselves to learn. Jenny, your story makes me sad, but I am not surprised. I think that most people, given the opportunity, will do the least work possible in order to obtain their goals whether that be a grade, a job or anything else, and I can see that if expectations are low, students will fall to the level of the expectations. What is needed is something that is both engaging and challenging for students. And I doubt that there is any one thing that is perfect for all students.

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    5. "Doing School" does take WORK. Sometimes it feels this is the message that many children need to hear. While a child may not feel "school" is their most successful arena, with transparent goals and an understanding that effort can open so many doors in understanding how to "do school", it can shift their mindset as to how they approach school tasks and knowledge consumption. Great point!

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  4. This chapter really hit the nail on the head. Learning is all about student motivation. This is definitely my biggest day-to-day struggle. With the number of students vs I teach in a daily basis, how can I keep them all engaged and interested? I guess you try your hardest and hope most students are on board. I've even seen most students who get involved in a 1:1 school that the technology ends up not being fun after a short period of time because they have to do work on it.

    Motivation is the key to students learning. Everything we try to implement should be with the student interest in mind. We have to also allow for some students to not be fully interested in a topic. We all have our own interests so I feel it's okay if some aren't interested. However, they should still be engaged.
    I love doing project based learning and feel the kids do as well. They get to interact with fellow students, get to use their imagination, and do hands on work. They learn best when they actively do the learning instead of just reading about it listening about something. It's all about active learning.

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    1. I think that your comment about it being about "active learning" is the key.

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    2. I agree that some students become quickly become bored with technology. I'm wondering if students set up their own personal goals and could see their progress if that would help them stay engaged? I think engagement is the biggest challenge- our evaluations reflect whether our students are engaged or not.

      I also love project based learning- when it is something students want to do- they are very motivated.

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    3. Hi there! It seems a few of us incorporate PBL in the classroom. This is definitely a nice blend of learning important curricula as well as giving children the opportunity to empower students and provide them with agency. Summit Schools speak of this as one of their main SMART goals as well (p.148). Additionally, PBL provides children with meaningful work experiences. As they state, “school is better when it feels relevant.” (p.149). While this looks different for different grade levels, relevant learning makes the challenge and end goal transparent. Just as children respond in a more positive manner when we explain why riding a bike without a helmet is dangerous rather than just saying, “because I said so.” The same thing goes with curricular goals. PBL is an opportunity I enjoy using in my classroom with kindergarten students. We have the chance to cover many topics of interest within a unit and they see the importance of their work when they present their findings to their classmates.

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    4. So true, Daneil! This chapter really peaked my interest and I agree with your comment. This makes me want to do project learning all the more for reasons that you mention...especially the whole idea of it giving students ownership of what they learn and choice. I'm curious how you use it?

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    5. Absolutely true! I agree that learning is all about motivating the students. Without them being motivated, I feel all I do is spin around in circles hoping to keep some on task. I am hoping to implement more PBL this year.

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  5. First, looking at the top challenges teachers face that were listed in this chapter it was difficult not to respond with "Well, duh!" I hear teachers complaining about students not getting off of their cell phones for anything. Yup, that does happen. The thing is, you need them to be convinced that what you have to say is more important that what is on their phone for the moment. I do a very dramatic skit on how to turn over my phone so it is face down during the five minutes my teacher is asking for my attention. Students think I'm ridiculous, but then I see them calling each other out on it while I am presenting. Having fun is one of their two major goals and I want to be a part of that goal.
    Page 144 "Factory-type classrooms are structurally incapable of allowing teachers enough time to give all students daily, personal feedback on their progress." Later Page 153 says "After taking assessments, students receive pass/fail feedback, as well as a detailed explanation of their performance." The key lessons to get from these pieces of information is

    Short-cycle feedback loop = student ownership of progress and access to actionable data

    Several times in the past few years I have received many comments on the time I spend writing feedback on student work. I have teachers ask me if I ever go home, and students comment on how quickly they get their work back from me and a grade in the grade book. Students and parents need to know how they are doing with certain concepts as quickly as possible. If they are making errors, it is important for them to see where they are going wrong, how to correct it, and learn from this so they do not repeat the same error in the future
    On page 146 the authors say"...understanding the job - more than understanding the customer - is what matters." I disagree. Both are equally important. Any teacher who has been in the classroom are very much aware that these two goals exist and must be met. We NEED to know our customers so we can provide them with these opportunities.
    I let students have multiple opportunities to do assignments. Our school is always saying "Replace old learning with new learning" and "Grades should reflect what a student knows." It is not fair for me to think students will always understand concepts for engineering the first time around. I quickly grade assignments covering them with feedback and return them. Students know they have the opportunity to try again and re-submit. They can come in during my open lab hours or SRT to get extra help. They can review my presentation and notes on Canvas. They know they are not stuck with that grade. We all make mistakes, but we must learn from them. That is where the success happens
    I think that it is extremely important to design schools that motivate students to learn. We must not forget that teachers can help provide that motivation.

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    1. I whole heartily agreed that we need to know our customers! Our students are with us daily and we need to understand where they are struggling and what we can do to try and help them succeed. Giving our students feedback and finding time to meet with them is important. Motivation is the key and a task that has to be addressed daily.

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    2. I also thought that the job and the customer are equally important.

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    3. I would love to find out more about the skit that you perform! I agree that we need to convince them that what is going on in class has priority over their phone. It all goes back to motivating students.

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  6. I think it is very important to design our school in a way that helps students learn and motivate them to help make learning enjoyable. As a teacher, sometimes I see some of my students come to school not motivated to learn and they don’t want to be there. My job is to make learning fun and make school a safe place for these kids. I get to know my students on a personal level so I can motivate them by doing things they enjoy or incorporate topics into what we are doing that they enjoy to make the learning more fun. At the beginning of the school year, I do a lot of getting to know you activities to form this personal relationship. More and more I see students struggling with many issues at home, which can make school difficult for them because their mind might be focused on the problems that are going on elsewhere. My students are able to trust me with their issues and school is a place where they can have fun with their friends.
    One thing I do in my second grade classroom is an incentive program where my students earn tickets for behavior and coming to school prepared. Some educators disagree with this and don’t want it in their room though. It has worked for my students and it gives my students something to keep them accountable. All of my students have behavior calendars that they keep in their desks and they can earn tickets each day. Some calendars are more detailed than others based on my students and what they need. Then every 6-7 weeks I have my class store. My students can buy privileges with their tickets or other little goodies. One popular privilege that many of my students buy is to stay after to school with me for an hour. They get to go to the teacher’s lounge to make popcorn and get a drink from the vending machine. They think it is fun to see where the teachers eat on a daily basis and also I give them money to count for getting their drink. This is a time for them to have one on one time with me and do little activities around the classroom. Even though this requires more outside of school time and planning, this time is so important to the student and to myself. I have really enjoyed this time and some of my students do this more than a few times during the year. I’m able to continue to learn more about these students when we have one on one time together and they are motivated to work hard in class in order to earn fun privileges. My students also know then as well that if they act out or don’t have their supplies that tickets can be taken away. The behavior calendars are also something that their parents see so it is a good way to communicate behavior when needed. This is an honor system too. I let my students keep their tickets and they are responsible for them. The students are very honest too with giving me tickets if they don’t have something they need. I have to build these procedures at the beginning of the year, but it has worked well for my classroom.
    Another way I have worked to motivate my students is to pick a few students a week to leave notes on their desk or in their journal. The notes are either something I have seen the student doing well during the week or just a note of encouragement. My students love the words of affirmation. Sometimes instead of me leaving the notes, I will give my students each a name of a friend in the class and they get to write a special note. These notes have meant a lot to some of my kids and I will find them attached to the inside of their take home folders or taped on the inside of their desk for the year. This is a way the students can connect with their friends and make school more fun.
    These are just a few of the ways I choose to motivate my students.

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    1. Your idea about leaving notes on their desk is so great. I am totally going to start doing that. I also love sending emails home to parents. At first the parents are confused. Most emails from high school teachers are about missing work or behavioral issues. I like to tell them that I saw their son or daughter do something awesome in class or helped a student in the hallway with their books. Parents will then praise their kids at home and the student has even more motivation to continue their efforts and be awesome individuals.

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    2. Thank you! Emails are great as well! Kids love being praised and students will work hard for it. High school level has to love that too.

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    3. I think motivated students are the key to a successful classroom. When students are motivated and connected to the classroom they gain so much more. They are excited to be at school and are more willing to learn. You have many great ways to motivate students and build relationships with them. I love your ticket and note idea. I also like the fact that you do the store every 6-7 weeks. In the past, I tried to do weekly rewards and I was so busy with everything that I sometimes forgot to do my rewards and ended up with frustrated students. I think your system will work way better and eliminate some stress. Thank you for sharing all you do.

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    4. Amanda- Thank you. When I first started, I did weekly or biweekly rewards and it didn't work well either. It added a lot of stress and some students didn't have many tickets. So spreading the time out for store helped students earn more tickets for bigger rewards or they chose to save their tickets. Also, I will inform my students so they know when to expect the store to happen so they can prepare for what they want to buy with their tickets. It gives them something to look forward to as well. I also tally up how many tickets each student has every two weeks and they get a coupon that says a total. This saves me time on the day of the store. I usually have a parent helper in the room during the time of store too.

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    5. You have many great ideas for motivating student!

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    6. Love your ideas!!!!! I'm going to keep some of
      These ideas for my classroom!!! Thanks for sharing!!

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    7. I like your idea of the notes on the desk. I am going to use that this year. At times, I get so busy that I don't stop to reflect and show my appreciation for what students have done- and I know how important that is.

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    8. The ticket idea is great! Perhaps a store each grading period so they have lots of time to accumulate tickets. Don't do it for grades, just the preparedness and effort and behavior? Any other ideas?

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  7. Part 1 - I guess I wrote too much and I can't post it at once. Oops!

    I liked reading this chapter because the ideas presented are things I can reflect on in my own classroom. Particularly, the jobs students need done (feeling successful & making progress and having fun with friends) and also the the 8 experiences Summit Public Schools uses to help fulfill these jobs. I think it is crucial for an educator to consider their students points of view when designing the classroom model and instruction. However, while reading and reflecting on this idea, I realized this is not always the case for me and my students. Sometimes I feel too much pressure to get students to pass a certain test or needing to teach a concept that I can't find an especially engaging way to present and I start forgetting about the student's experience and focus only on how to get the material presented to the class.

    While I find aspects of blended learning appealing, it is not something I see happening right away at my school. At least not like the example schools presented in the book. So I appreciate chapters like this that let me think about how I can bring underlying concepts into my own classroom. Figuring out how to get students to "hire" my class to fulfill their jobs is going to be an ongoing endeavor. I was happy to read that one of Summit School's experiences was sustained periods of quiet, solitary reading time. I feel very fortunate to be able to offer this to my students during our class time together because of the back-to-back class periods we have. Especially as students get older, I see a big drop off in reading. My 7th graders read more than the 8th graders would, and the 8th graders read more than the 9th graders. Really, in high school, I saw very little reading outside of required class texts by my 9th or 12th graders. They were not offered this sustained reading time, but I also just noticed personal reading time was much less of a priority at the high school level. As I currently teach only 8th grade, I try very hard to get my students to become habitual readers and the reading time in class is a huge part of that. It allows me to talk to students about what they're reading (like we're doing now in this book club - talking about your reading is a HUGE part of adult reading habits) and helping connect them with books they will enjoy. This is one of my favorite parts of my job because I feel it makes a bigger impact on the student as a lifelong learner than when they correctly identify a gerund on their grammar quiz.

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    1. I like your statement about how this book is making you think about what you can do. Next year (21018/2019) my school will probably go one to one. This will change the way I do things in the classroom. It is nice to get a fresh start before it actually happens.

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  8. Part 2

    I would love to have access to software like what is described in this chapter. I feel like a big barrier to enacting much of the practices in this book is not having access to the types of software that make blended learning possible. I tried looking up Activate Instruction - the program used by Summit to for Personalized Learning Time. Unfortunately, it does not seem to exist anymore. One of the company's that created it - Girard Education Foundation - says it was retired in 2015. It sounded like a great program and was free! I wish there was more out there like this program and that was free for education.

    I find that I try to use several of Summit's 8 experiences listed, besides sustained reading, but it is not as effective without a software program to help manage it. For instance, I try to give students timely feedback but it is difficult with 30+ students in a class when I teach 5 core classes a day. This is easier when I am teaching remdiation classes with a handful of students, but don't all students deserve this type of personalized attention and not just those that are struggling? It'd be great to have a program that can help them see their progress and give them feedback at the same time that the 30 other students in class are getting their own personalized feedback. Similarly, students are given group experiences but unfortunately some content just works better when students are practicing individually. And student agency is difficult to accomplish for everyone when there is 1 teacher, 30+ students, and a traditional "factory model" of schooling in place. How am I supposed to accomplish that? So while I find much of this appealing, it is difficult to envision realistically happening at my school to the scale that would make all of this possible for me. For now, I appreciate the opportunity to reflect on how I can make some of this principles a reality in my classroom and how I can improve my class to make it a better "hiring" option for my students.

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    1. Dianne: I feel your pain. I also believe that the minor changes we can make within the classroom do not really lend themselves well to blended learning because we need the apps that have been specifically created for the purpose of offering digital differentiation and individual pacing. That is not something we can create and implement ourselves, and trying to find myriad mini-options just don't really do much more than cause confusion. Here is a perfect example. I noticed you had to make two posts. I am also a very "wordy" individual (Sigh. It's something I work on constantly.) Last week my post was so long it would not fit, but I had typed it in MS Word, and the character count was WELL below the required number (maybe it didn't count spaces--I don't know). So I was trying to cobble together my efforts on two digital platforms and convince them to work well together. I had to constantly revise and revise until I got down to few enough characters to post--but I had no guideline because the two were counting differently. It literally took me over an hour of what felt like wasted time. For the record, it's somewhere around 3300 characters in MS Word. Big cheesy smiley-face goes right here.

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    2. I agree with you on finding a resource to use for our classrooms. My comment last week was something about needing good resources to implement the blended learning into my classroom. I hope that the book touches this subject.

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    3. After some research, I found that all the lessons created by Summit in the Activate program was transferred to Gooru! I hope you see this note, Diane Perry! Maybe the proctor can place a note about this that shows up at the top of the blog so everyone can see it.

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  9. The design of a school should have the student's motivation to learn as one of its top priorities. Students needs to feel that learning is meaningful and important to their lives. The following are some ways that I feel schools can help to motivate students and allow students to know that learning is enjoyable... some are things that I've done in my classroom!

    I tell my students day one that what we learn in class is applicable to their daily lives and that we will be giving and sharing examples of concepts constantly! They know that my subject matters to regular life--I hear many "Ah's!," and "That's why that happens!" throughout my classes. My students know that what they are learning is relevant and meaningful to them. I believe that if material can be applied to real life, students will find if more meaningful and be more motivated to learn!

    When work is assessed, I believe in prompt return with helpful comments...I even remember a couple times when students have said, "Wow, she really reads through these." I feel that if students take the time to do work, it should be used as a learning tool while grading it. If students know their work matters to the teacher, they will take more pride in what they turn in (hopefully).

    In most of my classes, there are opportunities for group projects. This allows for fun time. I also have review games before major unit/final exams. Students that have me in class are familiar with my games and have asked if we will be playing the fun games to prepare for exams. It is a fun day and a way to bring motivation/excitement to the classroom (and review).

    This past year, in one of my classes I offered a project that students had choices to what kind of end result they wanted to turn in: a paper, a power point (with written summary), or a brochure. There were different rubrics for all 3 but the end points were all the same. This project allowed for student choice in what they felt would make them successful. (They were also allowed to select the topic among certain parameters) I feel that this choice was a good way to lead students towards success and the students showed a high level of motivation on the projects!

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  10. I was thrilled to reach a chapter that addressed student motivation. Many of us here have repeatedly noted our concerns that student motivation that may be strong enough to hold up to being allowed to select their own time, place, and/or pace to learn. However, I was less than thrilled with the analogy that we “hire” education as a means to an end. It rankled me all the way through the chapter. I think it is because we don’t “hire” tasks, we hire people. I feel like the word employ would be a good substitute because employ can work as a synonym to implement. How pompous I sound. I guess the English teacher in me could not take the summer off! I try not to judge, lest I be judged, but this usage kept me from concentrating on the reading. I was jerked out of focus each time I read it.

