September 7, 2013

Brain Boosters

Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching has a great linky every Saturday where she asks us to link up with our favorite ideas for motivating students in the classroom. Today, I want to share with you my BEST motivation strategy...

There is nothing more frustrating for a classroom teacher than when you have that Ferris Beuller moment after asking a question. That silence can be deafening for me.

And despite the fact that my students never know the movie, I have been known to call out the teacher quote from the movie in a mockery of the awkward scene.

Here's how it usually goes:

Me: Anyone?... Anyone?... Bueller?... Bueller?

Students: blank stares

And then I'm reminded that I'm old and that they have no idea who Ferris Bueller is, which is a shame because it's really a classic.

Once I wrap my head around the fact that my students will never understand the amazingness of my own childhood, I turn to my tried and true motivator: Brain Boosters!

When I employ this strategy, here's what happens:

Students sit on the edge of their seats.

Hands shoot into the air.

Fingers flail in every direction, hoping of gaining my attention.

Suddenly, the entire class is eager to participate.

So, what is a Brain Booster, you ask? Honestly, it's the simplest form of motivation ever created. Candy.

Okay, okay. I know I'm not sharing any new ideas. I'm sure you've all done this, barring any district-wide bans on such things.

I'm just keeping it real. When our other efforts fail to work, sometimes, the best motivator is a piece of candy.

I mean, do you KNOW what a kid will do for a jolly rancher?


From picking up that nasty half-eaten pencil off the floor to going the extra mile to prove that they're thinking critically, my students are slaves to my Brain Booster bucket.

All I have to do is give it a little shake as a reminder, and I no longer feel like Ben Stein.



  1. You are absolutely correct! What a funny post-thanks for making me laugh! :O) Candy makes appearances in my classroom everyday! I always use it to get important forms returned!
    Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. This is SO TRUE. I do it with skittles, peppermints, whatever I can. The kids love it and it's kinda crazy how much power we have with that haha

    Anisa @ Creative Undertakings

  3. No can do! Teachers are not allowed to give food out. We don't even have edible bday treats anymore! :)