How do you keep students motivated on a cold winter day?

I love technology.It allows me to catch up with things I just didn’t have time for in the moment. For example, I’ll be playing a benefit concert this Saturday afternoon/evening and won’t be able to watch the Patriots playoff game. Not to worry! I’ll be able to record it and watch it on Sunday with no commercials! Brilliant!

Since becoming part of the #edchat/#mschat community I’ve been trying to make space in schedule each Tuesday and Thursday night so I can be present in each of the chats. usually it’s not an issue but as anyone with children knows, that is not always the case. Last night I simply was unable to participate in the first #mschat of 2015. It saddens me.

Thanks to the moderator @blocht574 though, I’m able to go back through the archive and relive the chat as if I was there! Thankfully I can also employ the power of twitter and send some responses to specific people if I want to. I might be a little late to the part but thankfully in the interwebs, the party is never over. So…. without further adieu, I am going to write this post that is a reflection on a chat that I was not there for.

@blocht574

Q1: How do you keep students motivated on a cold winter day? (They tend to want to just sleep or be at home in front of a screen)

Now before I go any further and read what other people said I’m going to respond as if I was in the chat and say that personally the outside weather should matter. I might acknowledge that it is cold outside but that doesn’t change what we do in the classroom. The expectations of class are set early in the school year and by now, in the doldrums of winter, students still want to come to my class so it should be an issue. I don’t really do anything out of the ordinary. That’s now to say that I’m heartless, I expend a tremendous amount of energy to making my room a place that is inviting, entertaining, intriguing, and safe for all my students every day… why should today be any different? The temperature outside shouldn’t make a difference. I got the sense that @MrBernia was thinking on the same page as I when he tweeted:

@MrBernia

A1: Motivate with actions – if you carry yourself with a sense of high expectations and “I’m glad to be here,” students will respond

O.K., now for some of the other responses… Wow, was I way off.

Many participants emphasized the need for getting kids moving and out of their seats with tweets like:

@mrgranito

A1: I had my students do some calisthenics this morning. #mschat

@Meffscience

A1:  This is when you have to be more of an entertainer and get their attention with some fun.  #tlap #mschat

@blocht574

A1: Get the students up moving around get the blood flowing to get it to their brains  #mschat

While I agree that this is helpful to engaging student learning, isn’t it also a best practice for everyday, not just cold wintery ones? I got the feeling that many of the participants jumped on this bandwagon of movement before they realized that many of them do it on a daily basis anyways. Personally I was hoping to go a little deeper into the question and ask: What about after you’ve tried all the little tricks and that still hasn’t worked. It was nice to see some creative ways to welcome students into class like, @JamieArmin,

#mschat A1 post nature pictures….sun & palms, bright lights, music, laughter……get Ss up & moving around room…..activites”

and,

@jbhanlon

“A1: I come up in dressed well & today I greeted Ss with bumping music -“Ice Ice Baby”, “Temperature”. Got to push energy!! #mschat

One participant, @AnIowaTeacher, mentioned using goNoodle in class. I wish I was in the chat to ask more about it. I’ve never used it and wanted to know more. But, the two most honest and well said sentiments came from @mrBernia and @anIowaTeacher when they acknowledged an appreciation for the opportunity to be together.

@MrBernia

“I make it a point to say “I’m glad we have school today” as much as possible.  #mschat

@AnIowaTeacher

A1: Greet them with a positive attitude, a smile, and a good morning. Interact right away and keep them positive too! #mschat

I think those two statements carry the most weight. Words to live by every day. Not just the cold ones…

3 thoughts on “How do you keep students motivated on a cold winter day?

  1. My last 10 years of full time teaching were in Central Florida. We didn’t have snow but we do have storms that are sometimes very scary. So, on those days, I’d light up my local Doppler Radar site onto my white board. We’d check it about every 30 minutes. They loved it! They became amateur meteorologists and predicted the time we would get our storms. I also would use Google Earth to show our school, their home streets, etc. so that they could understand the Radar more clearly. It worked!

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