    While I came away with an uneasy feeling about the word “hire,” I instead got a very settled, contented feeling when I read about Summit Schools and their foundational beliefs! These do indeed resonate with me.

    The first item I fell in love with was the belief that students still need “sustained periods of quiet, solitary reading” (149). This feeds the soul of an English teacher who (obviously) appreciates words and reading.

    Another was the acknowledgement that students are sleep deprived (150). We all seem to agree on this, yet no one is doing anything about it. I know how naïve this is, but why don’t we bite the bullet and disrupt school schedules. Most kiddos don’t have to work on the farm anymore, and we have air conditioning now, so couldn’t we have a 9a-3p or 10a-4p day all year long, with a 3-week break between each season. This offers the same academic time as a 180 day school year, even if we add a full hour for lunch, rest, and play. I know, that’s an argument for another day.

    What resonated the most with me was Summit Schools’ creation of “playlists” for student lessons (52). How naïve am I that I want to ask how we cannot all use a pre-planned curriculum like this? It answers another of my greatest arguments—teachers simply don’t have time, I don’t care how many hours they work, to create the BEST lessons and assessments EVERY DAY that are tech forward, engaging, and differentiated, while also offering 1 on 1 time to students, grade papers in a timely way, communicate with each parent, meet the needs of administration, attend meetings, and sponsor extra-curricular activities. It’s pie in the sky to think we can be proficient in all areas. Constantly asking for more effort is not supportive of excellent teaching; it creates frustration. Why should each teacher individually (and with different ability) cobble together a mish mash of digital lessons when dedicated specialists create these for the use of all teachers? Why not let experts in the field of curriculum create the lessons and assessments? We can still tweak the lesson in class, and add the “project time” and “Socratic discussions” Summit uses, but we would have built in differentiation so we needn’t worry that all students’ needs are met. I realize individualization instead of standardization is de rigueur today, but everything new is not necessarily better. The Summit Schools video commented that implementing these prepared digital lessons resulted in engagement that went through the roof (148). But all these successes were based on the fact that there was a complete, ostensibly vertically and horizontally well-planned set of lessons, designed for individually paced learning.

    Lastly, Summit Schools’ teachers serve as mentors (155), much like the advisor that students will have in college. This person is a counselor, a friend, an academic guide, an advocate. Students who probably feel lost in the shuffle have one “go-to” for questions or problems. They form real relationships and know someone cares about them. They only have 10 minutes weekly, and I would hope for more time, but I understand the constraints.

    When a program works so well, why do we try to reinvent the wheel? Why not duplicate it? Why is Summit only on the west coast when I want to work for them!

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    1. Yes! The "hiring" of (fill-in-the-blank). I like the analogy for basic understanding but we are already told to view students and school as a business model. Eh. That really bothers me.

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    2. I always compile a list of "Things to Research" as I read any professional publication. For this chapter, my list includes: Activate Learning, Curriculet, and Summit Public Schools Curriculum. Summit sounds amazing!

      Yes, the "business model" mentality is troublesome, but even religious organizations will apply this to their spiritual goals! It's everywhere!

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    3. Yes to all!!!!! I don't know how most teachers could find the extra time to recreate the wheel anyways!!!!

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    4. As teachers we resist the analogy of hiring and business because I, for one, feel our politicians have turned our education system noto a business model. Children are not widgets to produce for a company. It takes the personalization out or education. Forget this work analogy and keep our goal at getting to understand and know our charges.

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    5. The LA teacher in me also LOVES the idea of silent sustained reading. My fellow staff members tend to treat reading as a skill only to be practiced in the LA classroom, so this would help all disciplines.
      I also love the idea of mentoring. We have a small school, and therefore only have one HS counselor. She's in charge of all the scheduling, IEP meetings, standardized testing, etc. This leaves very little time for actual counseling of the students. I think it would benefit everyone to forge these connections with students. This could help students with motivation if they know someone specific is there to check up on them regularly (especially if they don't have that at home).

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  11. Designing a school that motivates students to learn is vitally important. I tell my students daily that school is their job just like when their parents go to work. I have a lesson every August that has the students express what they want to learn/get out of this class. Then they write their goal and we try to accomplish this together. I also found it interesting on page 143 where the authors stated that school has to have intrinsically motivating experiences for students. I full heartily agree with this and am happy to see that value is being placed on basic characteristic of an individual. Additionally it says that schools need to be a place where students find joy in learning. Motivating students to see why it is necessary to learn the material can be difficult. However in chapter 5 on page 149 it mentions making the connection between what the children are learning and life experiences. I know myself that I want to know the relevance of something, so I try to explain the relevance of a topic with my students. This does seem to help with motivation but not always.
    Having students experience success and have fun with friends is very important for students to see school as a positive place. As a special education teacher my students experience a lot of failure with both academics and making friends. I try to make a big deal out of small accomplishments through the use of positive praise and giving students choices on which assignments they want to work on next. Making friends requires modeling life skills with my students and practicing those same skills. Motivating students is a daily activity and is a necessary life skill.

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    1. I love this! I share so many of your same thoughts! I also loved when the author mentioned "intrinsically motivating students" When I taught elementary school...so many teachers provided "extrinsic rewards" I always felt like this didn't motivate learners from within...but to receive something that gave them a false bit of happiness...and it didn't get them to do something because they felt like they wanted to do it but they would do something because they would get something in return. This wasn't a great way to instill motivation.

      I would also tell my students that going to school was their job just the way you did.

      I worry about schools in this day and age. So many are test driven and not designed to meet individual needs. Social time (especially in elementary schools) have been drastically reduced. Last year my son was given assigned lunch seats and they sat "boy/girl" This took away yet another social freedom he had. So much of school is focused around the kids being still and quiet.

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    2. I also agree that finding ways to motivate students is key if you want the best from your students. I do not agree with constant extrinsic awards. It is teaching students that if they display that behavior or do their work then they will always get rewarded for it. I do think it is important to be positive and praise children when you see them meeting goals.
      So much of what is taught and how it is taught is so students can pass standardized tests. We need to get away from that and be teaching life skills, students should be collaborating, and working on projects that thrive on their interests and skills.

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  12. I think that it is extremely important to design school so that students find it enjoyable and are motivated. I struggle with this daily with high school students who have lost almost all motivation in the classroom. They view school as something they have to do and some of them are not made to come to school so they don't. I think creating a school environment that is individualized is important to them.

    I enjoyed learning about Summit Public Schools model. It seems great, but a big dream as of right now. I liked that they allowed students to have expeditions which I think is instrumental in the students figuring out what they want to do. Also having a mentorship program allows students the ability to form a relationship with their teacher/mentor and then they have a stake in learning.

    I would love to incorporate some of these experiences into my class, but not sure how to go about it? Any ideas?

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    1. Expeditions and mentoring stood out to me as well. Sometimes our schools are not in communities that lend themselves to new experiences for students. This is an area where technology can open new vistas.

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    2. Pam I agree. Maybe we could see with the solar eclipse coming if we could do a live feed with our students since the transportation results in hindrances?

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    3. That is a great idea, Natosha. Perhaps the community college will have something we can link to.

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  13. I am a strong proponent for student motivation, engagement, and learning enjoyability. I will say however that I am also a realist and know that there are some students that will have difficulty with the content that I teach and thus not be as open to the “fun” factor that I see present in my classroom on a daily basis. I have developed lesson planning into a lot of small group discussion both Socratic and teacher led. My AP team has also adapted the curriculum into several small group project based learning assessments. I find that the students learn a lot from one another and this approach seems to work well in creating critical thinkers in my classroom. In regards to the second question posed this week about kids having fun with friends, I must pause. Based on the size of our school and the college level curriculum that I teach, the students that enter my classroom at the start of the year are often strangers. One of my annual goals is to create a safe intellectual learning environment for my students, and one that facilitates continual discussions about knowledge. I was surprised by the 60% statistic presented on page 144 about “factory-style classrooms experiencing either first or second hand bullying.” In order to create a classroom of learners and facilitation of group think, this statistic needs to play a role in my daily lesson planning. I really like the concept of blended learning allowing for additional face to face time and individualization of learning experiences in order to lessen this statistical number.

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  14. I am glad the point of student motivation was discussed in this chapter. In the small community I live and teaching, the lack of motivation has become an ongoing issue for our schools. I have commented on other posts that I try to engage my students in a positive manner at the beginning of each day, greet them, give them a "chill out" time before the day begins. I love the quote "crawling into the learners' skin and see things from their point of view." There are so many issues in the lives of students in today's society and our "traditional " schools have not caught up with the changes needed even though most are really trying to make the changes needed.

    I find the example of the Summit school to be good and makes me wish our schools could be more like it, but again there is not much mention about the special populations and how this type of school works for them. I use technology and try to blend instruction when it is possible, but most of my students cannot spend mot of the day learning from a computer. These students do not have the capability to set their own learning goals. My students and others like them are not discussed or thought about when schools like this are started! The end of the chapter does mention special populations but it is only to say that they need to be considered when creating the right programs! I was offended by this comment because my passion is teaching my special students the skills they need for life after school and in most cases, learning from a computer is not the practical way to teach them things like how to mop, sweep, wash dishes, and other basic skills. I am continually reading, researching, and developing instruction that brings out the best in my students. I do find this book interesting and am taking the parts from it that best fit to me as an educator! Happy 4th to everyone!

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    1. I think it's also important to point out that along with the special populations (as you say) that you teach, there is the population of students with personalities that are so introverted and have such extreme social anxieties that they are not able to interact during the "fun times" provided. They will only thrive in the traditional classroom setting. As a psychology teacher, I get many of these students and they are often open in speaking with me about their difficulties in the classroom setting. They shut down in collaborative groups.

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    2. I am so glad Robin you made this point!

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  15. Motivating students is the key to learning. Being at a primary level, I find that overall students are eager to learn. It is important to come to school where you feel safe, gain knowledge as well as have fun. In order to do that I have stations that students may choose in most subject matters. Also many decisions are made by the students on what or how an activity will be done. Free choice is incorporated when possible. I have tried to do more hands on activities and less paper and pencil.

    In this chapter, I liked the emphasis on quiet learning wherein students read or do enrichment. In my class, the students create a book bag of favorite reading and are allowed time each day to read. We mix it up by pair reading, reading outside the classroom as well as buddy reading with a younger grade.

    I feel the eight meta-experiences was helpful. It gives a good guideline of how to successfully help students succeed. At primary level, setting individual learning goals and giving immediate feedback are a priority. As teachers we wear many hats to help our students. I feel overall that we are always looking for bettter ways to improve ourselves as well as develop fun learning and motivational opportunities.

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    1. My students are eager to learn as well. I teach prekindergarten and everything is new to them. They seem to learn better when its hands than any paper and pencil activities. Everyday when they first come in we look at books that they select off the shelf. Most are non-readers but will choose books I have read and pretend read them or look at pictures and make up their own story. We also have buddy reading with an older class which they love. We have kindle fires with stories on them but they seem to have a hard time staying focused for the length of the story.

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  16. I hear the same complaint wherever I go, "Students are not motivated." or, "How can I motivate students that don't care?" I like the quote from the middle school student, "School made me hate school." I think the teachers may secretly agree with that. I know as a principal the bureaucratic junk always makes things less enjoyable. As stated in the chapter, successful programs get things right from a student perspective.
    We need to do better on the test so we take away electives so we can have more math and English time. We have to have benchmark data, so we assess, assess, assess. We often don't teach students to love learning. We do teach them to try to remember facts until the test.
    The section on the students' job to be done, really gave me a new perspective. I have never looked at in this way. It makes perfect sense. As pointed out, most current models do a very poor job of promoting the feeling of success and allowing students time to have fun with their friends. Students need to collaborate and create. They need to see what they have produced. That used to be a lamp in shop class, or a pillow in home economics. We have pushed those programs out. So for many students that struggle academically, they have few opportunities where the pressure is off and they can create. What a crime.
    I see blended learning as an opportunity to disrupt this travesty. It has the potential to save the souls of our students and our staff.

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    1. I agree so much with your post. Trying to get our students to do their best on assessments is not teaching. Anyone can memorize for a test, but to learn and enjoy what they are learning is made possible by doing more "hands on" projects. To build relationships with friends and teacher's engage student learning.
      I have said that students aren't allowed to be kids anymore. They are forced to do better and achieve so much more .... I remember when I was in school and the fun board races we had in learning our addition facts, or times tables, in middle school learning how to sew an apron, and even in a shop class building a crate to protect an egg from breaking. We made those things, but we also learned and had fun doing them. We do not do these things anymore. We need to find time in our "schooling" to bring fun and success into the students lives.

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    2. I teach science. I agree with your comment that students need to see what they have done. I almost wished we would have gone full inquiry for science with this adoption but did not. the principal did not think we were ready for it. I agree. Inquiry base is something that needs to be taught at a young age so that students know what to do and what to expect. It makes it fun.

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    3. Within my circle of friends and family there are many folks in management positions in factories and other production plants. To a person, they will say "my workers are not motivated!" when asked about the biggest problems they face on a daily basis. They list tardiness, uncompleted work projects, lack of personal incentive, slip-shod work, not working "clean" and many other components of an unmotivated worker that mirror what I see in the high school every day. I think not being motivated is universal!

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  17. I think that it is very important to design our schools so that our students enjoy learning. I think that when we do this students are motivated to learn on their own. I think that many discipline problems are also eliminated when students find learning enjoyable.
    I found chapter 5 to be insightful and found some great statements that I will personally be emplementing. I really liked the Summit schools SMART goal on pgs 148-150. I thought the excerpt about making students feel successful and like they are making progress daily was very improtant. I also think that making sure students work at their own pace is good advice and demonstrating their readinessential to move on. And I agree that we as teachers need to make sure that we give students feedback as quickly as possible so that they know their work is imporant. The SMART goal also says to give students a clear view of what they trying to achieve and I think we need to make sure we do this as well and to connect our lessons and goals to things that are relevant to them and to life. I hear students as "why do we need to learn this?" All the time.

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  18. I think that it is very important to design our schools so that our students enjoy learning. I think that when we do this students are motivated to learn on their own. I think that many discipline problems are also eliminated when students find learning enjoyable.
    I found chapter 5 to be insightful and found some great statements that I will personally be emplementing. I really liked the Summit schools SMART goal on pgs 148-150. I thought the excerpt about making students feel successful and like they are making progress daily was very improtant. I also think that making sure students work at their own pace is good advice and demonstrating their readinessential to move on. And I agree that we as teachers need to make sure that we give students feedback as quickly as possible so that they know their work is imporant. The SMART goal also says to give students a clear view of what they trying to achieve and I think we need to make sure we do this as well and to connect our lessons and goals to things that are relevant to them and to life. I hear students as "why do we need to learn this?" All the time.

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    1. Karen

      I agree SMART goals are vital for students to know what the goals of the assignment/project are. Feedback should be rapid. I use Zipgrade to grade their tests at my school. Students get instant feedback.

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  19. It is essential to design school so that students are motivated, engaged, and fulfilled in the learning experience. In this day of “shopping for the best educational experience,” it seems to be an expectation of not only today’s learners but also employees. Companies are learning that, in order to maintain satisfied employees, they must provide a work environment that is appealing. I recently visited a local company with a group of teachers. It was an eye opener to learn what is being offered to employees beyond the basic hourly wage. An excellent on-site eating facility, comfortable break rooms, and paid educational opportunities are just a few examples. Even workers who had monotonous, routine jobs rotated stations so that they did not have to perform the same work on a daily basis.

    In my experience as a middle school media specialist, I acknowledge that many students have already developed a specific range of interests. If we can tailor instruction to emphasize these interests, I believe that our learners will become motivated and engaged in a way that will lead to increased learning in all areas. Now the task becomes how to best identify what motivates individual students and how to design their personalized instruction.

    While gaining valuable insight by reading about Summit’s journey, it is interesting to note that two programs Summit found valuable tools are no longer available. Activate Instruction sunset in 2015 and Curriculet closed shop in June 2016, thus emphasizing the need to focus on the process of making school a “fulfilling job for students” rather than the products used.

    As I am reading Blended, I have numerous ideas swimming around in my head. My next step is to assemble a small group of colleagues and attempt to create a plan that would begin the process of changing our school to a “true” blended learning environment that motivates students rather than continuing the path of providing a technology-rich factory model school.

