Bob Sullo

Consultant K - 12

Sandwich, MA


  • Posted 8 Years ago
  • 2k

The Motivated Student: Archived Chat 5-13

Carolyn, ASCD Moderator: Welcome to the chat!  You can change your name by clicking

 "edit nickname" in the lower-left corner of the chat window.

bob: Hey, everyone! Hope you are ready to discuss how to make classrooms


Steve G.: Hi bob

Nat: hello everyone

bob: In all the workshops I do, teachers tell me there are more problems (disruption,

 etc) in the afternoon. Is that true for you?

Steve G.: Yes, definitely true for me.

Steve G.: Kids are tired at the end of the day.

Nat: definately, we have 6 periods a day and 5th and 6th hours tend to always be my

 most challenging classes

bob: My hypothesis is that we don't intentionally address kids' emotional needs so run

 into trouble later inthe day. Your thoughts???

Nat: I can honestly say I really never thought about my students emotional needs

bob: I worked in schools where we rotated schedules so we had different students

 each day at the end of the day. Weird way to "solve" the problem.

Nat: That would be hard to do in a middle school or high school setting

Steve G.: I actually think it has to do with a number of factors.

bob: ThanksNat for your honesty. You (like most teachers) are so inundated with the

 things you need to do, it's easy to forget the kids' emotional needs.

Donna: I've used activities from the SPARK program to reenergize my

Nat: Steve my classes are much bigger in the afternoon, you might have a point

bob: Welcome, Donna. Can you elaborate? Sounds interesting.

Steve G.: I'm just thinking after lunch. The brain is tired and doesn't process as much.

 Think of the workday. We're kinda like that too.

bob: Nat, the scheduling is easy in middle school and HS. Just begin with period 2  or

 3   or 4. etc...

Nat: Donna what is your subject area

Donna: I am now an educational consultant for an IU in PA, but as a classroom

 teacher, this program (anagram it) used physical educational

 activities to reenergize students.....worked well.

Nat: I guess that would work, but we have found that a change in schedule really

 throws are students off

Donna: Also sixth grade

Nat: I will google in, thanks

bob: Donna's idea of building in physical activity/movement is certainly very


Donna: We were on ABC is a nationally recognized program....we had a


bob: I run into the same issue in the staff development sessions I do. Teachers are

 pretty "brain-dead" right after lunch and I need to incorporate movement/activity or

 things go south quickly.

Steve G.: Yeah, I'll definitely look that up too. Thanks Donna.

Donna: Yes....I still have to deal with these issues with adult learners....most PD for

 teachers occurs after school....3 pm....the brain wants to take a nap!

bob: Donna, can you give a brief synopsis

Donna: I wish I was better prepared's been three years now since I've been in

 the classroom....let me get some info and I will post more on here in a minute.

bob: I identify the needs for connecting, freedom, and fun as ones that can easily be

 overlooked. What are some things you do to address these need areas ( you

 even see these as need areas?)

Steve G.: Bob, I have to say I thought the matrix you had was helpful in terms of

 whether or not an activity satisfied student needs? But my question is: what if my

 definition of fun, doesnít really match thereís? Iím in the same place, no?

bob: Donna, don't trouble yourself now. If you can post something on the Inspiring

 Student Motivation page in the next couple of days, that would be awesome...just

 the thing I'm hoping to have take place.

bob: Yes, Steve. You are in "the same place" (and it ain't a real cpmfortable one!) The

 key is to develop a shared perception. So...

Steve G.: I mean, I could think something is fun, but really it's hard to tell sometimes,

 even with planning.

bob: I suggest beginning with what you "think" will be fun, etc...If it works, fine...If it

 doesn't you need to identify where the mismatch is. Invite the kids to help you

 determine what is both fun and task-oriented (Both/And as opposed to either Or)

bob: Yes, it's hard to tell. But the burden is not yours alone. The students are part of

 the class and have a part in determining how things go. We should not have to be

 able to read minds!

Steve G.: That makes sense. Sometimes, though, you're so pressed for time, it's hard

 to involve kids.

Steve G.: I'll try it Nat (and Bob). Thanks!

Nat: I use exit slips to ask how it went, what could be done to make it better, etc.

bob: That's why I dedicate a chapter to builing positive relationships (last weeks'

 topic). It's OK (in fact, respectful) to invite the kids into the process.

