A post on Twitter had me thinking and I tweeted back because @larryferlazoo is an incredible teacher, mentor and blogger. He shares his learning and his insights. We are all better for his interest in his students and education. Below are the tweets that led me to this post.

@Larryferlazzo: Wow,this excerpt from my latest book hasnearly 20K shares:Strategies 4 Helping Students Motivate Themselves @Edutopia http://t.co/eYai5xQnAs

@dubioseducator: @Larryferlazzo @edutopia Been thinking a lot about this topic “intrinsic motivation” #growthmindset https://t.co/TsvF7rBJEB

@edutopia: @dubioseducator We’d love to hear your thoughts on intrinsic motivation for kinders. @laryferlazzo

@dubioseducator: @edutopia Good topic for a post on my blog. Will let you know when it happens. @Larryferlazzo https://t.co/BM4fpoztJf

We ended school on Friday, June 12th. On Thursday we had a morning of Professional Development which led me to write this post about a AH HA MOMENT that relates to motivation, mindset and to the kinders as well. Now I think about intrinsic motivation and the kinders. Come into our classroom in the morning when they have “free choice” activities. Some are at the art table, in the library area, at the computer, building with various manipulatives or playing board games.  Some are just excited about sharing a story with the teachers. They are engaged as they problem solve and cheer each other on. This being a kindergarten class, teachers are close at hand! This is the end of year picture but as I reflect on the beginning of the year, our kinders know what they want to do and teachers more often than not help with the structure of taking turns and sharing.  We are born inquisitive, exploring our world, wanting to understand it. Our passions are intrinsic to who we are and who we become. Intrinsic motivation sets the stage as the kinders work and engage in their interests. Kinders are squirmy and sitting is often not their strong suit so group times are judged by their actions. However they are so excited and “intrinsically” motivated to learn and share what they know. We encourage by not “a good job” verbiage but look for words that opens up dialogue: “what did you think about that” “what can you tell me” “how does it seem to you.” The “I can’t” becomes “let’s do what we can” “let’s see what we know” and we go from there. Then when they have their own “ah ha moment” making connections to reading, writing and math they are empowered to do more; to challenge themselves more. Watch kinders on the playground, no external motivators necessary. I often wonder when, how and why that changes. Is that to say external motivation is never necessary, no, I think it is at times. But the bigger picture here is what happens when one is driven by external motivators and that takes over; do we freeze, because we are afraid to try.

I think this sums up kinders and motivation.  


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  1. I studied this chart and it formed the basis of my training in Early Childhood Education at the University of Virginia in 1969-72. Thank god it’s coming back!

    • faige says:

      It’s important to remember what kids need and so many people are more and more aware of “play” as a basis of learning for young children. We look to balance the reading, writing and math with Developmentally Appropriate Practices. The testing just has to go!

  2. Pingback: Links I Loved Last Week: A Round-up of Online Reading 7/5/15 | the dirigible plum

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