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  20. I think it is important to design a school so that students are motivated to learn and find learning enjoyable. I found that the authors made an interesting point in chapter 5, when they explained that the two main jobs for students are that 1. they feel successful and that 2. They have fun with friends. The authors mention obstacles that schools face, such as competition from gangs and bullying as an additional obstacle that schools need to work on to be able to fulfill those jobs for students.

    I think that some of the best experiences that could help students feel successful and have fun with their friends involve group work or projects and in-depth learning assignments. The flipped classroom model came to mind as providing students with more time to work on projects in class if they learn the material in the evening and are given a chance to apply it at school. If students are given tasks that motivate and challenge them, they will work hard on them and learn valuable skills and information along the way. I think projects that ask students to solve a real problem or work together on something with real-life applications are always interesting. (For example, I remember working in a group to create videos to advertise products we invented in high school foreign language class and how fun it was.) I think it helps if students use technology and if they create or work towards something that they will show their fellow students. Giving students some leeway to control some aspects, like choosing the topic, choosing the medium, choosing their group partners, etc. also allows students greater control over the project. If students choose things they are more interested in, they are more likely to work hard on them and ultimately achieve a greater degree of success than if they have no say in the topic or process.

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  21. Chapter 5 Motivate the Students
    What I learned from reading this chapter:
    1. First task for blended-learning is to understand the student attitude towards learning.
    2. Student motivation is a top challenge for students.
    3. Teachers need to work hard to create more engaging lessons to improve student motivation.
    4. School must be a place where students find joy in learning.
    5. Priority for students is to feel successful and have fun with friends in school.
    6. Teachers SMART goals must include experiences that better prepare students with the content knowledge, cognitive skills, habits of success, and real-world practice necessary to succeed in college and life.
    7. Students feel successful when they set their individual learning goals for their own personal learning plans. Student pace should be individual.
    8. Students need rapid feedback and data about their performances to feel successful.
    9. Periods of quiet reading time is necessary for student success.
    10. School is better when it feels relevant to the students.
    11. Teaching mentoring benefits students make progress towards their goals which results in creating deep personal relationships with students.

    In my classroom, I start with our goals of the unit, state standards, and assignments are explained. I feel project-based learning experiences motivates students to work as a group and complete the project. Students had fun working together. I also have students submit in Canvas their part of the assignment they worked on. This will ensure all students are working as a team. I want the students to have fun working together on the assignment. If I see a student off task while work in on the group assignment, I will have a discussion with him/her. I want to figure out how to motivate the student to be an active participate in the group.

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  22. This is probably one of my favorite chapters of all that I have read so far. I guess the entire time I have been reading, engagement and motivation have been on my mind. So often, students do not come to school motivated and ready to learn. As I have stated before, they don't even bring a pencil! It is so frustrating! I do think that if you make the students buy into education and make it relevant to them, that is key. Of course, at times we are battling things beyond the scope of what school can offer. Wow! Getting into the mindset of the student is a powerful too. Why not do that? Companies do this all of the time with their target consumer group. I think the book mentioned some of these things too. (family issues, home environment,abuse...) We have implement the genius hour this year into our day. I am anxious to see if this helps motivate some of our students. We have not revamped the entire day, but it is a good start to a new type of learning environment giving the students some input on what is learned and how. It is a way to let the kids have some ownership in the learning process. It will also allow them to learn at a pace comfortable for each learner. I do truly believe that the factory style school is not longer working. With modern society, so much has changed, and education needs to change as well. I thought the part about allowing students to eat when the need to do so and walk around when needed was awesome. Many students may not be hungry and like eating as soon as they wake. Some like eating later in the morning. When not allowed to do so, it makes learning difficult on an empty stomach knowing the next time to eat is lunch! Even adults don't like this!
    As far as the social aspect, that is so important too. That is the part that makes school fun for students. They enjoy time with peers. Plus, learning to relate to peers and carry on positive relationships are valuable skills needed for life. I would love to read about more examples of how the social aspect is integrated into the learning day.

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  23. I, too, was relieved to see that the authors actually focused on students in the book. Motivation has been a source of interest for me throughout my tenure as a teacher. When they first come to me, my students tend to be the ones who don’t play school well and lack motivation to try. As a result, I have done a lot of research on motivation, and with this chapter I found that the authors conveniently brushed the surface of explaining motivation.

    We are all educators. We have all learned or heard about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation and the large role they play in learning. I’m beginning to wonder if the authors intentionally did not address those aspects of motivation because extensive research would show that much of their model is based on extrinsic motivation. Many of the software programs in use for the blended learning environments provide virtual prizes and awards to motivate students. Wouldn’t these be considered external motivators? In Debbie Silver’s Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 book, she explains the concept of external motivation with “performance-contingent” and “success-contingent” awards (102). These seem to fit the virtual prizes from the computer software. Silver goes on to explain that “once a reward is given for a behavior, subsequent removal of that reward will cause the participant to lose interest or quit” (104). Daniel Pink explains that neuroscientists found that contingent awards could be addictive (Silver 104). This makes me wonder if students in these programs are really motivated or simply addicted. What happens if those motivators are removed? Are the students motivated because they get to choose which programs to use or because the programs have external motivators? Do either of those scenarios equate to internal motivation?

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    1. I also zoned in on what I felt were dichotomous opinions about reward in this chapter. While they expressed a negative attitude toward rewards, they also used Dell's payment of cash to employees who live a healthier lifestyle as an example of a positive action. Isn't that a reward? Anyone would work for cash--even students!

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  24. Even though I think that keeping student motivation as the main drive behind our focus is the most obvious concept imaginable, I am sure that most of us can think of more than one instance where student needs were not placed first in our school in some fashion. Sometimes, our children are coming to school not even having their most basic needs met, let alone their educational needs. We have to fight for and with our students before we can expect anything else from them.

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  25. I think that one of the keys to student motiviation is based upon developing a relationship with your students. This being said, there are still some who have no interest in school - but I have found that they are still more willing to engage if we have a relationship. I also think that providing as much student choice - including different ways of learning is important. We are often learning the same things in my class but some students are using manipulatives, others are reading, and others may be on the computer. It seems that the more autonomy they are given, the more likely they are to rise to the challenge.

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    1. I like that you stated we all will have some students who have no interest in school! Building relationships is one of the most important skills we can teach our students no matter what the age. I like that the chapter focuses on how we can see things f rom the eyes of the learner!

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    2. I agree with you. Showing an interest in students and building a relationship is more likely to be engaged with learning.

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    3. I agree. So the question becomes how can blended learning allow for authentic autonomy and natural relationships?

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  26. For alternative school students I think a relaxed and sometimes fun atmosphere will make the difference if t hey will graduate or not.
    When I first took the position at our alternative school I noticed some patterns. I noticed kids always skipped on the day before a break. So I started doing Pancake Day. On the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Breaks I brought in everything to make pancakes on the break time. The kids LOVED it and the word spread and now NO ONE misses school the day before a break.
    The kids love to have parties. So we established a party planner and the party planner puts up a sign up sheet for bringing in items for the parties. It doesn't cost me anything, the kids plan it, and we were going to take a 15 min break anyways. The kids feel like a family by having the responsibility not to let the others down when it comes to bringing their items. I mean who likes pancakes with the butter or the syrup???
    The kids like to be together, and they LOVE food. So the students do not miss party days bc they don't want to be the one left out by staying home from school. The haen't even figured out the pancakes are a trick to get them to come to school. ITs 4 more days the student will be at school and making progress towards graduation.
    I totally agree that students need to feel successful to be invested in school. They want to know that it all matters. Just like adults, they don't want to be wasting their time. Making goals and getting feed back actually does really make a huge difference for the students. If a student doesn't know where they are headed how can they get there?
    I think I would like to visit the Summit Public Schools and see how their school really works. It sounds interesting.

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    1. Pancake Day! Awesome idea. I am sure the kids look forward to those days all year. By doing this you are also promoting a fun, enjoyable classroom that the students will want to be a part of. They will remember those memories for a long time to come!

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    2. I loved the pancake day or any other reason to have a "party". I can see planning one a month and letting the students make suggestions. Besides planning, they can mix ingredients, measure the needed items, all the while learning and practicing math skills and reading (recipes). After,be sure to point out how Important these skills are for life. Thank you for this scrumptious idea!!!

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    3. Pancake day is a fabulous idea. What a great way to get the kids involved and motivated to come to school instead of just skip before break.

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  27. The chapter highlights that students want to feel successful and have a fun, rewarding experience in school. If you think about it, this is what we all strive for. Regardless of occupation we want to feel successful and enjoy what we do.

    Summit provides empowerment to students so they can set their own individualized goals and the time frame in which they achieve these goals. Not all students learn the same way and in the same time frame. Giving students a predetermined set amount of time to learn a concept can be detrimental as not all students will be mastering the content in that set amount of time. Summit also feels that giving students rapid feedback is helpful. We all know what it feels like to have to wait for a grade and/or feedback on a project. It can be very frustrating. Rapid feedback will allow the student to quickly determine where they need to do more work. I particularly liked how Summit builds in quiet reading time in the day. This time can be as valid and important to include in the school day as group work. Summit also stresses the importance of connecting school experiences to real life relevancy. How many times do we remember, as students, asking the question, "will we be using this in real life?"

    This chapter helped me reflect on practices that I am using in my music classroom. While I feel that music leads itself to being a rewarding and fun subject, not all students will feel that way. By using some of Summit's SMART goals that I mentioned above, I could make my classroom more enjoyable and rewarding.

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  28. I think it is of most importance to get students motivated to learn and find ways to make learning enjoyable. It is much harder I feel to do both with todays students. I think teachers today need to be small entertainers this is due to this generation having so much media at their fingertips. I feel the most important thing a teacher can do to motivate students is to show them that they care about them. Learn something about each student where they work, tv show they like, car they drive..... A teacher also needs to let them into their world by this I mean when you see them at a store or anywhere else tell them hi, if you have hobbies let them know talk about your life to them and students will open up and the chances are great they will get motivated. Show students you care about them and that will motivate them in your class.

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    1. Interacting personally with the students does seem to enhance learning. Strange the connection, but there appears to be advantage to taking the time to connect. Thanks for making a point of this!

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  29. Scanning through the previous comments, we all seem to be in agreement that student motivation is one if not the biggest challenge we have to face sometimes as educators. I appreciated that the authors addressed the various situations such as tiredness and trauma in kids' lives that hinder student motivation in addition to the two main aspects identified. I think one of the biggest takeaways from reading this book is the flexibility that personalized and blended learning gives to schools to deal with issues that may be standing in the way of student engagement and motivation.
    In my personal experiences, providing students with choice and the ability to work with others often provides wonderful results (for the most part). These are the times that I see students most focused on learning and creating and less distracted by outside forces. Based on this and the evidence presented in the book, I believe it is important for schools and individual teachers to provide students with more flexibility in how they interact with what they are learning and how they demonstrate that knowledge. I love the idea of project based learning, student discussion groups, and real life experiences driving learning in schools!

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  30. I agree with most of the comments above. Student motivation is key in student growth and learning. I often tell my kids, I can stand up here and teach until I'm blue in the face and give it my all, but at the end of the day, it is up to them if they are learning it. I promise them, that everyday when I walk into my classroom, I will give them 110%, but if they want the knowledge, they ultimately have to help themselves. I loved the example of the water pitcher and bowl. If the bowl is turned upside down, the teacher's effort is wasted and the knowledge is not absorbed.

    In my classroom, I know that the best way for my students to learn is to have them moving, talking, and sharing with each other. I do this as much as I can through projects and labs, but we all know that they have to have a base of knowledge in order to do this. So, of course, there are times that I am teaching and they are listening. I try to use videos, and interesting ways to present the information without loosing my audience. Our job becomes more and more difficult as these kids are exposed to more and more stimulation from video games, computers, social media, etc. It is hard to compete with that...

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    1. The water pitcher and bowl stood out to me as well. I have encountered many parents and community members who have the idea that education is poured into the heads of students, then learning blooms. If the student doesn't have the bowl right side up (and continue to tend those seeds), nothing is planted. That part is sometimes overlooked.

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    2. Wow! That was probably one of the most eye opening statements in this chapter. The water was so relevant. My problem is spilling it in the floor. I'd probably be written up. But taking this outside to demonstrate would really hit with the motivation. They love to go outside and if they think you will do this during the year, perhaps another motivator has been established.

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    3. Wow! That was probably one of the most eye opening statements in this chapter. The water was so relevant. My problem is spilling it in the floor. I'd probably be written up. But taking this outside to demonstrate would really hit with the motivation. They love to go outside and if they think you will do this during the year, perhaps another motivator has been established.

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    4. Wow! That was probably one of the most eye opening statements in this chapter. The water was so relevant. My problem is spilling it in the floor. I'd probably be written up. But taking this outside to demonstrate would really hit with the motivation. They love to go outside and if they think you will do this during the year, perhaps another motivator has been established.

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  31. I think in a lot of ways we can design schools and courses that students want to learn in, but I have one problem with the chapter. They provided an example of a school system that serves 1600 students k-12. How do you do some of the things that Summit is doing when you have a high school that has over 2000 students alone? I would love to see an example from a large Urban school district or something like that before I can buy all the way into what the chapter talked about. I also have a fear that many of the students at Summit come from strong family backgrounds where one or both of their parents are educated and involved in their child's school. If that is the case it seems that many of these kids would be successful in any type of school setting you put them in to begin with.
    Having said all that, I think the key to helping students fulfill those needs is to give them as much choice and say in their education as possible. It could be simple things like allowing them to sit near their friends in class our picking their own research topics to bigger things like having a school schedule that allows students to take zero hour classes so that they can get out of school at a different time so they can go to jobs or internships. One of the things that I really liked from the chapter that I think is constantly under attack in schools is having "reading time" Summit does it and says it is one of the most important parts of their day. I am not just saying this because I am an English teacher, but having built in reading time in the school day is important to reading development, but also it allows students to have success and choice at school.

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  32. Student motivation is on the top of the list of important things required for school. Motivating the child, I feel sometimes, is half of the battle. We could spend 5 hours a day working on our lesson plans and feel that we have the best lesson anyone could hope for, but what good does that do if the students don't care? There are occasions where it's not going to matter what you do, the child will not be motivated, period. In my opinion, that comes from their home life. However, for those kids that can be motivated, there are several things we can do in our classrooms. I think data works to a certain degree. Them being able to see improvement and gain confidence is very important. You have to have something that's going to pull them in and make them want to try in the first place. If a student isn't goal oriented, that data piece and making goals really isn't going to help. We use data/goal tracking sheets in put RTI classes. For the most part, I don't believe they make a lot of difference. That's when having fun with friends comes in. Sometimes it doesn't even have to be with friends as long as it's entertaining. I try to provide several options with projects in hopes to appeal to them. Most of the time it works. When it comes to having fun with friends, group work comes to mind, however it is not one of my favorite things to do. I know that the having fun with friends area is something that I definitely need to work on. I do quite a bit of group/pairs work in my honors class buy not with the regular classes. When you have around 30 kids, and you are the only teacher, sometimes it gets a little crazy. I don't do crazy in my classroom.

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  33. Student motivation is on the top of the list of important things required for school. Motivating the child, I feel sometimes, is half of the battle. We could spend 5 hours a day working on our lesson plans and feel that we have the best lesson anyone could hope for, but what good does that do if the students don't care? There are occasions where it's not going to matter what you do, the child will not be motivated, period. In my opinion, that comes from their home life. However, for those kids that can be motivated, there are several things we can do in our classrooms. I think data works to a certain degree. Them being able to see improvement and gain confidence is very important. You have to have something that's going to pull them in and make them want to try in the first place. If a student isn't goal oriented, that data piece and making goals really isn't going to help. We use data/goal tracking sheets in put RTI classes. For the most part, I don't believe they make a lot of difference. That's when having fun with friends comes in. Sometimes it doesn't even have to be with friends as long as it's entertaining. I try to provide several options with projects in hopes to appeal to them. Most of the time it works. When it comes to having fun with friends, group work comes to mind, however it is not one of my favorite things to do. I know that the having fun with friends area is something that I definitely need to work on. I do quite a bit of group/pairs work in my honors class buy not with the regular classes. When you have around 30 kids, and you are the only teacher, sometimes it gets a little crazy. I don't do crazy in my classroom.

