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February 22, 2014

Saturday Motivation: Donors Choose

It brings me so much JOY to see kids excited about books.  I love reading, but I know not every kid is wired the same way.  We all have different passions, interests.... but when even my reluctant readers are engrossed in books I know there is something to be said about the book. 

Not that all these kids are my reluctant readers.  They aren't.  They are my kiddos that finished their work on time this past week and I gave them the opportunity to read the new books from Donors Choose.

I started pushing our research center this week (we were learning about Abe and George for our mini books).  The kids made up their own folders and got so involved in their research.  They kept asking to research.  They want to learn about something that interests them.  That makes me happy. 

My Donors Choose project was for 30 biographies.  I found even more titles over at Scholastic in their bonus point section, so now I have a full class set.  Mainly men and women, some specific events in history... the kids don't care, they just want to read (and learn).  

My research station is just a basket to hold their folders and file folders that hold my research book pages (I turned my papers into half sheets - less paper).  I stressed that they are NOT to put the folders in their desks.  It's just a 2 pocket folder that they wrote "done" and "working on" on the pockets.  On the done side they have a piece of binder paper with a list of animals or people they have finished, and any of the completed research pages.  I'll take the pages out when I check the folders and give them research points.  The working side holds the pages that they are interested in that they are working on at that moment.  I'm planning on checking them every 2 weeks (since we go to the computer lab every 2 weeks) to give them time to get some work done.  They will eventually form a separate research booklet (per child) that will be on their desks for Open House. 

This week I added the research option to our ELA workshop time, though many kids asked me if they could do it during our writing time too.  I might add that in the future since they are so motivated.  They need to be done with the daily assignment to be able to jump on the computer or read a book though.

We have done a lot of research lately whole class.  Every day we have been learning about a different country (ties into the Olympics) in our What a Small World booklet.  They have seen me use Google to find specific information.  On Tuesday we went to the computer lab and I walked them through learning about Abe & George, and from there they created an entire booklet of writing.  Now having these new books will continue with their love of learning.  I'm so excited!!

It sometimes is the little things that get kids excited (and teachers too).  Thank you so much to the donors that helped fund this (and other) projects for my sweet class.

 Do you have a Donors Choose account?  What is a project that is working great?  

    Linking up with Joanne and her Saturday Student Motivation Linky! 

Have a great day!

PS - The Tricky Math Bundle is still LIVE over at Educents.  It's helping kids with multiplication, division, and fractions.  Only $10.99 for 14 downloads - games, task cards, and activities that reinforce key concepts.  Have you picked it up yet?  


  1. I love all of those biographies! What a fun way to motivate your readers!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    XO, Kelly Anne

  2. I love all those biographies, in fact I just bought a ton of them for my library!! My kids are loving them to and have already started putting them on hold!! I hope your kids love them as much as mine did!!
    Mrs. Saunders' Lovelies

  3. Such awesome biographies-I have a few of that style, but I'd love a class set! Isn't it so rewarding to see your kids excited about learning? You've really motivated them Emily! I'm going to work on getting a class set-you've motivated me too! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  4. I have probably about ten of these books. They are great! What research pages do you use? Are they in your TPT store? Love how you strategically took the photos so you didn't have to edit the pictures. :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  5. Love that particular biography series! They have such appealing covers and seem to be very engaging! I haven't ever tried a Donor's Choose program...but I should! I want so many things!! Ditto to Holly's comment about strategically taking the photos without their faces showing - smart!

    Kate :)
    McDee's Busy Bees

  6. Emily,

    Thank you so much for writing this post, and for using to get your students new biography books! We look forward to many more successful projects from you! :)

    All the best,
    Margie Cadet Marketing Team


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