Literacy Motivation Methods to Master the Challenges of Common Core


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Literacy Motivation Methods That Help Teachers Master the Challenges of Common Core


Educating unmotivated students has always been a battle. Add Common Core Standards to the mix, and now teachers are under more pressure than ever to produce academic gains, a tough prospect with any student, an especially difficult achievement to accomplish with students who feel school, education and literacy are at best irrelevant, at worst unnecessary.

That's where our powerhouse motivational methods fit in. The more students can see the importance of school, education and literacy, the more they will soak up the academics they are offered. The reverse is equally true. the more students can't see the importance of school, education and literacy, the more they will absorb little of the academics they are offered. The bottom line: If you want even your most unmotivated students to satisfactorily achieve in the era of Common Core Standards, you are going to have to motivate them first.

keynote speakerI'm Youth Change Workshops Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I've spent my entire life developing more effective student motivational methods that can dramatically convey the importance of school and education. Systematically improving students' motivation is not specifically included in Common Core. Teachers who take it upon themselves to convince their students that education is incredibly important, will be the ones who most successfully help apathetic, bored, disinterested students to successfully measure up. If you want your students to be able to succeed in the Common Core era, then be sure to make it an additional standard for your classroom.

So, for all your students who believe that they are already adequately prepared to live independently, and don't need any more training or education before embarking on life on their own, here are some very creative ways to show students that literacy and education will be essential to their future.

All the motivational interventions included here focus on reading and use transportation to show students that the "King of the Road Reads." By linking education to something students care about– cars and driving– you "sell" the value of school and academics. If your students don't readily have the answers to these everyday adult situations, they may begin to realize that they don't "know it all already" and may actually need what school has to offer.

Literacy Motivation Strategies

The King of the Road Reads

Off the Road Again

Q: Explain what happens when you hydroplane and when you hit black ice. How do you try to still stay on the road?

A: When you hydroplane, your car floats on a sheet of water caused by rain on the road. Black ice is ice on the road that you may not be able to see. Black ice can be present before any evidence of icy or dangerous driving conditions is obvious– and can send you flying. Slow down and avoid turning your wheels abruptly. Perhaps people think about all those science classes that they skipped as they hydroplane off the road or fly through the air on black ice.

Do You Know the Way to San Jose Today?

Q: Can you name a good site on the internet or name a mobile phone app to get free directions to anywhere in the US? If you can, next, show how to use it by finding the way from where you are right now to San Jose. Part 2: Imagine you are in a location with no internet access. Show the route on a paper map.

A: For students who struggle to perform these tasks, suggest geography class could have helped.

Did You Know That Cars Can Swim?

Q: You're about to get a good deal on a used car. How can you tell if the car has been for a swim?

A: Sometimes that good deal means that the car has a soggy past. For example, after a flood, cars can be restored to look and smell okay, but may have hidden problems from time underwater. Use the internet to search a car's past and discover past collisions and even undersea adventures. You'll need the kind of computer skills that you learn at school.

Filling Up Can Drain You

Q: You put $30 of gas in your car's tank at a gas station. Later, you use your debit card for another purchase but the transaction won't go through. You know you had over $100 in your account. What happened?

A: You used your debit card to buy gas, inserting the card into the pump prior to the gas being dispensed. The gas station put a hold on $100 of your checking account funds to cover a potentially large gas purchase. If you wait to pay until the final gas total is known, you can avoid this problem. Practical knowledge like this often comes from what you learn at school.

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Insure It

Q: You total your car. You and the insurance company finalize the amount that you'll be paid for your car. Their check arrives but it's missing $250. What happened?

A: The $250 was your deductible– and notice the math and reading skills required here.

It's Classified

Q: You need to buy a car. Both online and print ads refer to "OAC," "AC," "4D" and "4WD." Can you translate these abbreviations?

A: OAC means "on approved credit," that if you are deemed worthy of credit, they will loan you money to buy a car. AC is air conditioning. 4D means four doors, but 4WD means four wheel drive. Look at all the reading skills that are needed for car buying.

In a Car, Upside Down

Q: You find a car to buy and decide to finance it. After you complete the purchase, you tell one of your friends who seems very upset that your loan is for 72 months. She says that you could end up "upside down." What is she talking about?

A: She means that your loan period is so long that the car will lose value faster than you are paying down your loan. She looks upset because if you have another accident, your insurance company would only give you the current value on the car, meaning that you could still owe more on your loan after the insurance company pays you. Even worse, you could have to buy another car while continuing to pay off the non-functioning car too. Notice all the reading and math skills it takes just to keep up with the conversation, never mind live through the situation. Can you imagine trying to manage this situation without having learned math and reading at school?

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About Ruth Herman Wells

Author/Trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. In 2011, Ruth was rated as a Top 10 U.S. K-12 educational and motivational speaker by Speakerwiki and Speakermix. She is the author of several book series, a columnist, adjunct professor for two universities, and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Ruth's dozens of books includes Temper and Tantrum Tamers and Turn On the Turned-Off Student.