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  34. Student motivation is key to any successful education program. I thought the "Jobs-to Be-Done" theory was really interesting and I did understand how it fits into the school model.

    I think it is vital that students take ownership in their learning. Maybe one way is to move away from the factory type classroom--but I am not completely sold. Student ownership goes hand-in-hand with parental support. All too often parents blame teachers for student failure.

    I appreciated the Summit model and loved the energy that seemed to flow throughout the school. The possibilies of what can get accomplished were endless. And I am envious of the teachers who arent' bogged down with planning. How refreshing to be able to have energized students AND teachers.

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  35. I think it is so incredibly important to design school so that it engages students and motivates them to learn. This past year, we went 1 to 1 in our corporation. During this year, I've had the pleasure of having a student in my class who had previously been in and out of the principals office, and suspended numerous times. I can say that I worked my tail off to find ways to connect to that student and engage him and his learning. I found out what interested him, and did my best to implement an during this year, I've had the pleasure of having a student in my class who had previously been in and out of the principals office, and suspended numerous times. I can say that I worked my tail off to find ways to connect to that student and engage him and his learning. I found out what interested him, and did my best to incorporate that into his learning. At the end of the year, his mom praised me for being the one to "finally get through to him." The amount of growth that child showed was amazing! I know he is one of many success stories and education, but it just goes to show that when you connect with a student and find ways to engage them, they will become motivated to do well for not only themselves, but for you too. I feel our technology had helped in that accomplishment this year, because I was able to provide him with additional resources for learning.

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  36. Motivating today's learners is getting more difficult as they come to school with so much exposure to the fast paced technology. We have to learn ways to keep up with them. Having one year of a 1:1 initiative, I think I saw some new types of motivation that were working in the classroom. I feel that, as was suggested, we must put ourselves in the student's place in order to best underdstand their needs. Even though the book relies heavily on the concept of the customer, the teaching and the customer are a package deal to me. I have to relate to my students at their levels and respect them in order to achieve the results I'm after. The customer is critical but my ability to create quality work and the facets of the job that go along with that are just as critical. I do try to motivate my students and I work very hard at giving them repeated recognition on a job well done. I send "Good News" postcards to their homes frequently. This not only helps to motivate, but it justifies the hard work being put forth. I have received numerous thanks from famiiies for doing this. With the technology that most are dependent upon, the handwritten note takes on a whole new meaning.

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  37. After reading this chapter and the post from other people, I do not feel alone. I have some very motivated students in my classes, but I also have many who are not so motivated. Student motivation is what makes or breaks a student's learning and achievement. I have students who tell me they are working as hard as they can to learn the material, but I know that is not true when they walk out of the school with no books, and they need the extra time to study or review. I tell my student's daily that unless they put forth the effort, nothing that I do is going to make them learn any better.
    I have learned over the years that I have been teaching that for my student's learning comes best with hands on. This chapter has made me kinda laugh, because it is the pendulum swinging again. Hands on, sharing, project based learning is making its way back again. My students have projects that they have to do in both my Algebra class and in my ASL classes. Many times I put a video online for them to watch as "homework," so they are better prepared when they walk into the room the next day. Just like back in the day, teachers had to do things to keep us motivated, we must do the same for our students. They are more versed with technology and social media than many of us, and we must find ways to keep them engaged to learn.

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  38. This chapter offered a lot to digest about student motivation. I was intrigued by the ‘hiring school concept’, and I see that theory revealing itself as everyone does, indeed, make a choice about how to fill their time. Very often my colleagues and I have remarked that our struggling students have no difficulties in arenas in which they choose to invest their time, whether it is music, video games, athletics, etc.; all valid uses of time among other important areas of content. Summit’s plan sounds very dependent on a software program that might require a large investment of money and perhaps up front teacher time to coordinate. All I could say was ‘Wow’, especially to the 8 weeks of expeditions. As a teacher who has led several student travel groups, I am fascinated.

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  39. # 1 I always try to keep in mind what I continually tell my students: do not overlook reading the footnotes- they always have good stuff! This is always true, but I have found it especially true in this book. I loved footnote # 9 which better defined a "students desire for success."

    # 2 I love, love, love the reminder that we must have a student's perspective. I try to keep this in front of me every day as I teach and prepare lessons. I am sometimes amazed that students are respectful, diligent at their work, and focused when I know that their lives may be in total disarray away from the school. I know that for some of my students the school is the "safe place" mentioned on page 144.

    # 3 I am going to do a tweaked version of the "pitcher - brain" for my mentored students when school begins this year. I may have to use confetti instead of water....or go outside and use water...but I love the visual and the principles.

    # 4 I believe that the desire to "have fun with friends" or meaningful socialization is a goal for all students. I see it in students from every niche, and sometimes the hunger for it is almost visible.

    However, the "desire for success" is a bit of a struggle for me if it means trying to find a way for the school to fulfill the desire for success. For some of my students, they define success (or a successful day) as "just getting through the day, Ms. Roll, just getting the hell through the day." If they have managed "bad news" parents, avoided the police or CPS intervention, dressed, fed and managed themselves and siblings, they have had a successful day - all to be repeated tomorrow, of course. They feel safe at school. They like me. They will apply themselves to deciding which of four possibilities is the most likely main theme of Kurt Vonnegut's "2BR02B" because they are warm, fed, and free from stress, but getting the other students in their group to agree with their perspective on Vonnegut - not going to be their # 1 motivation for success.

    # 5 When I think about the possibility of our corporation trying to make blended learning a reality, I see a likely grim scenario. The goal would be to save money: use on-line curriculum and replace certified teachers with paraprofessionals. They would select curriculum without teacher, parent, or student input. They would "make it work" within our given physical structure. The NEW PROGRAM would be announced and presented as a done deal to teachers, parents, and staff. I just don't have a great deal of trust that a team would be formulated along the parameters outlined in the last chapter, and I fear the students' perspective would not be a highly considered factor.

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  40. oops, I hit publish too soon....

    # 6 I would be curious to know the enrollment figures for the schools whose schedules are given on page 159.

    # 7 I am not sure, but I think a teacher's ability to "engage" students may be a part of our evaluation. I am going to have to check on that, but I know "student engagement" (not student compliance) is a biggie right now.

    # 8 Favorite Quote: "But their efforts are in vain if they are aimed at providing an even better way for students to do something that they were never trying to do in the first place." I love it!

    # 9 Sometimes - it is the teachers who are sleep deprived!

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  41. I see so many times in my teaching where I have smart students but very lazy at doing work. I know they are disengaged in a way from the course at hand. I see them react differently in other classes but the same in still others. So what is the difference? Their level of interest in that area. It is not so much the "fun" factor but their interest in the subject. We do many "fun" things but they could care less about learning during that time or for that subject.

    I see in my own kids what they enjoy doing verses what is a task for them. Taking out the trash is never fun nor enjoyable but creating your own garden or landscaping area designed by them with their own choices is a blast. Taking out the trash is less work but is too monotonous and plain, but still necessary.

    I see kids wanting more of that involvement rather than the structured. Although the structured is a necessary component for some ground work to be established, it is not what works so much anymore. (Thank you electronics for making everything fast and "easy")

    The disruptive approach gets them more into the inovative and less into the mundane.

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    1. So what are we going to do about the 'trash'? I use that term loosely, but your post does allow me to see that not everything that needs to be accomplished (in school or anywhere) is going to be a mountaintop experience.

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  42. Connections, connections, connections! We have to make connections with each and every one of our students. We have to build individual relationships and form a trust. We have to figure out what the students are interested in and allow those interests to help guide our assignments.

    I enjoy attending my students extra curricular activities outside of the classroom. If they see that I am taking extra time to watch their game or program, they see that I am more than their classroom teacher.

    Our 4th graders have only been 1:1 for a year, and in that brief amount of time I was able to see which apps the students enjoyed using and didn't like using. If the students are interested in the task they will jump all over it immediately. Some students are unmotivated and lazy, and these students will require us to work a little harder. I'll admit, I like a litttle challenge. This keeps me on my toes. What ever assignment I give my students I need to make sure that it is more actively involved than it was 5 years ago. Lecturing and expected them to regurgitate the information isn't going to work today.

    This was a great chapter! I hope to read more chapters like this in the future.

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  43. Motivating students is the hardest part of my job. I teach many students that have failed middle school miserably, and I would say they’ve lost the fire and intrinsic motivation since they’ve become accustomed to the feeling of failure. I have seen however, with a lot of mentoring, many begin to get that motivation back once they start seeing themselves succeed at small goals.

    The two most important experiences I believe that will help students like mine feel successful is individual learning goals and mentoring experiences. Having students set goals for themselves and watch themselves grow is extremely important. Many of my students have been told they will amount to nothing and start to believe if themselves. Once they see that putting in some effort can have results, they start to believe in their abilities once again.

    Mentoring is important for my students because many of them lack structure and positive adult role models in their lives. They don’t trust adults and have been disrespected by so many. Having a positive mentoring experience at school helps them learn trust again, and gives them a safe space when their life outside of school is spiraling out of control. I liked reading about the “Other Circumstances” section on pages 150-151. Those describe most of my students to a T. Lack of sleep is a huge obstacle I fight daily with students. Many of my students have serious dysfunction going on such as parents in prison, being abused physically and sexually, not having anything to eat, having to parent their younger siblings, the list could go on and on. I know that we can’t solve their problems, but we can brighten their year, even if it’s only for their freshmen year that they are in our program. When you take all of their circumstances into account, it softens your heart and really helps you mentor in a more understanding way. In my job, mentoring comes first, and my curriculum comes second, because that’s what my “customer” needs to succeed.

    I giggled at the McDonald’s example about trying the new bacon to appeal to a more “refined” customer market. Of course the product failed! They didn’t keep in mind who their customer is. People with “refined palates/the latte drinkers of the world” usually don’t come to McDonald’s. Just like what works for my students in the Maverick Launch Program may not work for all students. I let my students eat in class, because if their mouth is busy, they won’t be disruptive. Last year I let one student stand at my podium to complete his individual computer-based work. Otherwise he would roam around the room and couldn’t stay focused. I’ve been lucky to have administrator evaluators that understand my students and what works for them.

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  44. I like the idea of determining the purpose or job before designing the program, but I feel the authors focused on the student to the exclusion of their future employers, coworkers, and community members. The job of school is not just to allow students to experience success and enjoy time with friends. It is also to model problem solving, goal setting, and prioritizing in various situations. Students also need to learn how to approach challenges and overcome failure, not just experience successes. If they don't, the first challenge or failure they face may be devastating.

    None of ^^that^^ has to be restrictive or boring, but the starting point of classroom planning should not be fun and friends. Offering students real choices through menus, choice boards, etc.; using a variety of grouping and assessments; giving students a voice in setting guidelines and developing rubrics; tailoring material to student interests; introducing authentic products from real-world professions and situations; all of these (and more) can accomplish both sets of goals, if designed well, with students in mind.

    Finally, field trips are my pet peeve. Field trips are a fantastic opportunity to engage students in authentic learning with their friends. Unfortunately, I watch my own children take trips to see the latest Disney movie, to play in the local park, and other destinations that offer very little beyond what they could get at school already. These are missed opportunities to expand students' known world. Experiences build lasting connections, and the more varied the experiences, the more complex those connections can become, leading to greater resources for future problem solving.

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  45. Finding a motivation or hunger in students is critical. I try to make learning fun and always ask the question, "If I were a student in my class, would I like this lesson or have fun learning in this activity?" Even if the curriculum may be boring, you have to find a way to sell it to the class and make it more interesting and fun. Usually students get excited when I get excited.

    Other motivational strategies I use are to make lessons or activities into a game or competition. This does not work for all students but for the majority of students I have taught it brings out their best efforts.

    We do plenty of partner and small group work which I know the class enjoys. I try to build in social and collaborative outlets as often as possible because the students can learn a lot from each other. I mixed up partners throughout the year and occasionally let them choose who they work with in class. Like this chapter mentioned, students desire to feel a part of a group and have fun with friends at school.

    This chapter was a good reminder to not only track data but to intervene and set goals that are attainable. Last year in fourth grade was my first year to have an all class forty book reading goal for my students. I thought it worked great as it gave my students a long term reading target. I have also heard of teachers that use short term goals as well and this chapter has made me think about incorporating those goals to track progress and give students relevant and timely feedback. Finding frequent opportunities to celebrate success and progress is a must in working with elementary students!

    A common theme I noticed while looking at the schedule breakdowns for each school in chapter five was a huddle or morning meeting time. My classes like to know what is coming that day, we can discuss daily goals, and connect with each other right away. It is also a good time to intervene with any issues going on in the classroom or a time to celebrate students that are doing the right thing and treating others right. I may try some breathing patterns, mindfulness activities, and movement to get our school day off to a great start!

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  46. Hello and Happy 4th! The authors are wise to help us remember to see through a child's eyes as we plan our lessons. Kids (and people in general) like to get timely feedback. Who among us is not looking for affirmation or redirection as we encounter new content and try our hand in applying new skills? It makes sense academically and keeps kids interested. Also, the idea of meeting students where they are academically instead of keeping the class on a somewhat fixed schedule is always something we strive for, but is hard to do all the time in real life. We can plan guided reading and math groups until our heads are spinning, but we never quite reach everyone where they are. I am excited about the possibility of combining small group instruction and individualized learning programs to help students achieve.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. Timely feedback is so valuable for any age learner, children to adults. Can you imagine not receiving your evaluation report until a few weeks after the fact. It would be so stressful. I feel like for me, as a teacher who enters many classrooms each day I have to constantly evaluate learning and give feedback so that I know what type of progress each child is making and when I need to reteach or challenge. For me, individualized learning and small group instruction is one of the only options I have to see my students achieve. It's a fun way to teach. :)

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  47. There is a saying I like to use- “It’s all about the accessories!”. So it goes with the design for schools.. Atmosphere and availability are the two areas of focus that I would say are the most important. Atmosphere being the aesthetics of the building- lighting, flooring, seating, paint. These must be appealing to students and be a place they want to be in because it is pleasing the the senses. I love the school atmosphere that we have. No, it is not the most up scale at all, but what you will find in 90% of the classrooms is an ambiance that is unique to each teacher and educationally and emotionally driven. Many teachers pour their heart and soul into preparing just the right place for learning in the class where they teach. We are blessed- and I mean that- in our school because we get to teach in one main classroom and make it our own world. Staff members bring lighting, couches,bean bag chairs, posters and many other things. I know my own two sons loved going from class to class to see what the atmosphere was and appreciated how each place was different.
    In my classroom, there are many varied activities that get the students up and moving. We sing, we dance, we do paired dialogue- scripted and non-scripted to allow a variety of learning styles to be addressed. The students never really know what the day will hold in my classroom and this makes it interesting to say the least. Variety and individuality on the part of the atmosphere and activities are what makes a school a success- a place where students want to be.
    Close behind this is availability. Making sure that equipment is working and that things that are broken are quickly fixed is important to the flow of the day. This could range from computer labs to ipads or water fountains. When the staff takes care of the school, so will the students and it shows in the learning process.

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    1. You are so right! When students feel that teachers and other school staff care greatly about their school it sends them a positive message that school is important and they should care too! I have taught in a few different buildings and the quality of the teachers in evident in more than just their lesson plans! Students and parents feel that as well!

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  48. The major roadblock in student retention in school is their desire to complete the work necessary to pass classes. In my classroom, we do the majority of reading together because students have no desire to read on their own when their friends are around. When given time to read or complete assignments on their own, students declare they will do the assignment later. They usually don't because they need to be with their babies, and their grades suffer as a result.

    By doing work together in class, students have the opportunity to discuss topics with one another and complete assignments without worrying about doing them later. When completing assignments, students feel successful because they accomplished a task, and I am overjoyed not to deal with the complications of late or missing work.

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    1. You make a great point about student collaboration being motivational! My students frequently ask me if they can work in partners or groups and I think that find it rewarding that they can socialize and work at the same time!