Donna: I is a link to the program.

Nat: I have found they feel empowered especially when they present something you

 didn't even think about that really does make it more fun and interesting

Nat: I think by having them reflect on the lesson (activity) it teaches them to

 self-evaluate as well.

bob: Thanks, Donna. If you think of it, will you post it on the Inspiring Student

 Motivation wall as well. (We have over 90 members and most aren't able to be part

 of these weekly chats. They will find the info useful)

Donna: I will, for sure!

bob: Yes, Nat. I think that's another thing that's easy to skip: reflection. It's so crucial

 for kids to reflect in order to truly internalize learning.

bob: And as you say, as they reflect, they are likely to self-evaluate, especially if you

 include questions/prompts that invite conscious self-evaluation

Nat: We try, after reading this book we are more aware of the questions we are

 asking as well

bob: What are some of the things you do (did) to help kids satify the need for

 freedom in your classes?

Donna: Provide choices.....

Steve G.: I hadnít thought about giving the students ìchoiceî as you mention in

 answering ìcertainî questions. I thought that was a very good idea.

bob: Teachers who don't know anything about internal control psychology sometimes

 confuse "freedom" with letting the kids take over the class.

bob: Say more Steve. I'm not sure what you are referencing.

Steve G.: You mentioned in the book there were certain questions students could

 answer that were more mandatory.

Steve G.: But others could be labeled as more optional.

Steve G.: I always looked at it the traditional way: you get the homework, answer

 the question

bob: Right. Giving kids choice doesn't mean you sacrifice your position of

 authority/leadership in the class.

Steve G.: Like I said, I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense.

bob: So you may give a quiz and require students to answer the first three questions

 (essential info) but let them choose any three of the remaining 7 questions. Giving

 choice but maintaining academic integrity.

bob: Do you find, Steve, after reading the book, that you are doing that more


Steve G.: Well, I actually am still in the process of finishing it, yes. But it's definitely

 going to affect my appraoch

bob: And are you intenionally (and regularly) planning with the needs in mind? I think

 this process is very powerful but most teachers avoid doing it on a regular basis.

Steve G.: I think the key piece is figuring out what those needs are.

Nat: Steve i agree

Steve G.: For example, maybe two-thirds of the kids liek group work. But the other

 third hate it.

Steve G.: etc.

bob: Sure. But remember, not every activity needs to be need-satisfying for

 everybody. You're looking at the totality, not any one activity.

Steve G.: (Apologies for the spelling this evening)

bob: I have a template for Planning With the Needs in Mind. Anyone who wants it just

 needs to send me an e-mauil and I'll get it to you. (can't give you my e-mail here.

 system won't allow it)

Nat: thanks Bob expect an email soon

bob: regarding spelling...I've got to the point where i don't even look! i just type and

 hope it's close!

Donna: Where do we find your email then?

bob: let's eee. you could google my in

Donna: Ok....thanks

Carolyn, ASCD Moderator: You can also send a message to Bob through EDge.

bob: that works! there's a "contact" page with my e-mail! if you send me something,

 put "Motivated Student" in the subject line. If it goes to spam, I'll find it and get back

 to you.

Donna: Bob.....what do you think of using Universal Design for Learning principles in

 lesson planning?

bob: Thanks, Carolyn. (You know my tech skills are way limited!0

bob: Donna...can you be more specific? (I may not be familiar with the terminology)

Donna: Universal Design for learning is being proactive about your lesson planning

Donna: Thinking of the needs of all your students up front

Donna: so there is no need to make accomodations or modifications for students

bob: Guess I'm advocating the same thing using different terminolgy when I talk

 about planning with the needs in mind."

Donna: Providing multiple means of engagement is one of its principles

bob: i'm not sure about that last part, the accommodation or modification piece.

Nat: Bob I think academic needs and emotional needs are similar but different as well

 and both have to be addressed in planning. I know my colleague and I were focused

 on academic and really never thought of the emotional needs

Donna: Traditional lesson planning has the teacher designing lessons, then thinking up

 ways to accomodate for students with learning disabilities and such

Nat: I think the accomodations and modifications are part of the academic needs more

 than the emotional needs, but I could be wrong

bob: i think it's crucial to include multiple means of engagement. it gets bact to what

 steve said about some kids being engaged by grop work. others arean't. all related

 to differentiating within a structure.

