Engage Every Student
Author: Elizabeth Kirby, EdD
Author: Jill McDonald, Med
Table of Contents
Introduction: Understanding Motivation
The Framework of 40 Developmental Assets® for Adolescents
The Power of Assets
Chapter 1: Factors and Traits That Affect Motivation
Chapter 2: Using Different Approaches for Different Learners
Best Practice Tips to Address Different Learning Styles
Motivation: What’s My Style?
Multiple Intelligences Survey
Student Learning Profile
Chapter 3: Setting Goals and Changing Behaviors
Best Practice Tips for Setting Goals and Changing Behaviors
Skills for Success Goal Sheet
Are You a Procrastinator?
Harassment Intervention Packet
Behavior Intervention Plan
Daily Tracking Sheet
Daily Effort and Conduct Sheet
Attendance Intervention, Levels 1 & 2
Attendance Intervention, Levels 3, 4 & 5
Chapter 4: Fostering Self-Esteem and Enthusiasm
Best Practice Tips for Fostering Self-Esteem and Enthusiasm
Liabilities or Assets?/What You See Is What You Get!
Personal Belief Systems
Thinking Errors Activity
I Can Change!
Chapter 5: Strengthening Social Skills
Best Practice Tips for Strengthening Social Skills
Reading Social Cues
Getting to Know Me . . . Getting to Know You . . .
Find Someone Who . . . Have You Ever . . .
What Is Fueling Your Anger?
Taming the Temper
Chapter 6: Creating Strong Relationships with Parents and Adults
Best Practice Tips for Creating Strong Relationships with Parents and Adults
Cha Ching! The Trust Bank Account Activity
Five Simple Rules to Build Trust and Communicate Effectively
The challenge of motivating underachieving students is addressed in this classroom resource guide that
advises teachers and other concerned adults to look beyond test scores and encourage under-performing
middle school and high school students to find their motivational spark. Developmental benchmarks,
reasonable expectations for results, and strategies for charting progress are discussed for a myriad of
situations—including those with learning disabilities, family and environmental factors, different learning
styles, and other root causes of motivational deficit—and paired with classroom strategies to address
each unique case. A learning styles inventory and a multiple intelligence test are provided to aid in
evaluation, and handouts and home strategies to share with parents are offered to reinforce the home-
Chapter 1: Factors and Traits that Affect MotivationThere are many reasons that can explain why teens
are unmotivated—and for
many teens, there is more than one reason. This chapter is devoted to discussing
various types of unmotivated students and the factors that interfere with
academic achievement.Academically Challenged/Learning DisabledWe all have challenges in different
aspects of our lives, but for the academically
challenged or learning disabled student, school can be a daily source of frustration.
When academics become a constant struggle, motivation decreases and stress
and pressure rise. Imagine what this must feel like day after day. It is easy for a
teen to throw in the towel when there seems little chance that the material can be
understood or completed. When successes are few, students tend to disengage, lose
hope, and give up.Anxiety over poor performance creates vulnerability—an uncomfortable
feeling for anyone, but even more so for adolescents. Asking for help or clarification
from a teacher may be out of the question for teens who think they will be
perceived as “stupid” or “dumb” in front of their peers. In an effort to cover up
their insecurity about learning, academically challenged students may act out,
appear defiant, or say that they “don’t care” or “hate school.” For them, it is a
way of saving face in front of others and in their own minds, which is a better
option than admitting that they don’t understand or cannot do the work. Defiant
behavior such as this is fairly typical and is a normal coping mechanism for a
frustrated adolescent who is feeling helpless and insecure. Teachers and parents
need to look behind the smokescreen these students put forth.Academically challenged and learning
disabled students can be put into
one of two categories: those who are eligible for special education services and
those who are not. Many students possess learning deficiencies, but only a
small percentage may qualify for special learning support. A learning disability
in many states is defined as a gap between ability and potential. States use a
discrepancy model that compares a student’s IQ with her learning ability. When
there is a significant discrepancy between a student’s cognitive abilities and
academic abilities, support services become available. Students whose academic
and cognitive abilities are more closely matched are excluded from these support
services. Often referred to as “slow learners,” these students must put forth a great deal of effort to
achieve passing grades while receiving little formal
support, and it is understandable that their motivation for school would decline
over time.Helpful Ideas:
*Break instruction into smaller pieces.
*Build on prior knowledge connections.
*Stress value in various learning styles (see Chapter 2).
*Allow choices for reaching various learning styles.
*Set goals with students; review and assess those goals frequently.
*Correctly identify and place students within appropriate support systems.Gifted and TalentedAll children
are gifted and talented (GT) in unique ways, but some display
academic gifts far above the norm. The National Association for Gifted Children
(NAGC) cites the following definition for gifted and talented children: “Students
who give evidence of high achievement capability in...
Elizabeth Kirby, EdD
Elizabeth Kirby, EdD, is an assistant professor in the education leadership department at Central
Michigan University. She is a former middle school teacher who has published articles on teen
victimization and school legal issues in Legal Memorandum and other law and education journals. She
lives in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
Jill McDonald, Med
Jill McDonald, MEd, is an administrator in the Huron Valley school district who has worked as a middle
and high school teacher, administrator, and at-risk program coordinator. She lives in Detroit, Michigan.