Leaving Your Ex(trinsics)

“Leaving Your Ex(trinsics)” is the title of Chapter 6 in my book You Can’t Teach Through a Rat, and the one I most frequently recommend to educators, because the issue of intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation seems the most nagging and intractable issue that educators in general and character educators in particular struggle with.  There are … Continue reading “Leaving Your Ex(trinsics)”

Character and Academics–How to Integrate

I’ve been thinking a lot about our focus this month on integrating academics and character education in the classroom. We truly believe they should be intertwined, but sometimes when I go to a school for a site visit evaluation, I observe lessons that seem like were planned just for my visit, as if someone had … Continue reading “Character and Academics–How to Integrate”

A Collaborative Curriculum: The Strengths of PBL

by Pam Mitchell Beginning the Journey Mockingbird Elementary embarked on a Project Based Learning (PBL) journey seven years ago after observing PBL in action at  New Tech High @ Coppell, another school in our district. We had already been focusing on Rigor, Relevance, and Relationship (Dr. Bill Daggett) as a district, and we had also been … Continue reading “A Collaborative Curriculum: The Strengths of PBL”

My Son is Not My Dog

By Marvin Berkowitz, Ph.D. It was early in my career when I first had to confront the idea of how we think about kids. As an undergraduate at the University of Buffalo over 40 years ago, I took Willis Overton’s developmental psychology class, which focused on a chapter he was writing with Hayne Reese on … Continue reading “My Son is Not My Dog”

Improving Motivation through Student Voice & Choice

By Tamra Nast, Birmingham Covington School CounselorEdited by Lori Soifer, Michigan State Schools of Character Coordinator There is no owner’s manual for parents and teachers to tell us how to help each child grow into ethical, empathetic and responsible learners, leaders and citizens. Students come to us with unique abilities and talents. I believe the … Continue reading “Improving Motivation through Student Voice & Choice”

The Pitfalls of Extrinsic Motivation

By Terry Gill B.Ed., B.Sc.N., Student, Ph.D. Program, Educational Psychology,  Walden University With society’s preoccupation on success, it is not surprising that children see value in the pursuit of good grades and rewards. Unfortunately in this pursuit of extrinsic rewards (controlled motivation), students may lose appreciation for the joy of learning (intrinsic motivation). Instead of … Continue reading “The Pitfalls of Extrinsic Motivation”

Resource Roundup: Tools for Motivating Your Students

When do you feel most motivated? It’s unlikely your answer is, when I’m studying for an arbitrary standardized test or completing activities that require rote memorization. Perhaps you feel most motivated when you’ve set clear goals for yourself that are meaningful to you or when you’re working on a project that draws on a passion … Continue reading “Resource Roundup: Tools for Motivating Your Students”

Rules and Incentives

Second in a series by Rebecca Bauer, a graduate of a School of Character, who is now chronicling her student teacher experience. Like most classrooms, we spent a good deal of time the first week discussing rules. We brainstormed a list together. The lead teacher wrote up a consolidated version and then every student signed … Continue reading “Rules and Incentives”


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