10 Fun & Effective Ways to Motivate Your Students: Motivation Series Part 2
As an elementary teacher, you know how hard it can be sometimes to keep your students motivated. Well, you’ll find everything you need to keep the motivation running high in your classroom in this Motivate Series. In Part 1, you learned how to use “Smart Beads” to keep your elementary students engaged and excited about learning. In Part 2, you’ll find 10 more fun and effective ways to motivate your students!
Motivate Your Students with Ease
Use any (or all!) of these 10 ideas to motivate your students with ease this year!
- Hands-On Learning
- Positive Reinforcement
- Educational Games
- Classroom Pets
- Outdoor Classroom
- Music and Dance
- Cooperative Learning
- Incorporate Technology
- Reading Corner
- Learning Stations
Incorporate interactive activities and experiments into your classroom to make learning exciting!
Each of these activities allows you to cater to the different learning styles within your classroom and help young students grasp abstract concepts more easily.
Create themed sensory bins to enhance learning through touch and exploration. Fill the bins with materials like rice, beans, sand, or water. Use themed bins to match your teaching topics.
- Toy dinosaurs for a unit on dinosaurs
- Foam letters during a phonics lesson
- Different colored manipulatives for math topics
Students can dig, pour, and manipulate these materials while learning through touch and exploration!
Conduct simple and safe science experiments that allow your students to observe and interact with scientific ideas.
Consider a “sink or float” experiment where students predict and test whether different objects sink or float in a tub of water. The possibilities are endless for elementary science topics!
Use hands-on math tools like counters, pattern blocks, and counting cubes to help students understand mathematical concepts. Math concepts become more concrete and enjoyable as they physically interact with the manipulatives!
Arts and Craft Activities
Integrate art and craft projects into your daily lessons. These hands-on opportunities allow students to express themselves creatively while reinforcing their learning.
Example: After reading the book together, students can create their own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree with letters of their name or specific vocabulary words.
LEGO Education SPIKE Essential Set
Use this LEGO set with almost any STEAM activity you have planned! Students will engage in hands-on investigation while developing important literacy, math, and social-emotional learning skills.
Use a reward system with stickers, small prizes, or a class reward chart to encourage positive behavior and participation throughout the day.
Set up a VIP table with special supplies to use. This table can be for one student or several to sit together.
To sit at the VIP table, students have to earn their seat at the table by showing positive behaviors or characteristics.
Keep families up to date with all the great things their children are accomplishing in your classroom by writing personalized notes. Use these FREE Positive Notes to build a strong working relationship with the families of your students.
When parents are in the know and excited about their child’s behavior in the classroom, they’re likely to share these feelings with their child. In turn, the child is motivated to continue modeling positive behaviors at school!
Positive notes can be created from you to the student, you to parents, students to students, or students to parents!
Hang a community poster in your classroom to celebrate each other! When someone is seen doing great things, write a note about it and add it to the poster.
Grab your own FREE I Spy Greatness Classroom Poster!
Give students special coupons as rewards for their good behavior.
Fun coupon ideas your students will be motivated by:
- Sit by a friend
- Bring a stuffed animal to school
- Take off your shoes
- Be the Teacher’s Assistant for a day
Grab a few cones from Dollar Tree and set them on the corner of a table or desk of students who are working hard or exhibiting positive characteristics like kindness or patience.
Students can keep the award cone at their seat all day!
Use this FREE Secret Walker Kit to strengthen accountability and classroom community regarding hallway behavior. The student who is the “secret walker” works to catch other students following the hallway rules.
This role will quickly be a coveted one among your students!
Use giant-sized versions of games like Kerplunk, Connect 4, or Jenga to create a competition between yourself and your students.
Example: the class is working towards smooth and quick transitions.
Each time the students meet that goal, one student gets to come up and “vs” you at the giant game.
The students work together to decide what the winning prize will be (e.g. extra recess, a movie, treats during class).
*Be prepared for some extra LOUD fun with this one!!
