Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Purpose + Choice = Motivation

Meet Blake.  He's my best friend's son.  He was also one of my students six years ago.  He's a one-of-a-kind kid. (Literally every day after school he'd say, "Thanks for teaching us.  Drive home safely."  How many six-year olds do that?)  Unfortunately, he is currently in the ICU with severe breathing problems due to asthma.  I took an afternoon off from school this week and spent some time with him and his mom at the hospital.  I told my class where I was going and about Blake and his situation.  Here's what happened the next day, and this is only a small representation.

 Translation: Dear Blake, I hope your lungs are working better very very soon.  I am very sad that your lungs aren't working good.  Love, Garrett
Translation:  Blake, Seriously I do hope you feel better.  You know Miss McMorrow.  Love, Jackson
 Translation:  I know you don't know me, but I hope you feel better.  Love, Jackson
Translation:  Dear Blake, I hope you have your breath back.  From, Katie
I'll let Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, the authors of The Daily 5explain what happened.  As they say, "Purpose + choice = motivation."  Simple, yet profound.  Without going into lots of detail, we do something called Daily 5 in my room.  The kids choose from five different things that real readers and writers do.  One of their options is Work on Writing.  (This is in addition to Writing Workshop which is always part of our daily schedule.)  If they choose Work on Writing, they also choose their purpose (small moment, note, list, letter, card, etc.) and their audience.  The majority of my kids will make sure they get to Work on Writing during Daily 5.  Why?  "Purpose + choice = motivation."  As far as the Blake letters go, I didn't tell my kids to write to him, but I said that if they wanted to encourage him and fill his bucket, they were more than welcome to write him and I'd make sure the deliveries were made. 

Motivation.  It can be a conundrum at times.  I will readily admit that I don't always hit the bullseye on this one, but whenever purpose and choice are present, motivation is close by.

If you believe in the power of prayer, talk to God about Blake for me if you think of it.
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