Motivational Activities for Gifted Students
Guest Post by: Stephen Young, Ed.D.
There is an old educational adage that you can’t teach something to someone who doesn’t want to learn it. This old maxim is one reason why professional educators spend so much time on the challenge of motivation. Teachers of gifted and talented students are no less likely to face this challenge than other teachers.
There are essentially only two ways to motivate a student to learn. The first is to offer students content and skills that they see as relevant, meaningful, and important. Students will try to learn what they value as important.
When faced with teaching content and skills that do not meet this first approach, we often look for fun and exiting ways to “hook” students into our lessons. That which students find fun and interesting will also get their attention and, despite themselves, they will dive in head first simply because it’s fun. Let's face it, while we often teach content and skills that seem wonderfully relevant and important to students—sometimes the content we teach needs a little boost.
Every teacher wants each class to get off to a good start. Hook student’s attention at the beginning of a class or school day, and your chances of a successful lesson improve dramatically. One way to do this is to use something I call “hooks and grabbers.” These are short attention getting activities: games, puzzles, artifacts, quotes, mysteries, riddles, words, observations, magic tricks, and a host of other means of grabbing their attention at the starting gate and getting them involved in mind stretching activities. “Hooks and grabbers” create a frame of mind—an atmosphere of fun, curiosity, or discovery—which can successfully lead into the main content of the lesson.
During my 35 years as a public school teacher and college professor, I have accumulated a number of such activities. I've collected them in my new book, Super Smart: 180 Challenging Thinking Activities, Words, and Ideas for Advanced Students.
With this blog, I've included a few samples of actual activities included in my book. Just click on any of the images below to view these fun classroom “hooks and grabbers.” Feel free to print any of the samples below and try them out in your classroom.
Free Samples of Motivational Activities for Gifted Children
Using appropriate hooks and grabbers can give you a leg up in creating a classroom atmosphere of discovery students will look forward to each day.
About This Blog Entry's Guest Author
Stephen Young, Ed.D, recently retired from a 35-year career as public school teacher and professor of education at Morehead State University. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from MSU and Ed.S and Ed.D. degrees from Indiana University in Instructional Systems Technology. In addition to two novels in print, he is also the author of a manual for decision making via critical thinking. His newest book, Super Smart: 180 Challenging Thinking Activities, Words, and Ideas for Advanced Students, is is available from Prufrock Press.