Sparking Student Motivation Saturday - Blurting and Magic

It is Saturday morning and time to link up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching. This Saturday is much better than last week as my coffee actually has caffeine in it!

I have 2 quick ideas I would like to share with you this week. I apologize for not having actual photos from my class but it is not my fault - blame Mother Nature. I have not been at school since Wednesday! We had two snow/ice pellet/freezing rain/no hydro days in a row!

#1 Magic Garbage

I am very lucky to have 3 wonderful students (2 boys and 1 girl) who love to help clean up the classroom. They do jobs without being asked, they do it with a smile, they always volunteer to help out and they are the first to clean up the floor when I mention that it is looking a little out of control (usually on art days!).

But the other students - not so interested. Every day I say "Clean up the floor around your desk" and every day I am ignored. UNLESS I mention that I have seen a piece of Magic Garbage. That's right Magic Garbage. I select one piece of garbage in my head and the student who picks it up gets a prize (from prize bin - pencil, bouncy ball, eraser etc.). Some days I don't even announce there is Magic Garbage - I just hand out a prize - the next day SPOTLESS!

I use this technique very sporadically - just when I can't take being ignored any longer! I was motivated to try this by the awesome and hilarious Mr. Smith at Teacher Tipster.

#2 Blurt Chart

This is sort-of a "Motivate Not To" strategy. I borrowed this idea from Mrs. Prince & Co. (click here to read her post). You can pick up her Blurt Chart freebie here.

This is Mrs. Prince's chart not mine. Click here to head to her post.
 We started using a Blurt Chart last month. I have a few students who just can't stop sharing their thoughts, ideas, answers, name it they share it! The only problem - they don't always raise their hand, or wait till their classmate is done talking, or that I finished the page etc. So while learning about the Value of the Month - Sharing  - we talked about too much sharing and how it was actually selfish (not shell - fish) because you were taking away another person's turn to share. The kids colored in their names that I made to sort of match the title and we assembled the chart with Mrs. Prince's freebie. I have only had to remove 3 volcanoes in total. Sometimes I  just need to mention that our level of "blurting" is too high and refer to the chart and it brings everything under control. So I don't actually use it  much, but, it is a good visual reminder right now for my students. I hope to be able to put it away soon - because to be honest, the way I made it, it's a little bit huge! (Glad I don't have to share an actual picture with you - a little embarrassed).

That's it - 2 little strategies, easy to use but have been effective for me. Be sure to hop on over to Joanne's blog and check out all the other ideas teachers are sharing this week.

While you are checking out blogs be sure to stop by Jivey's and enter her giveaway!


  1. I like the magic garbage idea. I have the same problem with being ignored. I'll give your idea a try. Thanks. :)

    The Balanced Classroom

  2. I used to do Magic Trash in 1st grade... how could I not think 4th graders would be just as excited? Starting again on Monday!!
    ideas by jivey

  3. I call it magic scrap and my third graders love it!! I also love teacher tipster! Cracks me up every time!!!


  4. Magic garbage??!! Brilliant! I'm stealing that from you! I'm so crazy about trash that I tell them I can't teach if I see something out of place (it's actually true!! haha). What's up with your weather? 91 degrees here! Already sweating to death! Thanks for coming to my party!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  5. I love that magic garbage idea! I have never heard of Mr. Smith at Teacher Tipster. Thank you for sharing. I will have to go check it out!

    Eclectic Educating

  6. I absolutely love the magic garbage idea. I have a small group of students who clean up every day and I can always count on them, but maybe this will help others chime in and work to get our room clean. Thanks for sharing. I am your newest follower. I hope that you will stop by and check out my blog as well, if you get a chance some time.

  7. I love the magic garbage idea too! I also like what you said about how too much sharing and can be selfish. I have a particular student that tries to monopolize every minute he can and share a story (they aren't short stories). On one hand, I hate to cut him off but it really is selfish and wastes too much time. I have limited his one-on-one time when he feels he just has to tell me something to 2x during our 80 minute ELA block. Thanks for sharing your great tips!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  8. Hello! I'm your latest follower :) I'm glad I found your blog because had seen this blurt chart idea before but it slipped my mind. I have one in particular that this could be brilliant for (and a good handful of others who would also benefit from the reminder that this chart would provide). Even at 11 they just can't control themselves sometimes!

    I might also try the magic rubbish on them -I've known about it for awhile but thought maybe they were a bit old for it. However I do get pretty sick of the battle to get the room tidy at the end of the day so I'm going to give it a go today!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem


Back to Top