Donna: Universal Design for Learning comes out of the realm of architecture.....

Donna: Curb cuts, for example, were originally designed to allow access for people

 with disabilities

Donna: They have come to realize that curb cuts benefit everyone....elderly,

 mothers with young children, baby carriages, etc.

bob: Nat, i think that morifications/accommodations are just as "necessary" in the

 emotional realm as in the curricular realm. In "Activating the Desire to Learn," I have

 chapter that focuses on that....

Nat: I have read that book, I will have to revisit that section.

bob: you have probably all had classes (as well as students) who were especially

 driven by a particular emotional need (belonging, freedom, power, fun) that can help

 you plan more effectively.

bob: it's the chapter with the high school english teacher. (can't remember the name!)

Steve G.: Bob and everyone, do you think there is a particular strategy to use with

 students from urban areas?

bob: So Donna, are you saying that just as we discovered that things like curb cuts

 help lots of people, some of the "accommodations" we make in classes help many

 more than just the "targeted audience"?

Nat: I just happen to have the book out, it appears to be chapter 11

Steve G.: Are their emotional needs different?

Donna: Absolutely.....think of graphic organizers

Donna: Originally used just with spec ed students....smaller chunks of

 information....but they have come to realize they benefit all students

bob: Steve...the needs aren't different. But...the life experience of kids from

 different environments has a huge impact.

bob: Thanks, Donna, for the info. Great stuff!

Steve G.: I guess when we're talking about freedom, power and fun, the definition, it

 seems to me would differ.

Steve G.: I agree there's an absolute.

Donna: Universal Design for Learning is being written presently into major educational


bob: So Steve, I worked with a school in the heart of Baltimore for a couple of years.

 very poor. lots of violence inthe neighborhood, etc... the "needs" of those kids are

 the same. but they may not have the same behaviors to meet those needs the way

 we want.

Steve G.: Just curious, can you tell us a little more about your approach to the

 school. To motivate the kids?

bob: OK. WE're getting into good stuff here. there are differences in the pictures

 peope develop to meet their needs, but the needs are universal.

bob: Being very picky here, steve. (hope that's OK after 4 weeks!) i don't try to

 "motivate" the kids. they are already motivated. we tried to structure the

 classes/school, so kids would be motivated to learn.

Steve G.: I know what you mean, Bob. But can you tell us more about the structure?

bob: I'm stuck steve. "Structure" meaning????

Steve G.: Structure the classes, you mentioned

Steve G.: what did you do differently?

bob: the teachers switch from reward/punishment to internal control psychology...

Nat: That is what I want to see happen in my building

bob: they intentionall did the &quot††††††††††††††lanning with the neeeds in mind." they created

 lessons where the kids could meet their needs by doing what the teachers asked.

bob: the first thing that happened.....discipline problems dropped dramatically. (no

 need to disrupt when I can get what I need by doing my work)..

Steve G.: Just curious, did you get the total buy in from everyone? Principal, super.


Donna: Many of the  school districts in my regional territory (13) are implementing

 SWPBS.  (School-wide Positive Behavior Support)

bob: yes, we had total buy-in because it was/is a charter school.

Nat: What is that Donna

Nat: Is it like PBIS?

Donna: Just what Bob is talking about.....taking the focus away from negative

 behaviors and rewarding positive's huge

Nat: Because I am not a fan of PBIS (which is what they are using in my school)

Nat: rewarding how?

bob: even though i worked my whole career in "regular" public education, charter

 schools are great for me as a consultant because it's easile to implement significant


Nat: Because if it is external then it is very much like PBIS and I think it is actually

 doing more harm then good in my building. discipline problems are getting worse and

 bullyng is more evident

bob: Yeah, Donna, you're new to our group and I have been less than enthusiastic

 about PBIS. I prefer to have kids se;f-evaluate that to externaly reward.

bob: getting back to the school in baltimore. discipline problems diminished but it took

 awhile for academic achievement to increase....

bob: it has been a process. the problems go away first. then there is a "settling in"

 period where kids don't disrupt much, but don't do a whole lot of work.

bob: then you can help them self-evaluate and determine who they want to be and

 the academic engagement starts to come...

Steve G.: all, do any of you have advice for trying to push for these types of

 changes in a public school? Where would you start?