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  49. I feel it is EXTREMELY important for students to enjoy learning and for them to be motivated to make progress! I think all teachers strive to create an atmosphere where students feel engaged and make them feel that they want to come to school! In my opinion student ownership is huge in order for them to feel successful. Much as the Summit School example of the data tracking students were able to see each week, that type of feedback is exactly what I would think students need in order to help them reach their goals. Most of my teaching experience has been 4th grade and higher so it's probably easier for me to envision students taking charge of their learning than younger students. I have done goal setting throughout the year with students before and it was very gratifying to them to meet and exceed the goals they set for themselves. Others found it very motivating to continue working hard so they could reach their goals. This was not as data driven or specific as the example from the book but I believe it is a key component for students to be and feel successful.

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  50. I loved this chapter. Finally thinking about how to structure student time and the class in order for students to feel that school is meeting their needs. I want my students to be able to get most of their material from online resources so that other time in the class can be devoted to group projects.
    The benefit of an online web-based tool is that students can get immediate feedback as to their success and areas that need more work. I think I could add to this in the class by having something visual or a quick verbal acknowledgement in class when students succeed or reach a goal.

    It's also important to create group project time to allow social interactions with peers. I love putting humanities and language together to allow more time for projects that delve deeper into both areas. My students also have access to tutors so that they have more social interactions with community members as well.

    Finally, my students are also motivated by career connections. Most of my students are returning to school so they can get a better job. Education has to feel like it is helping them move in that direction. This can be accomplished by adding computer based job training and by integrating career related skills into other learning.

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    1. I love that your students are motivated by career connections. We have begun talking with our elementary to middle school age students about jobs that they may want to have someday. While we know it's unlikely that they actually know "what they want to be when they grow up" we think it's beneficial to see what type of reading and math skills they are going to need to be successful and start making strides toward that goal. If a 4th grader thinks they want to be a police officer, we can show them all the writing that policeman/policewomen do and the math that is required, etc. It really seems to motivate them and answers the "why do I have to learn this?" question.

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  51. How important do you think it is to design school so that students are motivated to learn and find learning enjoyable?
    I believe that designing a school where students are motivated to learn and find learning enjoyable is essential, but I also believe that learning is a key part of the educational experience. For my own son, I have witnessed an entire year where teachers and administrators cheered the "fun" experiences that were being provided, but in reality for my son those were not "fun", nor was the opportunity to learn being provided. Just as we are learning about individualized learning pathways, I think that we must remember that students have individual and unique motivators. Schools must provide many ways to motivate and engage all learners. The goal is for students to build that intrinsic motivation, but I believe that sometimes we teach that intrinsic love of learning with small steps. The book speaks about a starting point before we design (page 137), "to crawl inside the head of students and look at school through their eyes." This requires real time and relationships with students. We must KNOW who are students are not just who they appear to be. I loved the pitcher, water, bowl example. I think this would be a real visual for many of my middle school students. Even one that could be revisited throughout the year. We have such a mix of students, those who already feel successful and part of a group who want to be pushed academically and those who are frustrated by repeated failures and struggles with social situations.
    Figuring out the best way to design the school so all students are happy, engaged, and motivated is key.

    What are some experiences that could help your students feel successful and have fun with their friends? Some of these may be similar to or the same as those utilized by Summit Public School.
    Our grade level team works with data binders and goal setting with NWEA, but I believe that we can find a better way to track successes and goals on a daily/weekly basis rather than quarterly or three times a year. I think we can celebrate individual, small group, and whole class achievements. We know this when we celebrate growth for winter and spring NWEA, and we can add this on a regular basis. We have worked in both RTI and our Math X class to have students work on NWEA pathway that is at a student's individual level. Students who are motivated to achieve mastery find other students willing to help and cheer them during this process. I need to find a way to encourage those who have not bought in to this process. The quick feedback and collaboration is key to many students' progress.
    I know that the Summit's meta-experience about sustained periods of quiet deals with reading, but I hope to carve out some of this sustained periods of quiet for problem solving/logic in math this year.
    We have worked in to many of our days 4 square, whiffle ball, knock out and brain breaks; and I love to see all types of students working together, competing, laughing, and cheering. I believe that what we are doing at school with regard to physical activity and stress relieving is beneficial.

    Page 151 "Therefore the search for "best practices" is ill-advised. It is better to instead analyze a set of real circumstances and then design student experiences that are the best match for each context." So often, I feel like we are told that all teachers must use a prescribed method, when really each teacher has a unique set of students with a unique set of needs. I thought this statement was fitting.

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  52. I am an educator as well as a mother of 5. It breaks my heart to hear my children even at the age of kindergarten to say they hate school or school is a life sentence to boredom. I heave as an educator hearing them say that as if I took a dagger to the heart. As you probably can tell I think it is essential that students are part of the decision making process. Their input and buy in is essential. I love seeing a child excited when we work in a method that they excel, learn, and are motivated by. It also results in a decrease in misbehavior and wonderful discussions.
    The analogy shared in the book with the bowl and the water was wonderful. I plan on using that in my classroom this year. Students get out what they put in or allowed to be put in. However that will occur authentically when they are a part of the process and have ownership.
    We utilize group frequently in the classroom through projects such a creating a Rube device, scientific experiments, in the computer setting we have done this with the creation of power points that they utilize to instruct others as a group, and we have also utilized technology to research and create travel agent brochures to persuade classmates to make their next vacation to their planet. What I have found is when I give them perimeters, a rubric showing the expectation, deadline, and accountable feedback they soar better independently. I also hear purposeful and engaged conversations with their topics. Learning can and should be fun, engaging, meaningful, relevant, social, and even at times life changing!

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    1. I hated school. I never thought I would become a teacher. I had one teacher in 4th grade that made me love coming to class. We did a lot of fun things in her class like the projects you mentioned. Being able to work with my friends made me want to do well. She always seemed to be happy with a smile on her face. You are so right when you said that learning should be fun, engaging, meaningful, relevant, social, and life changing! I know it was for me, though I only had one teacher who truly changed my opinion of school. By middle school and high school it was lost. It took me volunteering in my daughter's kindergarten class to fall in love with teaching. I wanted to be a teacher that could make learning fun.

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  53. I enjoyed this chapter, too! In addition to the jobs that the authors identify as being most important to students, I have seen students hire school to be a safe haven. When a 6th grader is writing her personal narrative about the night the meth lab in her basement was busted, you know that she is needing school to provide more than just an education. She needed school to be a stable and supportive presence. I can see how blended learning helps that happen. When students need to spend some school time talking to teachers, counselors, administrators, etc. about problems in their lives, I can see how a blended model would allow more flexibility in the schedule to allow that to happen. When I think back on students like the one who wrote the unforgettable personal narrative, I remember how they aren't getting much involvement from home. Maybe they don't have anyone to recognize their successes and help them set goals. Having an online learning program that guides a student through this process with teacher mentors would help enormously to fill this void.

    I really admire how the Summit Schools incorporate choices into the school day. When I earned my Master's, I completed a research project to determine how offering more choices to my students might impact completion of work. When given choices, more students completed work than when the assignment was one-size-fits-all. It was interesting to see which choice each student picked. Some wanted a multiple-intelligence option that fit their personalities. Others just wanted a worksheet to "get it done." Summit offers so much flexibility with their Personalized Learning Time that students can work at their own paces. Project time allows them to choose work that is meaningful to them. I see how this type of schedule would accommodate all the different types of learners that I have met.

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  54. The jobs-to-be-done theory was very insightful. Over the years, like most teachers, I have been frustrated with how to motivate my students more. This chapter reduce the task to two jobs that students need filled to be motivated--feeling successful and having fun with friends. Horn and Staker explained that "the problem is that a surprising number of students just don't or can't feel successful...and find rewarding relationships at school." There are other competitors working to fill these jobs. As a result, students "hire" other people or things to complete these tasks for them, such as gangs, dropping out of school, hanging out with friends, playing video games, etc. Our classrooms have to be a place where students hire us to do these very important jobs for them. So how do we get hired? While the school corporation has already formally hired us, we need to be "hired" on a daily basis by our kids. The question that we have to constantly be asking ourselves is, "What are the experiences that we need to provide to get the job done perfectly?" To answer this, we must connect more with our kids. Building strong relationships with them will help us become better employees.

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    1. I completely agree that one of the keys to success for our students is our ability to build strong relationships with students. I thought it was interesting how you were able to connect that with the "jobs that students need filled" analogy referenced in this chapter. I like the idea that teachers need to be "hired" on a daily basis by our kids.

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  55. I went through this chapter wondering how this would work in my school and what it would look like. Currently, our district is very teacher centered- students have few choices about what they will learn. I absolutely see the value of having students set their own learning goals. I think this alone would be a powerful tool for engagement and motivation.

    I also noticed that the schedules in the chapter allowed time for personal learning time. I would love to incorporate that but with a short school day- there is barely enough time to get in writing, science, and social studies. I would love to have time for students to spend a portion of their time learning what they want to learn. I could possibly see fitting it in a couple times a week.

    I try to meet with students quarterly to review their goals and progress. I have seen this motivate students when they begin to see their progress. I am still working on ways to motivate those students who tend not to be so motivated to progress. I need to find different methods to reach these students. I want my school to be a place where the students find joy in learning. I love walking into a classroom and seeing students happy and engaged with their teachers and friends. These classrooms, I have noticed, are the ones that embrace the morning meetings. I have seen the value of morning meetings and feel that they need to be conducted every day to build a collaborative learning environment. Once you have that, you can do more group work successfully which is a motivator for students.

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  56. The authors stated on page 143, "The key is to crawl into the learners' skin and see their circumstances-including their anxieties, immediate problems, and innate motivations-from their point of view." This one statement in the whole chapter immediately rang true to me. My biggest struggle as an educator is to find what makes my students excited, get them engaged in learning, and find a way to trigger some kind of intrinsic motivation to have them rise to the occasion and be successful. I'm still struggling with that intrinsic motivation though. While the author does a decent job with comparing this situation with a business situation, in businesses, not performing often results in loss of pay. When students aren't motivating by receiving grades, what then do we have as the "dangling carrot" to get them to perform? It's a constant battle.

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    1. I agree with you that motivating students is a constant battle. There have been students that I have not found what motivates them. I don't know if it is realistic to trigger intrinsic motivation with all students. Even the greatest activity that everyone should love, there is that one who will try to ruin it for all. I think part of the problem is that we are dealing with so many emotional/psychological issues in our classrooms. The past couple years, I have found myself ill-prepared to deal with some of the mental challenges in the classroom. I support inclusion, but some just are not ready for that.

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  57. I think it’s very important that we design schooling experiences that motivate students to learn and enjoy school. I believe that begins with developing positive relationships and developing students’ natural curiosities.

    I agree with the authors that learning needs to be social. Naturally, kids love experiences where they have the opportunity to have fun with friends. I believe this is an important factor we have to keep in mind when designing digital learning experiences. Educational research has shown that the social aspects of learning are vital for student success. I wonder how students working through individual playlists in an online environment can integrate the social aspects of learning.

    I believe that experiences that are connected to the real-world and are project-based and collaborative are those that students will enjoy most. I believe Summit accomplished this by using online learning to free up time for Expeditions. Expeditions were a time when students were involved in project-based learning experiences off-campus in the real world. Many of our teachers have been able to find time for genius hour or 20% projects where students get to spend time exploring a topic that is of interest to them within the context of the curriculum.

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    1. I loved the Expeditions as well. The learning goes so much further when kiddos can see real life application. $ is always a factor when taking kiddos off-campus in our building.

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  58. I have found that those students who are motivated to learn have had success throughout their schooling. Those students who are not motivated usually will pull their weight when they know the teacher is on their side and cares. The one thing that I pulled from the chapter was seeing the class through my students eyes. If I were a student walking into my science classroom, how would I want to learn the material? It changes your mind set on how to present the material (standards) to your students. I know more hands on learning in groups is considered "fun" for 6th graders. I loved Summit's SMART goal #5. I don't think there is enough time given in a day for students to lose themselves in a book. I can't wait to incorporate time in my class for this.

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  59. It’s extremely important to design school so students find learning enjoyable. This is what motivates them to learn. I think motivation starts with positive teacher and student relationships, as well as the relationships with their peers and classroom community. We must take the time to get to know our students. I’ve found that allowing students to work together in pairs or small groups really motivates my kiddos. My students often beg to work with partners or small groups-they enjoy bouncing ideas off each other and just interacting with their classmates. We practice at the beginning of the year as to what this looks and sounds like. Reminders are needed throughout the year , but allowing kids to work in groups prepares them for their future. Goal setting is also important. Kids have goals for things such as NWEA and AR. At the start of the year, we work together to create those goals. By the end of the year, most kids can set challenging, yet attainable, goals. It’s rewarding to them when they make or surpass their goal. I’ve noticed that a lot of kids don’t get down on themselves when they do not achieve their goal; rather, they realize they may need to work a little harder or plan a little better to achieve their next goal.

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  60. this chapter is very interesting to me on several fronts. We (teachers) are required to make sure we cover all our standards and to asses learning. That does not leave a lot of time for "fun". It also talked about motivation. I teach middle school and my students (a lot of them) just do not care about school. They do not see the relevance in learning. I talk to them about real world things and they just do not care. Their world is focused on social. It is all about friends and who is with who. The kids that don't fit that profile, try very hard to fit in so they can be accepted. So motivation is a key to success. Am still trying to figure it out, but each new group is different and has different problems.

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  61. Obviously, designing school so that students are motivated to learn is a crucial piece to the education puzzle. We have operated under the idea that “school is for learning, not for having fun” for decades. Why can’t it be both?! Well, after watching these video clips, I am convinced it CAN. For students to WANT to come to school, to learn, to have fun is an amazing concept. I was very inspired, albeit challenged, by this chapter.

    While I can’t see myself incorporating a blended program the entire 90 minute block each day, I do see some potential for allowing students to work independently or in small groups in a station rotation setting. For example, a vocabulary station would have my students making their flashcards, working in their vocab packets, or recording original sentences using the vocabulary on Google Classrooms. Each of these activities could be done with a partner to achieve the “fun” part of their goal. The work they are doing will help them become successful in using the vocabulary correctly. Another station could be working their way through an online ELA program, much like the Ch. 5 Summit video example. Finally, I would most likely choose a text from the textbook or a writing assignment to work with a different small group each day (reading aloud, summarizing the text, etc) like I would normally do with the entire class as another rotation. At the end of the week, I could do a whole class instruction/assignment once all students had rotated through the small group.

    FYI: I have spent the last 90 minutes reviewing the Activate Instruction program (transferred to Gooru in 2015). It does have its cons (some interactive links are limited to a certain number of questions before you must create a charged account), but it seems to cover a wide gamut of topics and practice in the 7th grade ELA unit. Unless the book mentions another source, I may end up using this one in class.


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  62. I was very excited to read this chapter about how to motivate students. Last year seemed particularly bad with student motivation. They often seemed content to sit without working to advance their skills. I found the jobs to be done theory interesting.
    1. They want to be successful. I think different students (and adults for that matter) have different definitions of success. Some students don't see value in school because parents see little value in school. I do believe that students want to improve on skills they think are important. I'm not sure how to get them to view certain boring skills like multiplication facts as skills that are important. I do love to see the pride and sparkle in the eyes of students who have worked really hard and improved their skills (makes it a good day to go to school)
    2. Having fun with friends seems to be the job that drives most of my kiddos often to the detriment of the first job.

    I liked the schedule of the Summit schools and I was trying to figure out how my school could do a similar thing. Our school days are shorter so time adjustments would need to be made.

    On page 152 the author says "to offer the student 8 hours a week in schools and 8 hours at home" of Personalized Learning Time. I hope the program would interest them highly because many of our kiddos don't spend 8 hours a week on school work at home. It isn't part of their home life.

    I do love the idea of the community being involved as mentors and having a time to meet with students one on one not to simply discuss their data but to get to know them and know more than what data can give us. I will be checking out some of the programs they outlined to see if they would work for my students.

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  63. I think that this design model has been successful for Summit because their stakeholders have thought about the resources needed to effectively construct this particular design model. Most of us wouldn’t have the resources available (especially the man-power) to consider this design model. It’s based on a lot of individual accountability-- individual learning goals, individually tracked progress, individualized data, quiet independent reading, etc. It would be great for developing more meaningful relationships with students. I don’t think, however, that this model would necessarily have a huge impact on curriculum design as a whole, for us, as it would be really hard to navigate the intersection of those motivates, especially in a large classroom. Maybe we could recreate one or two of the elements in this design but overall I don’t think it would work well due to the size of our school and classrooms.

