6 Ways to Motivate Students Using Achievements

Data doesn’t belong in a vacuum. In a school environment, it needs to be shared between teachers, administrators, and parents. But don’t forget the most important stakeholder: the student. Their achievements are a reflection of their performance, and a school with a strong culture should give students the power to use those indicators to take charge of their personal growth and improvement.

The first step is ensuring students have access to their own indicators of achievement, whether in a grade card, exit ticket, or another form of performance reporting. Once students have that visibility and understand why it is important, they must figure out what it means.

To help motivate students to “own” their achievement, here are six steps to invest students in their personal performance:

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Connect Achievement to Incentives

One of the easiest ways to get students to own their data is to give them incentives to do so. Schools sometimes assume that incentives are expensive, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t need to sell snacks or invite students to ice cream parties. Some of the best prizes are free. Let students earn a dress down day, eat their lunch with the principal, or spend extra time on the computer. Josh Halverson lets students earn the opportunity to read to younger students.

Les Elfes ski trips for schools - Achievement-motivation low

Promote Healthy Competition

Competition can be a powerful incentive. We see it on the playing field, and it can work in the classroom too. When the contest is about “whose behavior is the best,” it can impact school culture. Some schools use point-based behavior incentive systems, and they use those points to give the students a sense of how they’re progressing, day-by-day.

But also, some of those schools post their students’ weekly point totals prominently in a public place. The Soulsville Charter School, for example, posts them every day in the hallways. Ben Pacht, the dean of students at Columbus Collegiate Academy, puts them up in the boy’s bathrooms. Giving students an opportunity to comparatively assess how they’re behaving allows them another window into their personal growth.

Use Students’ Pictures

Students love seeing their faces on the wall. For example, the “Scholar Ballers,” celebrates students who have excelled academically. The picture is more than an incentive; it’s a kind of “trophy” of success. This performance accomplishment can be tied to academic data, either linking it to overall standards mastery or progress between assessments. It works for behavior, too.

For example, one school, where the culture is based on “7 Habits”, celebrates students who demonstrated the school’s “habit of the month” with the most frequency. The top performers get their picture on the wall.

Help Students Visualize Their Personal Performance

By creating a visual out of data, everyone, including students, can interpret it more easily. They can also benchmark their growth against their peers, which can be a powerful motivator.

Of course, visualization is widespread in the digital age, but it’s possible just to use construction paper and markers to translate numbers to pictures that enhance students’ understanding of their own achievement.


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Incorporate Student Reflection with Progress Reports

When students receive their progress reports, have them write a reflection. Observation and questions can help students interpret their performance. Take it a step further, and those reflections can help students develop their own action plans for the upcoming week. 

Celebrate Wins Daily – Large and Small

Remind students to invest in their data on a daily basis. The greatest incentive can be celebrating wins, no matter how small. The more indicators that get collected, the easier it will be to identify wins, regardless of a student’s challenges. Celebrating a student’s improvement can be a big motivator to show them how their performance and hard work connects to personal growth.


Teachers and administrators are able to adjust instruction, conduct interventions, and evaluate if their re-teaching methods work based on what the analysis tells them. That same process (set goals, make observations, identify problems, take action, etc.) can also be used by students to self-assess their own progress. Following the steps above will help you to inspire and motivate your students to learn.


Snow Play is Good for Your Kids

If it’s snowing where you are, chances are your kids are out there having fun, and that’s good news because snow play is good for them. Here are some of the many ways that fun in the snow will enhance your children’s health, success and happiness.

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At Les Elfes winter camps, students will spend most of their time playing in the snow.

Consider enrolling your child in Les Elfes Winter ski & snowboard camps!

By building physical fitness

Snowball fights can be a lot of fun, and a lot of work too, not that your kids will notice. All that clambering and leaping over the snow takes energy, getting hearts pumping and lungs filling with fresh air. No wonder they come back indoors looking so rosy and bright-eyed! They’ll be building muscle power too, from the pure joy of mucking about in that snow.


Snow Play is Good for Your Kids - Snowball fight


By developing coordination

Whether your children are naturally sporty or not, playing in the snow will help develop their physical coordination. They’ll improve their balance as they negotiate uneven snow and slippery slopes, while every snowball they throw will train their judgement in aim and control.

By teaching self-preservation

Building a snowman with numb fingers is virtually impossible; it’s also painful, miserable and dangerous. That’s why your children come running home to warm up, and why they remember their gloves next time. The cruel side of snow teaches them to beware of it and take measures to protect themselves, which is a lesson for life.

By nurturing empathy and care

Your children will appreciate that if the snow is cold for them, it’ll be cold for their friends as well. They’ll instinctively stop at, or before, the critical point when pummelling each other with snow or setting each other challenges. If one loses a glove, the others will help find it, knowing how much it’s needed, and they’ll learn to extend this caring approach to other situations.

By lifting and inspiring the mind

Snow is beautiful, and your children will be inspired by its magic. From the delicacy of a snowflake to the graceful sweep of a white hillside, its wonders will delight and fascinate your kids, soothing away worries and other negative thoughts. How about setting out some coloured cards, white paint and brushes on the kitchen table afterwards, so they can turn their impressions into a picture? Then their creativity will get a boost too.


Snow Play is Good for Your Kids - winter crafts for kids


By giving joy

Playing in the snow is wonderful fun. You don’t have to be an expert at anything, or over a certain age, to join in, so there’s special freedom to playing in the snow which adds to the joy. Your children require plenty of happy times to empower them for life’s challenges, and the snow outside your door will prove a great provider. Moreover, besides games such as snowball fights or making snowmen, there are many winter activities you can do with your children.  

By enriching family bonds

However busy you are, try and take time out to join your kids in the snow. Your company will hugely enhance their fun as they show and share their games with you. They’ll also be glad of your help with tricky aspects like pulling the sledge up the hill, steering it down and holding younger children steady. They may need help with building their snowman or shaping a snowball too. Take the opportunity to ask if they’re warm enough from head to toe. It may be time to coax them back indoors.

When your children go out to play in the snow, check first that the area is as smooth as it looks, with no sharp objects or icy patches below. Keep a regular check through the window, even with your older ones. Provided they’re safe and happy, you can rest assured that they’ll be thriving out there.