The past 2 weeks in reading class, I have been bribing my students to work hard. The AIG department has sets of iPad minis that we are allowed to check out for a few weeks at a time. These fun devices have provided quite the incentive to stay focused in the classroom.
After finishing our novels from the first part of the year, students have moved on to related nonfiction topics. Each Tuesday when students come in, I hand them an iPad mini, tell them an amount of time (20-30 minutes) to set the timer to and they get right to work researching their topic. When the timer goes off, they can "play" on the iPad with pocketLawfirm or Educreations.
It was just an experiment the very first time I did it (and I wasn't expecting such crazy results), but it is an effective focusing tool! The room was silent for almost 25 minutes. Now, typically, I'm not one of those teachers who expects a quiet classroom, and I think learning happens when students discuss things together. However, I cannot wait to see the products that come from these focused students! Look for projects to be posted after the new year!