A couple of months ago, I noticed my students were rushing through their work, making careless mistakes, and using messy handwriting. On a daily basis, multiple times a day, I reminded students at the beginning of the day the expectations for turning in quality work. It seemed to go in one ear and out another. My students were still doing the bare minimum and rushing through their work.
This got me thinking. Why are my students turning in such sloppy, poorly written work? Is it too hard? Do they need more time? Are they distracted? Do they simply not know what to do? Are they unmotivated? Do they need more guidance from me?
So I gave an interesting writing assignment, to see what type of work they are capable of producing. I told my students that they would receive a $20.00 bonus if they would show me their 100% effort on a writing sample. (We use a classroom economy behavior system and students earn credits and debits.) I did NOT go into depth about what I expected, which is what I normally do. I simply reviewed the prompt and told them to start writing.
The directions were: Use your neatest handwriting and give 100% effort to demonstrate your absolute BEST work.
I was VERY impressed with the quality of work that my students demonstrated—amazing! I was so impressed that I sent a photocopy of every writing sample home, explaining to the parents that this 100% best work sample would be the new expectation for their child. I told my students that if they are capable of doing this work one time, they will be expected to do it EVERY time! I explained that if they did not give 100%, then they would redo it.
I actually keep their 100% best effort writing sample in a binder. I pull it out whenever I need to, so that it can serve as a friendly little reminder for the high-quality work that is expected.
Looking for more ideas to motivate your students??
I love Rachel’s idea! She simply returns the work to the student, with a friendly little “redo” note attached to it.
Check out this blog post HERE and download the awesome freebie she shares.
Angelia, at Extra Special Teaching, wrote about an excellent way to motivate her little ones to demonstrate high quality work.
Check out this blog post HERE !
What works for you? How do you hold students to high expectations? I can’t wait to hear your ideas!