Spring Forward with Motivation!

As we enter Spring it gets harder and harder to stay focused and interested.  I mean let’s be honest! 

Your day’s structure is in place, the newness has worn off a bit, and students that struggle with intrinsic motivation sometimes become less engaged during the day.  {Teacher too?}

In order to outsmart this issue, let’s create interest through out the day!  Introduce new and exciting props and manipulatives to small group activities.  Suddenly, students can’t wait to work! 

I have a few units up my sleeve for this time of year.  They are so much fun and a simple prop from the dollar store provides the motivation to get students out of their funk and ready to engage. 

First up, two weeks of a classroom safari!

Although we are not specifically studying snakes in our room {thank goodness} we can tie in ALL kinds of learning and fun into a snake safari!  The only prop I needed for this safari were some rubber snakes.  I can’t remember if I snagged a few at Wal-Mart or the dollar store, but I know they are easy to find!   We had the best time learning all about math and literacy with some fun help from rubber snakes.

To kick off the unit I put the snakes into a pile and placed some butcher paper rocks over them.  The students took turns pulling the rocks off to reveal a pile of snakes! (I stole the pinchers from my son’s toys)  Each snake had a word taped to it’s belly and we went from there.  Inside the unit there are whole group and small group activities for math and literacy.  I also added fact and opinion writing as well as personal narrative writing.   I posted about this last year and you can check it out HERE.
To get this unit or just read more about it on tpt click the picture below

Next, we have spring time math and literacy centers.   To make them extra engaging I use all the fun stuff you can find from Easter or Spring at the stores.  To check out what I did with these last year for Spring centers click here.


One of my favorite things we do all year is have a math and literacy picnic!  Our math and literacy picnic was the PERFECT way to keep students excited about learning last Spring.   Like the snake unit, this unit took over our classroom and created a learning atmosphere during a time of normal restlessness!

For each center in this unit I list a possible prop, but I also give you the paper version in case you can’t find something on the cheap! I put the compound center below in a pitcher rather than a tub and my students thought they had gone to heaven.  I let them stir the pieces with a wooden spoon and they just about passed out.  It’s that easy to make their day!!! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Picnic-Pals-16-Common-Core-Literacy-and-Math-Centers-647593

 I grabbed checkered napkins and red plates and showed them how to make a plate of their game pieces.  They were so cute setting up their little picnics.  I threw a cheapo spatula into the mix and my boys were all about grilling up the ill and ing sounds as well as grilling up fractions for math! 
I posted about this unit last spring and you can grab this ANTonym freebie from that post HERE.

To check out the math and literacy picnic click here

 Need some Spring math journal activities?  I added April Math Journal activities a week ago, but haven’t had a chance to let you know on the blog!  Check them out here!


 And finally, it’s that time of year when your students are reading and writing!   As we are more profiencient in skills, we also need to take the time to think about what we have learned and how it connects to what we already know!  REFLECTION!  In my class I had gotten into a bit of a rut with this!  Tell your neighbor something new you learned.  Tell your partner one connection you made.  It just gets old!   Our district wants our students to have more time and energy spent on critical thinking and critical writing.  I took some time this weekend to come up with ways my students can take a few moments to reflect on learning. I now have learning tools to helping my students dig a little deeper!


 We will use these activities in the following ways:
Reflecting/connecting to what we are reading both together and independently for more advanced kids
Reflecting on what we are learning in science
Reflecting on what we are learning in social studies
Reflecting and sharing new vocabulary in all subjects
Reflecting on how to solve math problems
Reflecting both as we go through a lesson or unit as well as at the end.  
Hopefully there’s something here to get you pumped for our Spring Forward!  {I have a sneaking suspicion that spring is in hibernation}

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  1. I completely agree with Jen R. and Melissa K. I teach 2nd and wish I could use more of your stuff. Any chance you might work on other grade level curriculum over the summer?