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How the Hell Do We Motivate These Kids?

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How the Hell Do We Motivate These Kids?

Todd Stanley (Author)

In my over 20 years in public education, I have seen my fair share of students who became disinterested with school. This manifested itself in obvious ways such as not turning in work, poor grades, lack of participation in classroom activities, and just a general apathy for school. 


Equally alarming to me was the evolution I saw in my own children concerning their attitudes about school. Both girls, bright and compliant, came to dislike going to school. Not to the point where they were missing days or receiving poor marks, it was more subtle. Whereas before my daughters could not wait to get to school to see what interesting thing they were going to learn, in their later years the act of going to school became a chore, a job. What had happened to that enthusiasm they had displayed those first few years of school? Where did things go wrong and suddenly they were hoping for snow days or counting down the time until summer break? What had happened to my daughters’ love of learning?


This is what this book sets out to do; to change the mindset about schools as being places someone goes because they have to, rather than going because they want to. To take the love of learning every student possesses and make school the place where this can happen. The idea behind this book is that teachers can use the strategies shared to make their classrooms places where students want to go to learn, to help to motivate not just the unmotivated, but to inspire those kids who once loved going to school. This book seeks to answer that age old question, how the hell do we motivate these kids.

About the Author

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Todd Stanley is a National Board teacher and the author of many teacher-education books including Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st Century Classroom (2nd edition), When Smart Kids Underachieve in the Classroom: Practical Solutions for Teachers, Authentic Learning: Real World Experiences that Build 21st Century Skills, and his latest, Promoting Rigor Through Higher-Level Questioning. He served as a classroom teacher for 18 years where he taught 2nd graders thru seniors in high school. He is currently the gifted services coordinator for Pickerington Local Schools in central Ohio where he lives with his wife Nicki and two daughters, Anna and Abby. You can follow him on Twitter @the_gifted_guy or visit his website at where you can access blogs, resources, and view presentations he has given.


We know that the majority of students, by the end of elementary school, do not want to come to school to learn what we teach them, and COVID teaching amplified the importance of motivation to engage in school work.  Instead of bribing, coercing, demanding compliance, using grades as carrots, Stanley provides so many powerful ways to invite students to learn in your class.  This is the go-to book to know the HOW to motivate your students

--John Hattie, Emeritus Laureate Professor, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

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