A month in to the semester, the class routine has settled nicely. At the bell,
- we quiet down for announcements (changes, reminders, etc.),
- I hand back and give personal feedback on any exit slips that indicated the student wasn't quite ready to move on,
- I check in with individuals as I work my way around the room returning the slips, get everyone working and focussed (some days more focussed than others...),
- students figure out what they need to do by consulting the chart or the master list and get whatever resources they need,
- students request mini-lectures and I begin teaching them once the slips are all returned.
Everyone then continues to work - more or less productively - for the remainder of class.
I am beginning to get a little concerned, however, as a good number of students seem to be losing their motivation. Upon prompting, they'll get up to find a particular resource, or re-open their book, or ask for some help, but I find myself reminding them more and more that class is a time to work on the course, not just socialize.
Some students are taking 40+ minutes to complete a single exit slip (the longest of which, really, should only take 5 minutes at most), as they get distracted by their friends. The chatter is getting louder and louder - to the point where I actually projected a continually-running deciBel meter app from my iPad onto the board so they could see just how loud things were getting (and it did quiet them down, somewhat).
I'm sure part of this is that the class has grown - I've gone from 22 students at the beginning of the semester to 30. They certainly fill the room, and a little bit of talking among 30 students goes a long way.
How can I get them re-focussed and motivated? What is it that actually motivates my students? Grades? Future goals? Comparing themselves to the rest of the class? External rewards provided by parents? And once I know, how can I tie this motivation into the course?
I'll be giving them a survey tomorrow to assess what motivates them, as well as determining what their primary motivation style is. Results to follow...