Stage A
Motivation: Using ARCS To Keep Them Striving!

If I'm counting right, this is my 11th year teaching READ 180.  And if there's one thing that I've observed over those years, it's that the students who soar are the students who most relentlessly try their best. It's no secret-maintaining learner motivation can be the difference between Proficient and Below Grade-Level. It can be the difference between a student who wins a 180 Award and someone who slips through the cracks.

Unfortunately, especially when you are dealing exclusively with at-risk learners, motivation can be very hard to teach, and even harder to maintain. 

To this end, I'd like to do a brief breakdown of the ARCS Model of Instructional Design, hoping that by looking at READ 180 through this lens, we'll be able to pick up some insights for our own classes.

What ARCS is:
ARCS is an instructional model designed by John Keller (Florida State University) that is specifically geared toward learner motivation. It consists of four components that give it its name: Attention, Relevance,  Confidence, Satisfaction.  

Check out 
http://www.arcsmodel.com/ for more.

The Good News:  
READ 180 was designed with many of these principles in mind. Our job is to simply to highlight some of these features for our students.


     In General...

  • Gain the learner's attention through imagery, action, or inquiry. 

     With READ 180 in mind...

  • The bulk of this work is taken care of for use in the software and the whole group by the anchor videos.
  • The "Do Nows" can also be a great way to get our students' attention, and can be tweaked and chosen to be more thought provoking and attention getting.
  • The job becomes more important in the reading group, where introducing books to the class or prepping students before they start reading a novel can make all the difference.

      In General...

  • Present the worth of knowledge or skills in terms of both immediate and future usefulness.

     With READ 180 in mind...

  • Big picture: the students need to understand reading's importance.  They need to know where their reading is, where it needs to be, and why.
  • Smaller Picture: the students need to understand what each component of the program does and how that will help them become a better reader. 

      In General...

  • Establishing objectives up-front and provide ongoing feedback of the learner's progress.

     With READ 180 in mind...

  • Regular student conferences about their grades, their Lexile progress, and other reading and writing skills is a great first step.  I meet with my kids before and after every Reading Inventory and several times during each quarter.  
  • Sharing success stories from your own class or from the READ 180 Community Website can be a great confidence booster.

      In General...

  • When learners receive both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards for their work, they are more likely to remain engaged in them.

     With READ 180 in mind...

  • Give abundant positive feedback.
  • Give prizes for Lexile progress and high grades on Reading Zone QuickChecks and Reading Counts Quizzes
  • Discuss trophies and other rewards presented through the software dashboard.
  • Point out the pride students feel when a goal is reached to others in the class.

Parting Word:
Obviously, this is no exhaustive list–and it's not meant to be. What I hope is that by thinking about these 4 pillars of ARCS as you lesson plan and teach, you will be able to tweak activities and interactions in ways that will be more conducive to higher levels of student motivation.   

Stage A READ 180 Educator