How can I motivate a student during independant seatwork time?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by srfjeld, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Jun 2, 2009

    I am having the hardest time with one of my first graders. He is the only student who does not get his seatwork done on time, or ever. I have done things like, give him less work, set up a timer in front of him, bribed him with stickers and prizes, taken away his recess and/or specials... all things work at first but then he's right back to playing with his pencil, eraser, lead, fingers... whatever. It seems anything is more interesting. The only way to get him to work is to sit in front of him and point at each problem.

    His mom and I have been talking about this throughout the year. She even set up an incentive chart for him so that if he completes his 2-3 worksheets each day I give him a sticker for his chart and he will get an early bday present. This worked good for a couple weeks, now he just gets mad and hides his work or asks me to throw some of it away.

    His mom called me yesterday, really upset saying she doesn't know what to do with him and that she feels like it should be handled at school. I told her it is NOT possible for me, or anyone else to sit with him and coddle him through every worksheet every day... I have 25 other students. Yesterday I put 3 days of his seatwork in his take-home folder for homework and when his mom told me he didn't have any in there, I found it in his work folder which he leaves at school... now he's being deceitful, and that upsets ME more than anything.

    What else can I do???

    Thank you.
     
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  3. nattles19

    nattles19 Comrade

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    Jun 2, 2009

    I'd ask him.

    I would never use this except as a last resort, but ask him what he'd like in return for getting his work done. Computer time? Holding up a book during a book on tape for the class? Leading a quick game of Simon Says at the end of the day?

    I would also try to make the reward something that has to do with time and attention. If you make the rewards tangible, you are constantly having to come up with something bigger and better.

    Mom might like the idea of time and attention rewards at home, too. Instead of getting a birthday present, if he has a good day at school they'll go for a walk together. Or read an extra book at bedtime. Or he gets to choose dinner. That way you can give the reward more frequently, which young children need.
     
  4. dbcteacher

    dbcteacher Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2009

    Excellent ideas! I am making copies of these to remind me next year of things to try.
     
  5. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    Jun 2, 2009

    I've seen this technique with a fourth grader that had ADD: break the assignment down into small tasks if it's not already broken down, once the student finishes a task/problem and he gets 2-3 minutes of looking at comic books, playing with a squishy toy, whatever floats his boat so long as it's not a distraction to others. After the 2-3 minutes have passed, he works on the next task/problem and once he's done, he gets 2-3 minutes of wiggle, day dreaming, whatever time.

    From your description of the student, he needs more immediate gratification. Of course, you'll have to model and practice this technique until the student knows the expectations. He more than likely should be by you when he's doing independent work.

    This technique worked very well with the fourth grader with ADD and can easily be adapted for younger or older students.
     
  6. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Jun 2, 2009

    Nattles and Emmakate,

    These are such great ideas. There are less than 2 weeks left of school, but I'm going to try something tomorrow. Emmakate, I sent him over second grade to get some work done and the second grade teacher did something very similar. she asked him to finish his work in sections and after every section he had one to two minutes to stare off or play with this pencil... whatever his pleasure at his own seat. When he came back into my class he was pretty excited and said he got his work done b/c he kept getting mini-breaks. I didn't know what he was talking about until my colleague told me about it. I'm willing to try anything!

    Thanks!
     
  7. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jun 2, 2009

    I had kids this year who had to have their work broken down into sections. For example, I would say do 1-5 and then come show me. When they did, I would make a huge deal out of it and REALLY praise the kid, then I would challenge them to larger portions until the assignment was done.
     

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