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I-1, I-2, I-4: The Heart of Investment

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I-1, I-2, and I-4 are the trifecta of student investment. Together they creat a simple formula:

“I want” x “I can” = Investment

Unfortunately, investment can be an elusive animal in the classroom – particularly in high school and middle school, where students often define themselves by their newfound desire to push the envelope. While building “I want” and “I can” and regularly reinforcing them is the key to investment, the most effective way to build them in your students can be a puzzle. There’s no specific recipe, but two precursors are getting to know your students and understanding a little about their cognitive development at that age.

I-1 speaks to how the teacher develops students “I Can.”

Teachers who develop “I Can” at the advanced proficient level:

a) Effectively use a variety of student-centered strategies based on what they know about their students and the situation to convey to that students can achieve by working hard.

b) Regularly convey messages and employ a series of integrated classroom strategies.

Some examples of developing “I Can” are:

– Evidence of students’ own progress (for example- having students track their own tests and quizzes)

– An explicit discussion about malleable intelligence

– Leveraging the classroom big goals

I-2 is how a teacher develops students “I Want” and their belief that they will benefit from achievement.

Teachers who do this at the advanced proficient level:

a) Use a variety of student-centered strategies that effectively convey to students that they will benefit from academic achievement

b) Employ a series of integrated classroom strategies regularly.

Some examples of developing “I Want” are:

– Building connections between class achievement and their lives and aspirations.

– Leveraging the big goal

I-4 Consistently reinforcing academic progress towards the big goal while increasing long-term investment in hard work and the goals.

Advanced proficient for this looks like:

a) Choosing a variety of appealing reinforcements based on your understanding of the students and the situation.

b) The reinforcement system(s) recognizes significant academic effort (like studying hard and making incremental gains) and mastery of a well-defined absolute bar (above 80%).

c) Provides reinforcement flexibly so it is delivered at purposeful intervals and almost always conveys the meaning of the reinforcements as a celebration of progress towards the goal. This both maximizes impact and leads to intrinsic motivation.

Examples of reinforcement are:

– Praise

– Public recognition of success

– Extrinsic rewards

– Competition

– Student-teacher relationships


Here is a list of investment strategies put together by Erin Swanson: Building “I Want” and “I Can”

“I Want” Resources:

D.’s classroom math chant: What room is this?

Article: How Real People Use Math

Article: What’s the Point of Algebra?

“I Can” Resources:

Student Quiz Tracker

Student Self Tracker

Special Topics:

What really motivates middle school students?


Written by theonlinepd

March 13, 2008 at 9:31 pm

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