Steve G.: Particularly if you don't have the buy-in to start with

bob: lots of places to start, steve. it depends upon what you want and your level of


bob: you can certainly implement these ideas in your classroom and be somewhat

 isolated. the &quot††††††††††††††roblem" is that it can be very isolated and frustraing.

Steve G.: I just think I'm approaching a kind of wall with administrators. Particularly

 with money issues etc.

Donna: Through observing teachers, I think one place to start and is sorely lacking is

 providing students with feedback about their progress is vital.

bob: ideally, you have enough colleagues that you don't feel isolated.....and most

 ideally you have administrative leadership..

Nat: Steve the great thing about this is it is free

Steve G.: Yeah, I think you are right though that change happens when everyone

 buys in.

Donna: formative kids the "targets" to shoot close

 are they, etc.

Steve G.: Yes, Nat, I can definitely do this in my class at least.

Nat: In my buildign I will have to show hard data - before I can get them to jump on


bob: donna, you use a work i especially like: feedback. (I distingui***** from

 costructive criticism) feedback is essential for effective self-evaluation and growth.

Donna: absolutely

Donna: If kids don't know what they know and what they don't can they

 be motivated to learn?

Donna: They need descriptive feedback

bob: i can't remember if it has come up in this group, but a book i just read is "Drive"

 by Dan Pink. Lots of hard data. Most is non-educational but quite a lot from the world

 of education....there's a lot of hard evidence out there.

bob: also...what kind of data are people looking for? want short-term results?

 rewards/punishments are the way to go! want long-term results? check the research

Nat: I like to have student teacher conferences and review verbally with my students

 so my feedback can be heard and questions can be addressed immediately it seems

 to help keep my students focused on improving

Donna: Sounds great, Nat

bob: what other strategies do you all use to help kids self-evaluate? (I just realized

 the time!)

Nat: I am working on trying to come up with ways to have my students self-evaluate.

 I hope to incorporate self-evalation next year.

bob: i think we do way too much external evaluation and don't invite kids to take

 responsibility by evaluating their own work.

Steve G.: Honestly, Bob, until this conversation, I've never thought about having kids

 really truly self evaulate unless it's thinking about channeling strengths or improving


bob: can you give it a trial run as this year winds down?

Donna: Bye, Nat

Steve G.: bye Nat

bob: thanks, nat. hope to see you next week: our last chat

Steve G.: Yes, definitely

Donna: Couldn't the use of checklists and rubrics aid in self-evaluation?

bob: wow, steve! it's moments like this that make this so enjoyable. you are clearly an

 engaged, committed teacher. And you've never really been asked to think about it.

 this is exciting!

bob: rubrics and examplrs and models are all hugely important. if you want me to

 self-evaluate, i need a model of quality. othwerise, i'm shooting in the dark.

Steve G.: I think like everybody Bob. I feel a bit overwhelmed but am trying

Sarah: I have a hard enough time evaluating myself! How do I expect this from my

 students when it's something that I have a hard time with?

bob: hi, sarah. i don't think it's any harder for the students than for you.'s a

 huge enough responsibility to evaluate yourself! why should teachers take on the

 total burden of evaluating up to 150 students! share the burden.

Donna: In Pennsylvania, in regards to our PSSA tests, we have item samplers from

 past test showing examples ranging from great to unscorable....teachers use them

 for preparation

bob: actually, i wish i hadn't used the word "burden." self-evaluation is not a

 "burden." it's a process that lets me take more conscious responsibility for who i want

 o be. it's a very positive thing.

Donna: Forming Professional Learning Communities and reviewing student work will

 help to ease the "burden"  of evaluating student work

bob: yes, donna, we have the same thing in massachusetts. those can be very

 helpful to kids so they have a shared perception of what quality looks like.

Donna: Yes...agree

bob: i want to thank everyone for your comments....

Steve G.: Thanks Bob. Learned a lot.

Donna: Thanks, Bob

Donna: and all

bob: please remember that you can post comments and questions on the inspiring

 student motivation wall during the week. i wan this to be a place for rich sharing.

Carolyn, ASCD Moderator: And be sure to tune in next week (5/20)  for our last chat

Donna: Will do

Donna: Good night

bob: next week we will discuss the final three chapters of "The Motivated Student"

 Have a great week!

Steve G.: Good night all

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