Category Archives: Motivating Learners

Engaging with Art

Australian Art Education Vol. 33, No. 2, 2010

Five Reasons to Take Young Children to the Art Gallery and Five Things To Do When You Are There

Role playOne aspect of this sequence was the assumption of the persona of pictorial figures by dressing up in character. Dressing up as the characters they saw in pictures, adopting their facial expressions and stance, encouraged close obsen/ation, but engaged children also in imaginative or empathetic interpretations of the experiences, feelings and lives of the figures represented in the works. In one museum setting children explored the impacts of war through displays developed around the ANZAC theme. They dressed up in period costumes, military and school uniforms and work clothing. They engaged in role play interactions and posed for photographs.

Developing role-play dramatic interpretations of art works encouraged playful, imaginative and inventive engagements. Using prompt questions like – What if? What has happened to make this person feel this way? or What happens next? – educators encouraged children to think beyond the picture itself, to visualise and act out contexts, extensions and interpretations that re-framed their appreciations in ways relevant to their own lives and experiences. Other educators use other questions: “If you could jump into this painting, I want you to think about where you would be and what you would be doing” invites children to construct new made-up narratives, imaginative relocations and extended dialogues about what they have viewed in pictures (Eckhoff, 2008, p. 468). These are playful and enjoyable ways to close looking and child-centred learning: Children love to dress up, they love to role-play and pretend, they love to build, they love to climb and explore. Children’s museums provide opportunities for children not only to choose between all these sensory and intellectual treats but also to decide which aspects they will engage in. They have permission to start when they want and stop when they want (Falk & Dierking, 2000, p. 186).”


Weekly News

I have found morning time in the classroom to be a busy, and exciting time. Many of the children have things they want to share with the teacher and the class and need time to have a chat. Sometimes children are almost bursting to tell someone their news.

Upon reflection, I believe a ‘weekly news’ setup could be a great way to ensure that those who want to share something are given the chance to be heard.

The ‘weekly news’ chart (much like a meeting agenda) would be on display for the entire week. Children have the opportunity to add one item each to the chart before midday Friday. At the end of the day on Friday, time could be allocated for ‘class news’ where each item is covered. If the classroom is equipped with an Interactive Whiteboard, an ipad could be wirelessly connected to it so that the children who are speaking are filmed and shown on the screen as they talk.

Children might like to share news (good or sad), stories, songs, performances, achievements, artwork, or learnings from the week.


“Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.”

Ipad apps for classroom use

Aurasma- creative – used to make 3d pictures
Move and match – perfect for reading groups
Omega recorder
Talk recorder
Bits board
Book creator
Qr reader – this was really interesting. Record steps for each reading group, print out codes and students scan the codes with iPad for each time they start or complete an activity / step saves constantly asking the teacher 
Video scribe hd – fantastic saw students making word banks.
Here are some links to some fantastic classroom ICT resources:

No more rewards

How to reward your students when you don’t believe in rewards

What an inspiring article this is. Going through primary and secondary school as a student, rewards were commonplace in most classes I was a part of.  Pernille says here that children really do not need  extrinsic rewards for learning to happen. It makes sense. Setting up an elaborate classroom rewards scheme can take time and energy, and most likely just gives children the impression that there is no need to learn unless a reward will be offered.

The paragraph that really stuck with me was:

“So in throwing out all of my rewards, I found out about the biggest reward of all; time.  This simple concept that I know we have precious little of in a classroom is a hot commodity to everyone.  Now when my kids deserve recognition (which they do every day) I give them time.  Whether it is to take the time to speak to them about their work, or to write feedback.  Whether it is to give them time to work or just time to speak to one another.  How about time for a sledding party?  Or time for 5 minutes of meditation after that awesome assembly?  How about the time to just be a classroom, to just hang out and celebrate all the amazing things happening in our room, in our school, in our world?”

How awesome is that. Time. Simple. Taking the time to explain to a child why their work is outstanding, or areas they can focus on. Taking the time to explain to the class how attentive they were at assembly and offering them a 5 minute meditation afterwards.

I will definitely be working towards implementing a program in the classroom that uses time as the biggest reward. Getting over that ingrained belief that items like stickers are needed to motivate children to learn won’t be easy – but I am excited to begin to adapt this new learning into practise.

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