Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thinking Differently About Student Engagement

I am not an expert on motivation. I'm still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't work. Most of my ideas have been shaped by Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards and Daniel Pink's Drive.  Lately, I've gotten really into Flow Theory and the question of what allows kids to "get into the zone." Over the last few years, I have been asked to lead trainings and speak on the relationship between motivation and creative work.

Popular Posts on Motivation and Engagement

Five Ways to Create a State of "Flow" in the Classroom
Fifteen Ways to Engage Reluctant Learners
I Don't Use Rewards -- But My School Does
Rewards Are Like Crack
If You Want to Build Grit, Don't Focus on Grit
Seven Reasons to Ditch Participation Points
You Don't Always Have to Do Your Best
The Upside of Wasting Time


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I have given numerous keynotes and workshops for new teachers, ranging from university-level to districts to conferences. If you're interested, please contact me at
  • Zoned In to Learning: Maximizing Flow in Student Learning: Ever been "in the zone" while working on a project? You lose track of time. You focus on what's in front of you. There is a strange mix of calmness and excitement. Those moments are tied into something called Flow Theory. How do we create lessons, experiences, projects and spaces that maximize flow for students? This session is an interactive discussion with an end product of something tangible that would increase flow in learning (a space, a lesson, or a unit). Check out the Slideshare here.
  • Writing Should Be Fun: Teachers are often told to using writing across the curriculum because writing is a vital job skill. While this is true, there is another reality. Writing is inherently fun. Here we explore what it means to keep writing fun for students, including finding an authentic audience, using visual writing ideas, promoting student choice and pushing critical thinking.


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