    It is important to engage students--whether that is taking place through the blended-learning model or a more traditional model of teaching. Believe it or not, a truly passionate lecture can be just as engaging as a project-based learning project. When planning lessons, I have always tried to think about the content that needs to be cover and how to make that content engaging/relevant to students--not the “fun-factor.” If students have “fun with friends” as a by-product of classroom engagement that’s awesome but it should not be a driving force in curriculum or school design. Education is important. Curriculum design is important. Engagement in learning is important. It feels, to me, that we are cheapening the value of education if we are considering the “fun-factor” as a driving force in curriculum development. Time and time again this chapter tied design to the “fun-factor” as a way to motivate student learning. I disagree with this idea. I think we should think more about meaningful engagement with students and content.

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    1. I very much agree with your thoughts, especially the second paragraph. I think "fun" in the classroom is a great thing, and I aim to make as many of my lessons as fun as possible, but more importantly I try to make it relevant. When I start planning a lesson, one of the first things I usually ask myself is, "why do the students need to learn this?" Following that question I ask myself, "how could this be used in real life?" These are the two most common questions I hear from students in my math class. I wholeheartedly agree that relevancy and engagement in the material is far more important than the students having "fun." And just maybe, if I can help the students discover something new, they might be able to find joy in something they never knew about before.

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  64. I think motivating kids in schools to learn is the most important key to getting them to learn. I have always felt that you can't make a child learn...you must get them to want to learn. Each child learns in so many different ways that it is important to reach all those different types of learning in the classroom. Which can often be a struggle in test driven schools. I love the way the Summit Schools have set up their learning model. Especially the expeditions. Real life experience are so crucial...they connect kids to life in a meaningful way.

    I also really connected with the Summit taking into consideration the populations of the kids (sleep deprived, hunger, bad home lives, etc). As a teacher when those kiddos walk through your door...you never know what they have left at home.

    I read on another comment that the Summit Model is a great but seems like a big dream. Maybe...or Maybe teachers, schools, and communities can work together to make the necessary changes. Change education and make the kids want to learn again.

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  65. When it comes to motivation, I believe I do pretty well at this. The most important thing to remember is not all students are motivated by the same things. That Is why we need to get to know our students on a more personal level. I attend concerts and ball games. I am often invited to birthday parties and I go..with a card.(I do not want to start a precedent). In fact, through the years of teaching I have been invited to graduations, weddings, baby showers, and was invited to be recognized as a student's most influential teacher. What a feeling! But this is an ongoing process, not just a day or a week but an entire year. Don't be afraid to let them see most sides of you.

    I set up my classroom to be inviting. They are children(second grade) and need a childlike atmosphere. I change it frequently and they never know when it will happen. This excites them.

    Every year I have one student that just will not let me in so they can have fun. That is the one I have to dive harder in to. The idea of ticket rewards that they can use to stay after school and spend time alone with me is a great idea. I will try that this year and see if it makes a difference for them.

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  67. I really enjoyed this chapter. It was more enjoyable to read than the others. The examples were more interesting and most were about education. I think that everyone has hit the nail on the head with this one. Student motivation is so important. I liked the part about asking the students their opinion. Even things that I would think of as fun did not interest some of my students. We have a math program on the IPADS that is like playing games and yet I had several students who were uninterested about playing. It wasn't that the work was too hard or not hard enough, they simply didn't want to do it. I liked the 8 steps that Summit did to personalize learning. Throughout the whole chapter I was brainstorming ways to use it in my own classroom. Last week I was switched from PreK to 2nd grade. What a big jump! I have a lot of new things to learn for this year as well as learning blended learning.

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    1. I too think that learning should be fun... occasionally. In an ideal world all experiences would memorable and fun, but they're not. There are moments in life where relationships/jobs/ and life won't be fun and I feel it would be an inaccurate picture of life to make all school experiences FUN. What do you think? I think it should vary on the age group we're working with....

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  68. All of the incentives, new strategies, and shiny gadgets are meaningless if students are not motivated to learn. I believe that this is ultimately why schools fail when implementing new technology programs. Kids get devices but instruction never changes. The kids are not motivated to learn in what is essentially the same old system.

    This chapter addresses what students "want": to have fun and be successful in school. Traditional instruction, that includes students sitting silently in rows, working independently, and memorizing information, does not meet these needs. Students today need to work collaboratively with their peers while they create meaningful products. Technology is the foundation that will allow this type of instruction to occur.

    Educators today must reevaluate and revise how they teach. Students must be allowed voice and choice in their education. They must be allowed to work at a pace to obtain individual mastery. Not all students learn the same or at the same pace, and educators today must take this need for differentiation into consideration when planning instruction. Valuable and timely feedback while completing meaningful and relevant work is a must in today's classrooms.

    As educators today, our job is no longer one of providing content to students. (YouTube does this must cheaper than the average teacher's salary!) If we don't want to become obsolete, we must switch our focus. AJ Juliani and John Spencer use the term "guide on the ride". Our role today is to empower students, to help them discover what they are passionate about and how to achieve success using their individual strengths. As teachers, we must guide them through this "ride" as they become independent creators in today's society.

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  69. I think that the idea of identifying the jobs to be done is one of the most critical aspects of the educational process. Designing curriculum for students that fulfills the jobs they want to accomplish while also teaching them crucial content should always be the goal of teachers. The students will benefit if the underlying feeling of the instruction that they receive is one of accomplishing their goals. If they are able to see real time progress as well as feel like they are having fun in a social environment, they will progress faster and master more information. I am planning to implement several different strategies in my classroom this year for specifically these purposes. I am planning to implement Kagan learning structures to help bolster student engagement and a satisfactory element of social interaction among them. I am also using several online programs that are engaging and have easy to use feedback for the students. I am trying to think of different ways that I can encourage the students to set new learning goals for themselves, but I worry this may be a daunting task for little guys. I am hoping to create a classroom climate that will allow me to be more of a facilitator of the learning taking place and a resource for students to use rather than the traditional "teacher has all the answers" role. I think that the more I read about blended learning, the more I realize that I have already been thinking about the ideas of non consumption in my school and have unwittingly been taking steps to address those issues for my students. This book is helping to give me names for the things I am doing as well as to help clarify the ideas that I am trying to work through.

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  70. Finding what motivates each child is what all teachers and administrators strive to achieve. I think since students use technology so much at school and at home, schools have to rethink how they are using it because it's not new and exciting anymore. It's not motivating to use it. It's normal and expected. With more schools incorporating STEM classes, students are getting introduced to new types of technology and uses of technology. These classes are very exciting especially in our elementary schools. Be a "student" in your class - is the use of your technology a "filler" or is it enhancing or motivating?

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  71. Our school system is studying assessment under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Guskey. In one of our studies, he stated that allowing students to experience success in real, relevant content at the start of the course is crucial. He stressed the importance of designing this success because it will help students buy into the course more readily. Then, that was echoed on page 147 where it stressed success and having fun. This is something that I am working to build into my course with the coming school year. With the introduction of 1:1 technology this past year, I built in more collaborative work for my students. One project they really seemed to enjoy was when they wrote adaptations for the Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare. Students analyzed characterization, they discussed theme and explored plot development. Then, they created a new work that had characters with similar characteristics as the originals. They story was new, but it still had a similar theme. For two years now, students expressed how much fun they had with this project. What I liked best about it was the level of analysis used to by students in a process they enjoyed so intensely. I want to work on creating more projects such as this one. I will build on original success and then incorporate more interaction between students.

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  72. It seems essential to draw students to a desire to learn. The goals of a student to feel successful and enjoy time with their friends seems right on target. I'm not totally clear after reading this chapter quite how to blend those goals with the goals of education in general. At the middle and high school levels, I'm not quite sure how to present school in a new way that somehow overcomes the negativity of past experiences. I struggle with the idea of getting students to "choose to hire" school when, generally speaking, the expectation is that they are in the building and "forced" to participate. I'm not sure if I'm stuck in old-school mode or not, but it seems like we've got to work to help students see the value of their education and not just present it as a way to get to their goals of success and time with friends. Engagement and student buy-in is absolutely essential, but I feel like seeking to present school as a way to meet their success/friends goal feels like tricking them into choosing to hire school. Or maybe it's a means to an end??

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  73. Student motivation is very important to me as a teacher. However it can also be extremely overwhelming. I, of course, want my students to be motivated and hungry for the knowledge and experiences I offer them. I want them to want to come to school and be engaged in their education. I want their parents to be engaged and hungry as well.
    I try to reinvent the wheel nearly year trying to come up with things that will motivate my students to read, learn their math facts, study their spelling words, or complete a ribbon-worthy science fair project. A lot of times I get frustrated because the students that are the most responsive tend to be the ones that I wasn't worried about to begin with! And, of course, we all have students in our classroom that struggle to be motivated by school because life is hard for them. They are tired, hungry, sometimes abused, sleep deprived, or do not have access to medical care.
    As I have started thinking and imagining what my blended classroom is going to look like this year, I have started thinking about how to change my schedule and curriculum (as best I can, as I don't have complete control over this) so as to motivate my students in the areas that I do have some control over. I think that by incorporating a station rotation model that allows me to have my students work on the Chromebooks while I am doing more intervention and small group remediation will, hopefully, provide my students with a more individualized and personal approach to their education. I also really like that the book mentioned some time set aside for sustained reading. This is something we discussed as a school last year and felt that we needed to add to our schedules across the board this upcoming year. I look forward to adding this into my schedule. I also really want to increase the number of collaborative learning opportunities I provide my students.
    I feel like this upcoming school year is going to be one of ongoing professional development and trial and error. My #1 goal is to incorporate more and meaningful technology. I am hoping this also satisfies my goal of increasing student engagement and motivation. I will be looking to my students for feedback and gauging my success on student achievement and success as well as parent feedback.

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  74. I think it is critically important to design school so that students are motivated to learn and find learning enjoyable. A student who isn’t motivated to learn, is a student who isn’t going to learn much, and even if the unmotivated learn material “for the test” they aren’t likely to retain it for a longer period. I think that part of what keeps a student motivated in class for a year is their success in the class. A successful student knows that he can learn the material, and approaches new topics with a positive outlook. I try to grade papers quickly, and write helpful hints on the work I hand back (an exhausting process with 150+ students) so that students can quickly see what they understand and what they do not understand. I also try to quickly identify students struggling, so that I can help them master the material. When they have questions, I try to lead them to the correct answer instead of just telling them the answer so that they have a sense of figuring it out for themselves. Hopefully this gives them a feeling that they can be successful in the class. Unfortunately, some students who do not feel successful give up, and stop working for the class which can send them into a downward spiral if this is not addressed quickly.

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  75. WOW what a chapter! I really enjoyed this chapter. My fist AH HA moment was the use of the water and a cup, making it open to be filled with learning. I believe even a younger child can understand.
    I really enjoyed reading about the challenges our children bring into school and how to address those in your blended learning experience. I know that we have students in our building that will have a "blow up" and then it becomes apparent as to why when they sleep the remainder of the afternoon. Addressing each school's climate challenges seems to be critical as we all know that not 2 schools are ever alike.
    I have dabbled into goal setting for my students. I struggle with the time it takes to meet with the students and to do that regularly. I want to make it more of a goal this upcoming year as this book stated, it is very important in the child's ability to learn and be more involved in that learning as a goal.
    There are a few teachers in my building, that my principal as shared with me, that do this, have a procedure and do it well. Talking with them and getting the "nuts and bolts" of what they use may be a good starting point.
    Relationships are big. This chapter also hit on that. I have always been told that this is a strength for me. I continue to build on this, as I am sure all teachers do. How do I make myself available to the students to talk if they need me? How do I continue to say the right things? etc. All are questions I feel I ask myself.

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    1. Hi Jenni, I like the point you made about setting goals. We use to have a program that I used with my kids and it plotted the points and showed the trend line every time they took a test. I loved that program, because I could quickly show each of my students their charts and talk to them about what they needed to do the next time. Unfortunately we no longer have that program, so now I feel like I'm in the same boat as you. How do I make goal setting efficient and where do I find the time? I would love to hear any tips or ideas that you get from other teachers in your building.

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  76. I think it is extremely important that students are motivated to learn and that they find learning enjoyable. As learners, they will retain so much more information if they have the willingness to learn along with putting forth their best effort. Their attitude towards school affects their academics. This made me think a lot about teaching my students to love to read. It’s not something I want to force them to do (although sometimes you have to); I want them to have the urge to pick up a good book and to love books! I am a big advocate for hands on activities. They learn so much more from experiences rather than a worksheet.

    Another important aspect that will impact a student’s motivation is the connection with the teacher. I believe it’s critical in any classroom for students to have success, the teacher needs to take time to know their students. You can’t meet the needs of your students if you don’t know them! By understanding your students, you will better be able to provide instruction to fit their learning needs.

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    1. I agree that students need to have a connection with their teacher to help them be motivated to learn, which will help them be successful in school. I like how Summit uses the personal learning time on the computer to free up teachers to help individuals. I feel that this "hands-off" teaching time allows teachers to actually be more invested with their students and help them on a more personal level. I would like to implement this in the adult education program where I work.

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  77. I enjoyed the part where it talks about teacher perspective in blended learning, mentioning how to get teachers to "buy in" to this type of curriculum. Allowing teachers to team teach is one of the blended designs mentioned. I am privileged to be in a co-taught classroom as the general education teacher two out of my five blocks. I have been on the side of the special educator as well so I understand both roles and the positive aspects. I do agree with the author when he talks about how our current teaching environment is often very isolating. Of course motivating students is extremely important and often challenging; perhaps blended designs will be motivating for college students to join our profession especially with the teacher shortages that we have seen lately in our state.

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  78. Loved this chapter. Motivation is key to student learning, student achievement and acceptance of the classroom. If students enjoy the learning experience and find joy in learning they will excel. designing a learning process where students are involved and eager to learn is hard work, but well worth the reword. I like the jobs to be done theory as a tool to help design. If you have students buy into the architecture of a job and identify the job to be done and the priorities expected,especially by participating in the design process, learning can become exciting. I also totally buy into the idea that some experiences are universal, but others depend on factors that come from a students environment, background, individual circumstances. I know of a student who was struggling mightily in the the public school system and drowning in the pool of traditional learning. He was literally a 0.86 student and 180 in a class of 185. He dropped out. When he was challenged with helping to design hes personalized learning program and was immersed in a blended environment he excelled. He completed his high school requirements and earning his high school diploma with very high grades. It all depended on his motivation and his willingness to buy into a differently learning design. Still I have students who do not want to participate in anything but a feed me class. Just tell me what you want me to learn or answer on a test and I will do it. Don't ask me to participate in a project or discuss a topic I have researched, just tell me what you want me to know. This type of student can be a real challenge. Using the techniques discussed in the book, I can make a better effort to reach these students. Student willingness to learn is key to blended learning as well as the overall education experience.
    In my IB classes we use a variety of methods in our classes. Students actually like using different methods many of which I consider blended. 5 years ago we had 16 students in the IB Psychology program. Last year I had 155. Students are buying into discussion and research based classes. Students are buying into project based learning. When students are motivated and buy into the process good things happen.

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  79. Chapter 5 Motivating the Students....I very much agree this is the most important part of education. It does not matter what the school, grade level, subject, classroom, assignment, project, or assessment is....if the students do not have buy-in, they will not have success or try to succeed. I thought at the beginning of my reading that this would clear it up for myself to understand blended classrooms better...but then they started talking about The jobs-to-be-done theory and hiring milkshakes..:) Everyone knows the only reason you get a milkshake is to enjoy it and yes fruit or thickness does matter. I think today's milkshakes in the classroom are now called "fidget spinners".
    I most understood the concept of employees not wanting to go to the gym to work out unless they could see some monetary benefit in the form of lower insurance prices.
    It is good to recognize that students do want to be successful in their education and have fun with their friends. If we can find more ways to incorporate both of those at the same time, we can hopefully engage more students.
    I did like reading through Summit's SMART goals. These all seem vital and attainable in most school situations. I agree that most students we see today are chronically sleep deprived and need to find more time for physical exercise. In a perfect educational situation, we would not see our students going through adverse stressful experiences that are detrimental to their educational experience....but that is the society we live in. We need to try to incorporate all students into successful educational opportunities, whatever they look like, blended, factory, etc. etc.
    The last item that was humorous to me was the term the authors used: EXPEDITIONS, call them what they are, Field trips.