Use board games, card games, or digital educational games to make learning more fun! When students are having fun, they naturally are more motivated to continue demonstrating positive behavior and working hard to learn.
Consider the following games:
- Pink Cat Games
- Scrabble Slam
- Skip Bo
- Skip Bo Junior
- Guess Who
- Zingo Word Builder
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Consider having a class pet. Choose low-maintenance pets that are easy to transport too– like fish or hamsters! Students can learn responsibility and independence as they help care for these pets.
Some real-life favorites from my previous classrooms:
- Charlie the Hedgehog
- Twin frogs named “Phelps” and “Lochte”
- So, so many hermit crabs– Spaghetti and Meatball, Rigatoni and Ziti, Macaroni and Cheese
Another great option to motivate your students is “Outdoor Classroom”! Take your lessons outdoors whenever the weather permits.
You can find a nice spot on the ground to work on worksheets, use natural elements for math manipulatives, “Read to the Trees” for independent or partner reading, and so much more!
Music and Dance
Use music and dance to make learning more dynamic and engaging. Whether it’s through songs, musical instruments, or movement activities, you’re sure to find some option that speaks to every child within your class!
Suggestions for Music and Dance:
- Use GoNoodle for indoor recess or when attentions are waning during the day
- Have music playing first thing in the morning as students arrive in your classroom
- Break out musical instruments to celebrate special days or accomplishments within your classroom
- Add songs throughout your day– morning meeting, during transitions, and while completing work.
Cooperative learning activities provide an opportunity for students to work together, learn from each other, and develop deeper social skills.
These activities can be both fun and educational and enhance the overall classroom experience for early elementary students!
Use Partner Pairing Cards to make splitting into pairs a fun time. Students must problem-solve and use critical thinking skills as they find their partners.
They will LOVE the anticipation of figuring out what picture partners up with theirs and who they will find holding that card!
Use these Morning Meeting slides to encourage a positive classroom community. Students work together to answer jokes, solve riddles, answer questions, and so much more!
You know your students already know so much about technology, so why not infuse it into your classroom?! Use educational apps, websites, and interactive boards to engage your tech-savvy students.
Vooks is an online library of children’s books full of beautiful illustrations and animations and engaging music and narration.
The Novel Effect app responds in live time with interactive sound effects in response to your voice while you read aloud to your class.
Hue Animation Studio
Use Hue Animation Studio to create stop-motion movies with your students!
Create a cozy reading corner in your classroom where students can find a variety of books and reading materials.
Add couches, bean bag chairs, colorful rugs, pillows, and lamps to create the perfect “cozy” feel!
Consider making a themed reading corner:
- Camping theme with tents
- Underwater theme with a bathtub decorated as a submarine
- The Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree and alphabet letter pillows
- Beach theme with an inflatable boat
Students will be motivated to read AND be on their best behavior with a special space like this!
Finally, set up different learning stations around your classroom. Each station can be focused on a specific activity or subject area. These stations allow students to explore different interests while still tapping into important academic and social learning skills!
Learning Station Ideas:
- Poetry corner
- STEAM table
- Puppet show center (FREEBIE!)
- Nature center
- LEGO table
- Puzzle table with a variety of problem-solving activities
- Check out Mindware for some fantastic problem-solving toys for kids!
Remember– every student in your classroom is unique! It’s essential to adapt your teaching to meet their individual needs and interests. A combination of these ideas can help maintain a fun and engaging learning environment full of motivated elementary students!
Let me know if you have any questions about anything you see here. Don’t forget to pin this post to refer to it later!
Other posts you may enjoy:
MAKE MORNING ROUTINES IN YOUR CLASSROOM FUN AND ENGAGING WITH THESE
Free Morning Meeting Songs & Greetings
The perfect way to get students energized and ready to go in the mornings!
Thank you for being here! I love sharing ideas with other teachers! If you are looking to enhance your teaching and build a positive classroom community, you have come to the right place!