Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Increasing Engagement with Goals and Edmodo #UDL

The affective part of the brain is responsible for our motivation and why we care about certain topics. It is necessary to hook students into what they are learning. I like to think of engagement as the glue that holds together instruction.

Over the past few weeks, my students have been working on a major project. After spending the past several months studying entrepreneurship, they will be pitching their original business ideas to our very own version of Shark Tank. This is a project that involves a lot of motivation and time.

Motivation is a very important ingredient in any classroom - especially one that is full of juniors and seniors during this time of year. As the weather gets nicer and the college acceptance letters come in, the motivation levels seem to decrease. How do you keep these students motivated on task?

Recently I have decided to use Edmodo as a platform to break our major project into manageable tasks. This keeps students focused, motivated, and accountable. At the beginning of the day, students reply to a message asking for the names of their group members and a specific goal they will accomplish today. For example, they may create a product survey on a Google Form or create slide 5 of their PowerPoint.

As students complete their assignments, I begin coaching them and discussing their goals. We make adjustments if goals are unrealistic or not challenging enough. At the end of class, students revisit their goals and respond with what they accomplished. This gives me a chance to compare what they wrote with what they actually did.

It's a great way of keeping kids accountable, teach them how to set goals, and increasing their motivation to complete a task. Our brains are naturally goal oriented. We tend to accomplish more when goals are written down, yet only 10% of Americans actually write them down! This is a simple way of helping our students be more productive and effective.

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