Skip to main content
Back to School

Getting (and Keeping) Kids Motivated

By December 11th, 2023No Comments

That first week of school (or even of the semester) can be tough.  Students are getting to know you, and your classroom expectations.  You likely have a great behavior plan and a killer classroom management plan, but how about a student motivation plan?

Many think that students should be intrinsically motivated, but some kids…well, just aren’t.  These kids need some way to feel motivated and everyone deserves a treat now and then.

So what’s a great way to motivate students?  I used Homework Club Cards (or if you prefer a broader application, STEM Club Cards) as my classroom motivation plan.  You know how every time you bought a sandwich at your favorite sub shop, they’d punch your club card? And when you completed the card you got a free sandwich?  Same concept.

At the beginning of the year (or semester), I would break this out often to get kids used to earning rewards…and being responsible. I used this method when I taught both elementary and middle school and it worked really well for even my unmotivated students.

Once a student completed their card (I always used a special hole punch.) they could trade it in for a coveted Homework Pass.  We had rules for when and how cards could be redeemed.

Homework Passes:

  • could be redeemed for any “standard” (in my case homework) assignment. Students were required to write their name on the top of the assignment they were using the pass on.  Staple the pass to the assignment and hand it in.
  • did not excuse students from mastering the content or concept
  • could not be given to anyone else or used on late assignments
  • could be traded in at the end of the term if they weren’t used.  Things they could trade for varied but sometimes included sitting at my desk, a free book, a few classroom dollars (we had a money society), etc.

Working towards completing their cards kept students motivated.  As the year progressed, I’d taper off the motivation plan a bit, but always let the kids earn card punches for difficult assignments (or ones that would kill my sanity to grade.  Hello, matching activities.)

So how do you make this happen in your own classroom?  Easy!

Download the Homework Club cards, STEM Club cards and Homework Passes for free.

Subscribe to Stay Connected!

  • Criminal Dealings Teambuilding Game

  • Easy Data Collection for STEM- Bundle Pack

  • STEM Formative Assessments- Bundle Pack

  • STEM Skills Challenge- Bundle Pack