Sparkle Work and Elf Applications - Two Ideas to Spark Student Motivation

I know I am a little late to the party (I am not sure if it is last call yet) but I know Joanne is too nice to yell at me or kick me out of her party so I am linking up anyway! Be sure to check out Joanne's blog to read all about her Polar Express party and check out other great ideas.

The first is an idea I totally stole borrowed from Joanne. I bought this container of gems at my local dollar store.

 I left them on the table where I usually work with students. They had many questions about them but I would only say "I don't know, I guess you'll have to keep coming to school to find out". Then finally after about 1 week I finally opened them up. I handed out just one. I had a student read her writing out loud to the class. In her writing she had used the words: furious, heavy-hearted and numerous gatherings. I said "that writing has some sparkle, it deserves a gem". I placed a gem on her desk and the class went crazy with questions. "How can we get a gem?", "Are they just for writing?", "Can you get them for math?", "How many do you have?", "Are there enough for everyone?", and "No there is 70 in there, she has 70, everyone can get at least two for sure!". Big hit, huge!

Another big motivator last week were our Elf Applications. You may know we have a Secret Elf Pal theme going on in our room. On Monday I introduced a Help Wanted poster from Santa - he needs more elves and we were going to apply!! They loved reading through all the job descriptions and qualifications.

They had to decide which elf job they were most qualified for and wanted, then the writing began. They chose four qualifications and gave evidence of how they met that qualification.

We worked on using their ideas to create persuasive arguments. We went over how to set up a persuasive letter and how to use persuasive words. I love when the students use the anchor charts!!

Then we made our elf self to display our writing!

They are very excited to find out if they get the jobs. On Monday they are bringing in any evidence they have to support their persuasive argument. One student is bringing in a fake gift she wrapped, another one his team jersey to show he is a team player and another made a picture to show her creativity. They will each get a certificate from Santa letting them know they were successful!

I am still working out how I will use their jobs for our trip to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express on Wednesday!

If you want to check out these resources they are on sale in my TPT store along with all of my Christmas products just in case people need something for the last few days.

Hope you are staying motivated for these last few days before the holidays. Good luck everyone!!


  1. Super cute ideas! It is amazing what works to motivate kids sometimes!

  2. I love the "last call"! LOL! I'm so glad you could use the sparkle and gem idea! We don't have those jewels at our Dollar Tree!!! Everyone loves jewels! I hope Lauren gets that Designer Elf job-she has great fashion sense! I have an awesome Lauren in my class too! That's such a great activity and your elf self bulletin board looks so festive! Thanks for sharing lots of great ideas and linking up BBB!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. HAHAHAHA...LAST CALL. That is the best thing I've heard all day. Love the gems. I can only imagine the billions of questions they had. I need to do this for sure. I agree with Joanne. Lauren definitely needs the Designer Elf job. I loved her reasons. Wait...I want that job!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. Two great ideas!! I'm pinning the gems and putting your elf activity in my cart :) I am also doing an elf activity this week, but I love the twist where they can apply for different positions!


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