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    1. Steve,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, you make excellent points. Students need the reason for doing something, they need to feel valued, they need to feel energized and they need to feel driven. These can only happen if we as educators begin changing how we teach.

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  80. Educators must begin to really think about what “school” means today. How we have taught in the past will probably not work in the 21st Century. Change is difficult, but needed in our education system. That change in my opinion, involves taking advantage of the available technology with a generation who lives and breathes technology. Is motivation and effort teachable skills? I remember my own child’s 2nd grade teacher. She did not like his penmanship so she would write “sloppy” on all his papers along with a frowning face. He was not motivated to learn. How sad that this teacher felt it necessary to put down my child. I am challenges myself this year to find new ways to motivate my students.
    Schools today are extremely important for socialization. I always laugh at the end of the school year – students are free to leave, but they don’t. I use lots of competitive games in my class. I have also put out puzzles for students to work on together. Last year one of my students liked to read while sitting on the floor – I brought her in a pillow for her back. Some of you may also be reading Poor Students, Rich Teaching, which lists 17 different brain-smart motivators. Number one on the list is to “call a task an experiment” instead of a test. If you have not read this book, I would suggest you might find it interesting.
    Summit schools are certainly a success. Sometimes I feel like my school does piece meal changes. Summit has gone all in. They got the buy in from the community, parents, students, teachers, and administrators. When that type of buy in happens school will be successful.

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    1. Mollie I completely agree. School needs to look different for the 21st century student. I also like how Summit has set-up their classrooms. I feel that schools overall would be more successful if more and more districts would take an approach similar to Summit and modify their school days to center around student learning.

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  81. I found this chapter extremely interesting and insightful. I agree with the idea that school should be designed to intrigue students and make them want to learn. I also agree that the current style of classroom is not doing the “job” for students. There are some fortunate children that fall within the right personality type and are motivated enough to do school in its current style. Many students, however, fall outside this specific type. I agree with the authors that if we want students to buy into school and work hard at learning we must create an environment that allows students to be successful and have fun with their peers.

    As an adult educator, I believe our students’ “job” is slightly different from the job that is being filled for the K-12 students. Adult learners know they need a diploma to be successful in the real world. They know that finishing our program can get them a better paying job or is the first step to extending their education in college or trade school. I feel that our students are looking to hire for the job of a diploma, but want that position filled as quickly as possible. They need a program that works around their busy schedules that are already full from work, kids, and various other activities. I believe that blended learning will help students reach their goal of getting their high school diploma in a timely manner. With the help of online curriculum, students can have the ability to work at home in their spare time. They can use their precious class time to ask questions of their teacher and further their knowledge through real-world projects.

    Our adult education program uses a particular software that instructs students in each subject area while letting their teacher track their success and modify their learning track. This software is similar to the Activate Instruction, now located at gooru.org, used by the Summit Schools. The problem is our teachers’ inability to use this software consistently. If we could utilize the technology we already have and teach our teachers how to effectively guide student learning with the program, students would be able to move through our program at their own pace. I like that gooru.org is free to all who wish to use it.

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  82. I have mixed feelings about this chapter. I do believe that student interest, perspective, and motivating factors are important to consider; but what about establishing a strong work ethic, and learning to do something because it is necessary and advantageous? I don't think I should have to constantly "sell" my curriculum, but I do feel like students need to understand why we do the things we do. Sometimes it may not be fun or we may not like it as well as others, but it will always be necessary. I'm not sure the writers addressed that to my satisfaction. It seemed to be rather coddling to me, but then I've taught for 24 years and maybe I'm just old fashioned. I want students to learn to work hard and to appreciate it for its own sake. All that being said, the authors do have a point that students need to feel successful or have opportunities for success and positive interactions with peers. Working at the "just right level" is hard to achieve for all students in a class of 30-35. We often have to eyeball it and aim for the middle missing a significant portion of our student population. Blending learning seems to be able to help with that. I am intrigued by the Summit model, but I am curious as to how many students they are in charge of per day. We typically see 160 students or more per day that's a lot of individualized planning. What type of resources are available to help with that? Summit mentors approx 15 students per day, is that the sum total of their student load, or do they have a regular teacher's schedule?
    As to how this applies to me for next year, I think I need to do a better job of project based learning. I try to design one or two a grading period, but with writing assignments on top of that; it gets rather cumbersome to grade. I use rubrics for all grading but am open to other time management suggestions. What do all of you do to engage students in just right challenging activities that are motivating and academically sound?
    Thanks

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  83. I agree that it is important to design school so that students are motivated to learn and find learning enjoyable. That is one of my biggest goals to motivate students and make learning fun. I currently work with rotation stations in my classroom. Many of my students tell me that they like stations and look forward to coming to my class. I know there are many things I need to tweak to improve on what I am doing. I liked the analogy of finding what job needs to be filled. The eight goals that were listed by Summit made me think of what I could do to better meet students' needs (jobs).

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  84. I’m not sure how I feel about this chapter. While I can look back at my time in school and identify challenging learning experiences that were tailored to meet my needs as some of my favorites, I can’t say that they made me work any harder. (In fact I worked hardest in some of the classes I hated because they were tough and I had to in order to succeed.) I also don’t think that I can connect my experiences in the classes I enjoyed to my success in the workplace. Instead I would connect that to my own personal drive and internal motivation.

    As part of a STEAM initiative in our district, a group of teachers recently attended a two day training which included visiting businesses in our community. One theme that many of the employers echoed was that kids who are coming out of high school don’t want to work. They want to step in to a six figure job, but they don’t want to put in the time or effort to climb the corporate ladder in order to get to that point. For example, one of our career center teachers had a connection with a local company. They had five positions that they wanted to fill, but in order to fill them, students would need to complete an apprenticeship program which included reporting to work everyday at 6 AM. Despite the promise down the line of a job that earned $80,000+ a year, all five students he offered it to turned it down because 6 AM was too early to get up. Experiences like this make me question whether we spend too much time trying to get kids to “like” school.

    Yes, we want students to be successful. Yes, we want them to develop social relationships so they can be effective communicators. Yes, we want them to be self motivated and we want them to be driven. However, I guess I’m still not convinced that putting them in an environment where we tailor things to focus on allowing them to be successful and have fun with friends will really help us accomplish those goals. I think I still need more proof that schools that embrace a blended model really do help students embrace failure and deal with adversity as well as teach them a host of other workforce related skills.

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    1. I had similar feeling while reading the book and this chapter so far. I feel that so many of the examples and studies are done in areas in which money is easy to come by or students are already doing well they just wanted a little more. I don't think the large majority of these ideas would work in small town USA where every dime is watch and has a purpose.

      I agree that most kids don't want to work, they've been handed everything they've ever wanted without having to work hard or fail at anything. I understand that students want to succeed and progress through their learning but if a student is in 8th grade and at a 1st grade reading level that student is going to struggle to succeed. I think as a society we worry to much about people failing because in the moment failing sucks, and it does but it's also a potential learning moment. They can either reflect on why they failed or they can go home and cry to mommy because she always tells them they are the greatest person in the world.

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    2. Courtney, the story from the career center keeps sticking in my mind. I am often concerned that we are working too hard to keep kids engaged by catering to them and therefore they don't learn that work ethic piece. Life is not always about just what you want, but about making some sacrifices (time, effort, "boredom", etc.) to get there. Let's prepare the kids for the road ahead, not prepare the road for the kids. Having said all that, of course I do believe you have to connect with kids, respect them, and present material in a way that is appropriately engaging for the age level.

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    3. Travis _ I could not agree with you more! Comparing our students in Indiana, regardless of whether they come a mainly rural area or large urban environment to these students in Silicon Valley, in a upper-middle class environment is like comparing apples to oranges. The key is if education is valued at home or not. If education is valued, the students are going to find a way to do what they should do. If education is not valued, it is going to be a uphill battle.

      You can save some of them by relating lessons to their interests, but it will not work ALL the time. There are going to be some of them that don't care to learn either because of other battles they are fighting outside of school or because education is not deemed important at home.

      Nice post!

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  85. It has taken me a long time to get into this book. I kept waiting for that drive to keep reading, and I happened to have found it in Chapter 5. I have worked in 2 completely different types of schools; one was extremely large, needed every type of technology possible, wanted to win every award, student success and drive were key if you were going to teach at this school. The other school is small, faith-filled, push you to be your personal best and above all students come first. The one thing both these schools have in common is trying to keep students actively engaged. It didn't matter how much technology or how many awards our school had, we first needed to keep our students focused and engaged. I might be the only teacher out there who feels this way, but I love trying to engage my students. I am constantly changing how I teach just so I can help my students love school. All students handle school differently and I believe my job is not to MAKE them love school, but help them realize that school is a way to investigate your likes and dislikes. I want my students to leave my classroom feeling like they mattered, believe they can do anything and have fun learning new things. Even if school is not for you, you can still feel a joy about what passions you do have.

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  86. We work with students at the middle level to realize we are providing opportunities to explore new things. This year our 6th grade team planned all of our field trips based on STEM experiences or college exposure. When we came back to reflect or as we were involved in the experiences, we discussed with students the value of appreciating what others do and love, even if in the process you realize it is not for you. It was a different viewpoint for many students who were used to only evaluating experiences on their personal enjoyment. We had students be able to articulate their reasons for not wanting to study a certain subject in college, but they recognized how amazing their classmates were in fields they did not know existed.

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  87. First of all, as to the initial question asked for this chapter, I think we can all agree that it is of utmost importance to design a school so that students are motivated to learn and find learning enjoyable. Is this not the "holy grail" we as teachers are all seeking for our students? How to do this is the question that plagues each of us on a weekly, daily and even minute-by-minute basis. This essentially is our job.

    As to the chapter itself, this was one of the most enjoyable and interesting ones that I have read thus far. To "crawl inside the students' heads and look at school through their eyes" is something I think tends to get forgotten at times. Delineating the two highest priorities for most students as "wanting to feel successful" and "to have fun with friends" hit the nail on the head.

    I think what would help students feel more of this at our school and in my classroom is giving them more choice. I love how the Summit school gave students the ability to formulate their own goals, move at their own pace and utilize a learning method that worked best for them. I would love to incorporate this into my own classroom if it is too much of an endeavor for my entire school to adopt right now. I would love to be able to research and explore the Activate software used in the school and see how I could adapt and integrate some of its structures. If not this, this chapter motivated me to explore the idea of project based learning more and see how I could use that much more in my room. I will be working with a teacher this year as we teach the same class...she is young and can hopefully help me figure out how to best use this.

    I also think the idea of "Expeditions" out into the real world would be beneficial. It touches on students' individual passions, allows time for face-to-face interactions with other students and teachers, and gets kids out in the community and into the world that we are trying to prepare them to become productive members of.

    Indeed, as Jack Frymier said, "If the kids want to learn, we couldn't stop them. If they done, we can't make them." Now to explore how I can best do this in my classroom.

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    1. Expeditions are very beneficial! In my charter school in North Carolina we did community service and career oriented expeditions where the whole school was out in small focus groups for the day. However! this is not a reality in a large public school and we can bearly get approval for a field trip.

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  88. I am conflicted on whether we should make school a "game"-fun all the time or whether it should be like a job. For the students, school is their job until they graduate, and I believe they need to treat it as such. I'm not that old, but that was the way school was when I went, your job. You did the best you could, listened to the teachers and respected them because they knew more than you, listened to your parents and had high expectations placed upon you to do the best you could in your classes. Now, the kids think everything needs to be fun or entertaining. No, it doesn't. I think that making everything fun and entertaining is lessening the educational experience.

    For kids to feel successful, we need to show them things that they could be successful in, such as taking them on field trips and have career days where they can see jobs and futures that they can succeed in, not just those that require 4 year degrees. Also, trainings and classes where they learn real life skills--for example, I went to school in a very rural area, and part of our Ag classes was lawnmower safety, ATV safety, hunter's education-all things that kids in my school did/used at an early age, so why not train kids properly to use the equipment that they will use in everyday life?

    I want my kids to feel like they are successful, but maybe we need to look at how we are doing that and adjust to the needs the kids have in a given community.

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    1. I think you stated many of my thoughts very clearly. We live in a rural area also, and I often do not understand or agree with the push to adopt and do things like many of the township schools. We must know our own students and community.

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    2. Amy - You mention a very valid point that not everything can be "Fun & games". The games have their place, but it isn't realistic to do it everyday. That is not the way life works. As educators we should show the purpose or value to the students of what we are teaching. As others have mentioned, there is just as much value in the "process" than there is in the idea itself.

      Great ideas and thoughts! Very relevant for many of us!

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  89. I believe student motivation to learn is the one of the biggest barriers I, as a middle school teacher, face. Our educational system quickly goes from preschool or kindergarten where kids happily exclaim "I get to go to school!" to, by 2nd or 3rd grade, they begrudgingly moan "I HAVE to go to school." By the time I see them in 8th grade, they have either experienced much success or much failure. Many of those who are successful have figured out the system...make the adults happy by telling them the answers they want to hear. Those who have not experienced success try to do as little as possible to be noticed academically. In either case, an overwhelming majority are fearful of taking chances when it comes to learning. The good students CAN'T be wrong and the poor students are tired of being wrong. I started 20% Learning last year. Once we got past the hurdles of "It's ok if your project doesn't turn out they way you expected." and "There is no single correct answer to your question." (and it took awhile), the kids loved being able to learn things based on their interests. I was blown away by the topics they chose and the excitement they displayed. I informally assessed them on the process to keep them on track. The only students who were upset about not getting a major grade were good students, which reaffirmed their true motivation for learning. I am looking forward to doing this again this year.

    I think as long as we, as educators, believe that we are the sources of the knowledge, we will continue to see our students go through the motions of learning without much ownership or intrinsic motivation. I believe it is vital that we make education more personal to each student. This is a huge undertaking in which technology is not the answer. However, at this point, it is one of the big pieces of the puzzle.

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  90. I believe student motivation to learn is the one of the biggest barriers I, as a middle school teacher, face. Our educational system quickly goes from preschool or kindergarten where kids happily exclaim "I get to go to school!" to, by 2nd or 3rd grade, they begrudgingly moan "I HAVE to go to school." By the time I see them in 8th grade, they have either experienced much success or much failure. Many of those who are successful have figured out the system...make the adults happy by telling them the answers they want to hear. Those who have not experienced success try to do as little as possible to be noticed academically. In either case, an overwhelming majority are fearful of taking chances when it comes to learning. The good students CAN'T be wrong and the poor students are tired of being wrong. I started 20% Learning last year. Once we got past the hurdles of "It's ok if your project doesn't turn out they way you expected." and "There is no single correct answer to your question." (and it took awhile), the kids loved being able to learn things based on their interests. I was blown away by the topics they chose and the excitement they displayed. I informally assessed them on the process to keep them on track. The only students who were upset about not getting a major grade were good students, which reaffirmed their true motivation for learning. I am looking forward to doing this again this year.

    I think as long as we, as educators, believe that we are the sources of the knowledge, we will continue to see our students go through the motions of learning without much ownership or intrinsic motivation. I believe it is vital that we make education more personal to each student. This is a huge undertaking in which technology is not the answer. However, at this point, it is one of the big pieces of the puzzle.

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  91. I agree with the author that education is not the job students want to do. Success and having fun is the job. Education is something they hire to get the job done. Most teachers know that students need to feel they are successful but do not understand that students want to have fun. This is equally important but as educators we see the factory simply as a place to learn.
    My school was very chaotic and I tried many times to get teachers and administrators to understand our students are lacking the social element in their home environment. I thought if we could incorporate fun time with learning time the school would get better results. This did not happen. Everyone wanted fun activities as a reward. Most students behavior did not warrant any rewards.
    Personalize learning is written out in my students IEPs. They are able to see their achievements more rapidly. GE teachers concentrate on what the students need to achieve according to state standards. They move the class along rather than the individual student.
    Maybe, if the teacher's evaluation was different it would help. I believe teachers are caught up on expectations from the administration. Our goals should be success and fun with students. We can then focus on how to make learning fun.

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  92. As a teacher, I feel like it is my job to not only teach math. I need to teach my students to become life long learners. It is of great importance that we motivate our students to learn, not just motivate them to learn each individual subject. As students learn to enjoy the process of learning, they become more motivated.

