This Tuesday and Wednesday (day 1 and 2), we’ll make sure everyone can access Powerschool and Google Classroom. These are important tools that most of your teachers will be using. I’ll also confer with you individually to hear more about the system you’re using to keep track of your homework. We’ll make sure we have outlook calendar set up and teacher blogs on our home screen.

Please come prepared with your IPad, some challenging homework, and your independent reading book from Humanities.


Learning Habits: reflecting on our motivation

On Day 7 and 8 this week (Friday and Monday), we’re going to think a little bit about what motivates us in school: why do we study for important assessments? Why do we turn in homework on-time? Why do we care about what shows up on Powerschool or our report cards? This may be the most important thing we think about this year, because motivation is key to all learning.

All students (all people, really)  are motivated by different things. In school, some work hard mostly for reasons that come from inside them. They study because they enjoy learning new things;  or because they want to prepare themselves for what comes next–high school, university, their future careers; or  because they find it satisfying to overcome challenges. Motivation that comes from inside us is called intrinsic motivation.

Other students work hard mostly for reasons that come from outside them. They study hard because they like to get praise or rewards from their teachers; or because they want to make their parents happy; or because they want to avoid ‘getting in trouble.’  Motivation that comes from outside us is called extrinsic motivation.

Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can work, and most of us are motivated by a mix of things. But there is some interesting research that suggests that extrinsic motivators (e.g., rewards and punishments) work better for mechanical, boring things, while intrinsic motivators (e.g., working hard because it is satisfying to do a job well) work better for things involving creativity and higher level thinking–much of what we do in school.

For example, rewarding people with money for picking up trash is likely to result in them picking up more trash. But rewarding people with money to become great writers or to solve high level math problems, is not likely to be effective. This may seem hard to believe, but this video by Daniel Pink explains some of the research and reasons why this is true. (If you’d prefer to read about these ideas, you can look here.)

So what mostly motivates you as a student? Which are more important to you, extrinsic motivators or intrinsic motivators? Share your thinking in the comments below.

Back to School Night

Welcome parents!

Much of the work we do in Study Skills and Academic Support is based on individual student needs. On this blog, you can keep up with the focus of what we’re doing as in the whole-group portion of our day. Though it’s written primarily with students in mind, please feel free to visit regularly to see what we’re up to.

For an introduction to Ms. Khanna and I, here is our 2016-17 welcome post.

You can find my Back to School Night presentations here: Study Skills; Academic Support; Advisory.

You can find a little bit about my philosophy here.

You can find the Academic Support syllabus is here .

The Study Skills syllabus is here.

Finally, here’s the link with my contact information.

Best regards,

Michael Creighton

Independent reading and Google Classroom

This Wednesday and Thursday (Day 5 and 6) we’ll be talking about independent reading. Independent reading is a crucial study skill; of the most important things you can do to grow as a thinker is to read a lot. Independent reading is not only fun, but it builds your vocabulary and your knowledge of the world. We’ll look at the research on this later, but for let’s just say reading makes you a better reader, a better thinker and a better writer.

Most Humanities teachers expect you to read, and so do I. Today we’ll set up Google Classroom, and I’ll send  you a copy of a basic reading log. (This is my first time using Google Classroom, so we’ll learn together!)  I’ll go over what I expect in class and will answer any questions. Don’t worry, my reading log won’t take much time–it’s just a way to keep track of the books you read this semester; this will give us something to talk about when we begin our  regular reading conferences.

Once you’ve completed your log, you can turn it in. I’ll take a look at it and will return it to you so you can keep adding to it.