My students come from diverse backgrounds. Our school often has the greatest ethnic diversity of all the schools in the state. The majority of them receive free or reduced-price lunch. Our school encourages project-based learning, especially those activities that promote the development of 21st-century skills.
Like most kids, my students thrive in a learning environment in which they are actively engaged and challenged.
Our school encourages technology-based learning which typically prepares students for high demand professions but also has a side effect of increased screen and seat time. I like incorporating technology activities but also want to keep my classes physically active and provide supportive learning environments.
My students are already missing school. We were only out of school for a few days when the emails started coming in. "I'm bored." "I want to go back to school." "There's nothing to do." "Schoolwork at home is too hard." "Schoolwork on the computer is boring."
I do not want my students to lose motivation for learning.
So many of them live in households where parents work during the day and can not monitor and motivate my students while they complete schoolwork. Many of my students' parents do not speak English, so it is difficult for them as well. Many of my students are being asked to care for their younger siblings all day while everyone is home.
With all this going on, I am afraid of losing some of my students. It is too easy for them to fade away, "forget" to log on to the computer, and to ignore their schoolwork. In my district, we are very concerned about our students becoming "ghosts", and us losing touch with them. I do not want this to happen and I am willing to do anything to prevent it.
One way I plan on motivating my students to complete their work and to still attend my virtual classes is by naming our assignments a "Challenge" rather than classwork. Each week, students will be given certain tasks and they will be rewarded points for completing them. At the end of each week, I want to reward them with small prizes.
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