    I have found that as you involve students more in the process of their learning, they become more engaged/motivated in it. In my cotaught geometry class, we have binder checks every week, as well as a test every Friday. In our binder checks, students are graded on their organization and t heir completion of weekly assignments. As a way to get the students to take their binder checks more seriously, we put their weekly binder check grades next to their weekly test scores in an excel spreadsheet. After they had all of their scores in, we created a line graph that showed the relationship between their scores. Several students were able to notice that when they had high binder check scores, their test scores were high also; when their binder check scores dropped, their test scores did too. I thought this was a good way to make their scores more visual and a little more tangible.

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    1. Nice job of showing the correlation of binder checks to test scores excellent idea. This allows students' to see first hand the value of takig notes or doing the work assigned daily. Excellent idea and post!

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  93. Just like everyone else has already said, I think that it is very important for students to be involved and motivated when it comes to learning. One of the best things that I have heard as a teacher is "I was having so much fun, and we were learning at the same time". I have heard so many teachers say that with ISTEP and IREAD they have so many standards to follow that they can make the content that they teaching "fun". I also think that with teacher evaluations, alot of teachers want to play it safe and make sure that they are constantly teaching without any down time. Whenever I'm coming up with interactive lessons there are also alot of different transition so I'm always afraid that the principal with see all of these transitions or if the kids are laughing and really enjoying themselves and say that I'm not using all of my given time properly.

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    1. I completely agree! There is so much pressure in school right now (for students, teachers, and administrators) to prove that they're all doing a great job that I think a lot of this gets pushed aside. I hadn't even thought about how teacher evaluations played into this, but you're absolutely right.

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  94. I feel that sometimes we hear these great ideas and turn around to do the job. The problem with that is that sometimes the changes that have been made aren’t also the most effective. Having a school design that supports and motivates students is essential. Whether this is having schedules like the ones of page 158 or some other system. Once someone finds one that works perfectly, let us know.
    I feel that students eagerness to learn is critical to their learning. Starting on day one to build relationships with each and every student that you will help with this. Teaching at the high school level, I have struggled constantly with trying to keep students motivated and it being a math class makes it even more difficult for some to stay motivated. Having lessons that relate to real-life situations helps better tie the content to them. Living and teaching in a community that has an abundance of factories, students need to know that what they are learning now may not be used but the process and problem solving skills they are using will.
    We also have to think “are we motivated by this lessons or method?” If it isn’t then our students aren’t going to be motivated by it either.

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  95. I think that it's significantly important to education that we make school an enjoyable place to be. Motivation is an absolute killer in my middle school classes. There are always kids who try to get away with doing something else (like playing games on their laptops or goofing off) just to get out of the work. I would absolutely LOVE to reschedule my classes in a way that would cut down on the disruptions and have the kids actually interested. (I know that's pushing it, but a teacher can dream.)

    I did like some of the suggestions from the book. I would like to see the kids have some form of recess because they have way too much energy to be sitting still in class for that long. I, as an adult, get antsy after sitting still for half of that time. It's not right to force them into desks for that long without being able to run it off. I also see the counterpoint that there could be liability issues here because as kids become teenagers, they start getting more creative with their free time.

    I also liked the idea of the program Summit used, though I'm still not entirely sure I know how it works. But I like the idea of having a program that gives the kids immediate feedback on their work (rather than waiting for me to grade it all) and that they can move at their own pace. I think a number of my kids would greatly benefit from the chance to work ahead of everyone else or to simply take their time. I always feel bad with both of those groups because, with in class work time, sometimes I don't have the luxury of catering to either side.

    This is probably the cynic in me, but with the Summit program, for example, I worry about job security. If they've managed to create a system where kids are learning basically from these computer programs and meeting with a mentor for meetings once a week, what's to stop people from devaluing educators even more and filling the position with people who don't have a background in education? As it is, there are people (in government!) who don't think teachers are competent and are nothing but glorified babysitters. (Even though they're totally wrong.) It just seems like this is another step toward proving them right. And I worry about that.

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    1. Using the Summitt example mentioned in the book is not a realistic example in my opinion. The people that created this school have greater flexibility and the way they put together their day is never going to occur in a true public school. We can add things that directly appeal to student interest, but our students come from much different backgrounds than these kids who live in the hearrt of Silicon Valley. Nor do I believe that students should be taught by computer software programs for the majority of the day.

      I do thinl we can use ideas such as Genius Hour or @0-Percenr time as motivators for students. However, if students don't want to learn or come from an environment where education is not valued, we are fighting an uphill battle. You can't be expected to "entertain" them everyday.

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  96. The idea of designing the classroom and the instruction around the students' needs is crucial to student learning. The first few paragraphs of this chapter spoke to me. My daughter is so disinterested in high school because she does not see the application of the lessons and teachers do not necessarily test over the topics that they taught. She is very frustrated!

    This year she participated in a course called Primary Health Care. This course is taught to a small group with book work as well as hands-on. At the end of the first semester, she had received her CNA license. The part she loved the most was the practicality of the material learned. The fact that she was a part of a small group and the work was meaningful makes all of the difference.

    In the upcoming year, I would like to incorporate student learning goals, positive group experiences, and small group instruction through rotations. I would also like to be more intentional about mentoring students.

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  97. As I have been teaching for the last 15 years, I am obviously not new at this but also still have more to learn especially since every year posses different challenges in teaching students. I teach in a rural community and have teaching/student experiences that are different from those in urban environments. Last year, I had students just walk out of my classroom because they felt the subject was something that they didn't need to learn. They felt that it was better to sit in our in school suspension room instead of my classroom. This is something that I have to deal with because I feel like the problem is only going to get worse instead of better. Students need to have self motivation to learn. I am not sure if this is something I can instill into my students who have been doing the same system for the last 8 years of their life.
    I believe that teaching is something that I was born to do. I love the subject I teach. I believe that students who want to learn, come in excited about my class because I am excited about my class. If a teacher loves what they do, has energy in the classroom, and gets students involved in their learning, anything is possible.

    The question that I need answered is how to motivate those students who either gave up on themselves or their parents gave up on their education years ago. If students want to learn, the environment almost doesn't matter in my opinion. We all learned in different systems and conditions and as professionals, we turned out OK. Why do we need to keep changing education that seems to work for most students? Could it be that the frequent changes in the education/standards taught in schools is causing large gaps in a students education and that is causing part of the problem we see today in our classrooms? Just a thought.

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  98. Like many of the teachers before me, I think student motivation is one of the most vital things in a classroom. I think it is most beneficial if the motivation is internal versus the teacher always being the one doing the motivating. However, not all students enter our classrooms with intrinsic motivation, but we can do our best to help generate this.

    I flip-flop on my thoughts about making classrooms "fun." While I do believe that learning is/should be fun, is it my job to entertain my students at all times? If I don't make all lessons "fun" is this a sign to students that a specific lesson is not as important as the others because it isn't as fun? What are we teaching today's youth if everything has to be fun? Is every aspect of my job fun at all times? No, but this doesn't mean that I can skip those parts of my job. Will students be able to function in the real world when they aren't being entertained 24-7?

    Here are some examples of things that I do in class to encourage student motivation and fun. 1)Murder mysteries- I create multiple story lines about celebrity deaths similar to the board game CLUE. Students have to work out the math problems to get the answer to the who, what, where, why. 2) Scavenger hunts-students work one math problem to find the answer that corresponds to another. 3) Real life connections-I make story problems from my real life experiences with my daughters. I often include funny anecdotes.

    The problem I have run into is that even with my efforts to make class "fun," some students would still rather do anything else. If they aren't interested in math, sometimes there isn't much I can do to overcome this by the time they reach me as sophomores or juniors.

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    1. I agree with you, Katie. I don't think it is fair to set kids up believing that everything is fun. There are always going to be things in life that aren't enjoyable but still necessary to be a part of. Sometimes third graders look at me and say, this is boring. I don't want to do this. Usually there is some underlying issue, but none the less, my response is usually that life is not always about what you want to do but about what you need to do. I think that balance is important in all you do.

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  99. Going through this book this summer has already got me started on my redesign of my classroom for this coming school year. This chapter today really hit home with me that learning needs to be fun not just for the students, but also for the teachers. I think it should be a top priority for any school who is going to partake in a new program to think about the job of the student and if it is something that they will enjoy. I know personally I would like to bring more project based learning into my social studies classroom. I would also like to bring quiet sustained reading to my homeroom classroom and take time for the students to come up with weekly goals. I think this would help them be more invested in what they produce each week. Lastly I would like to look more into the programs that Summit was using and see if they would be able to be used at my school. They seem fantastic and I would love to get more information on them!

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    1. Quiet sustained reading is a great idea! With my IB student research projects, they are required to use at least and read at least one entire books. This independent reading time is great for students to engage in their own research and give classtime to read!

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  100. I really felt like the authors were trying to compare public schools to Summitt Public Schools in this chapter. Nearly all of us, regardless of the educational environment in which we are currently serving, do not have the freedom or the flexibility that is present with Summitt Public School that the authors frequently allude to in this chapter. In addition, our students do not come from the same environments in which these students come. Public schools in Indiana differ greatly from this "public school" that was created in the heart of Silicon Valley in California. Having said that, I do think there is something that can be learned from this idea of "free tiem" the authors mentioned towards the end of the chapter. "Genius Hour" or "20 % Time" is an idea that allows students to work on projects that are related to a student's interest that relate to the curriculum being discussed in a given course. I do think this can be used as a motivator to help increase student engagement and hold students interest or increase accountability in a given class.

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    2. Agreed Paul! Our whole system would need to be changed and some schools are so large that this might be difficult. Many of these book studies are great but unless our state standard constraints and local expectations are more flexible...there is little we can do to change the system!

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  101. I think it is crucial for students to be motivated in order to learn and find learning enjoyable. This is an issue I see on a daily basis in my classroom. Students simply lack the motivation or care to try their best. We can give them all the tools and knowledge they need, but if they aren’t willing to accept it, then it does no good. In my opinion, something that makes them motivated is to take ownership of their education. By this I mean student-centered learning. Instead of me lecturing and the kids sitting at their seat, they would be doing group-based projects and I would be walking around the room as a facilitator. This past year, I started using the Seesaw Learning Journal app. It was FANTASTIC and I highly recommend it. The kids seemed very motivated to share their work on the app. The app is connected with their parents, if they choose to sign up (it’s free), and other classmates can comment and like their work. I explained it as a safe social media for the classroom. The kids got to the point where they could easily upload their work, with my approval, without any assistance from a teacher. They tried very hard on anything they knew was going to go on to the app.

    This day in age, it is hard for a lot of my students to find a motivation, so any ideas are accepted!

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  102. This chapter had me nodding my head yes the whole time! Right now we are guided by standards, which is necessary, but we are also now having to treat school as a business and be customer focused. I do agree that if we would design our school with the student in mind, focus on their needs and wants (especially by asking them what these are), that this would help motivate students to do well in school, want to come to school, and enjoy school. I really liked the model of Summit in this chapter, although my school (district) has some different needs that would need to be addressed, I think the chapter outlined a very useful model. If a school is student-centered and students can be in control of their own learning, this would get rid of "school's boring" because you make it what it is! I would just love for students to love learning and to have that feeling that school is relevant to their lives and their future. I know that what Summit has set up didn't happen overnight and would be such an exciting school model to have in the community. It would motivate students, parents, and teachers and reignite enthusiasm for education and learning. This kind of model is needed because our learners have different needs now and these need to be addressed.

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  103. Student engagement! The key to success for sure! After 20 years in education, I know what engages students in theory but still I have those students who are engaged sometimes and not others. As all teachers do, I survey my students quite often and sometimes after each unit in order to see what lessons they thought were the most beneficial and fun! Some of those do vary but a consistent pattern of approval from them is those projects and activities that were relevant, creative, easy to understand the directions, issue oriented and discussion based. The frustrating part is that in a school of 5,000...how do we created a Blended Learning environment? I would be interested to see how many students Summit has as it seems that many of these schools are smaller and charter. Coming from a charter school environment in North Carolina, it is much easier to abort the factory style teaching as the student population is smaller, the classroom and building environment is more flexible and typically the teaching and administration is open to trying new and non traditional methods and schedules. This chapter was helpful though in refocusing on the idea that student engagement is not on the types of activities we do but on achieving their goals of making progress and having fun. The challenge will be on developing a schedule on a daily basis and/or weekly basis within my own classroom to provide independent learning time for content and assessment and group project time/discussion/small group instruction. I am concerned that one classroom or a few out of a building will not be successful in the long run but I do appreciate the job to be done theory in terms of how each lesson and class period needs to achieve for students to be engaged and complete their work independently. Our struggle now is the constraints that common assessments in PLCs have especially when it is multiple choice testing. How do we successfully implement this program if the3 direction from state and local has us going in a different direction?

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  104. MOTIVATION? How many of us would be doing this summer reading/blogging if we were not going to receive PGP points? Are we motivated to learn, expand our thinking, and develop a futuristic outlook of education? Yes, of course. But I read a ton of professional books motivated by nothing more than my curiosity. Frankly, I likely would not have chosen this particular book, but the points were an incentive.

    PBIS: Our school used a Positive Behavior Incentive System last year for the first time. Student behavior is rewarded when it is positive and when their practices are those that we expect and want to encourage: attendance; doing their work; random acts of kindness; going "the extra mile," having materials ready for working; maintaining their working spaces, etc. We give out POWERBUCKS which can be used for many number of things: drawings for prizes ranging from a $25 Walmart card to computers, sound systems, and Indiana tourist attractions. We have "stores" at Christmas and the end of the year where students may purchase fun food items and material products (cosmetics; gadgets; clothing - you name it). Students must "pay" to leave the classroom for restroom or locker trips. Students may "purchase" the right to dress outside the dress code boundaries. Students may "pay a fine" for a tardy that will not be placed in their discipline record. Each teacher is allowed to have personal payment plans and items for purchase. Sometimes students may purchase a field trip, viewing a movie as a class, or other bigger ticket items. I keep school supplies, jewelry, sound gadgets, automobile items, Pokemon and other on-line gaming items for "sell" in my room.

    This is a HIGH SCHOOL system, and although we need to tweak a few things, the students overwhelmingly liked the program and expressed a desire to continue it next year.

    We are tracking the number of our discipline referrals, and have set a goal of seeing a significant improvement in the 3rd year. Already we see some improvement, but we are still in the educational stage.

    Wisdom, Respect, Pride, Good Choices, Empathy, Responsibility - these are areas in which we give instruction with videos, discussions, and other upbeat lessons. These lessons are given during our "homeroom" which occurs for about 25 minutes every day (in the middle of the day).

    Anyway...we are in an ongoing experiment to find a way of rewarding those students who always do the right thing and motivating those students who don't always have appropriate behavior to rethink their actions.

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  105. My name is Juliette Lucas.. I can't seem to change my google account.

    Motivation is key. However the same thing does not motivate everyone. When I taught second grade in IPS students took timed addition and subtraction facts. I had an entire bulletin board dedicated to this project. The motivation: ICE CREAM SUNDAEs. As they took and passed their +1 they earned a single scoop and a replica of a sc0cop of ice cream went on the bulletin board passing the +2's a second scoop piled on top, then a list of toppings next to their scoops with check marks, if they continued passing, sauce, sprinkles, whipped cream, etc. We would have out ice cream celebration at the end of the quarter. This motivated almost everyone except for one student who told me he did not like ice cream. However he did not tell me this right away. Once I had this new information, I adjusted his treat to something else that he did like and finally he was motivated.

    Sometime we can motivate all we want and there are children that just do no care to learn in a school setting. They are much better at learning by going to museums, or listening to their grandpa, etc. Students that do not care about their education are the hardest to reach and to motivate. Something has to get them interested its just finding the right thing that does it. Now I know ice cream sundaes are not the solution for everything. But tapping into their interests is. Do they like baseball, or are they service oriented and want to help others? Does reading about distant places spark their interest?
    Like I said at the beginning: Motivation is key and the only way to motivate it by knowing your students individually.

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  106. It is important for the students to enjoy learning and coming to school every single day to learn, but that is such a struggle to make a reality. I have tried various types of activities as I too get bored with just traditional models. I've found that what works well for one does not work well for everyone. The struggle is meeting everyones educational needs while making learning fun. I rely on feedback from my students as to what they prefer.When I roll out a new activity I ask them for their feedback. My students are in middle school and are old enough to express how they feel about an activity.

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