Sparking Student Motivation: Passports

Happy Saturday, friends!
I am enjoying a lounging day in my pajamas, trying to get over this horrible head cold.
Confession: I woke up this morning and accidentally took NyQuil instead of DayQuil. Big mistake. I went back to bed and slept in til 1pm! I'm only now shaking off that awful groggy feeling :)

I wanted to share a quick idea with my bud, Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching, that motivates my students to learn and retain information...
Because my classroom is travel-themed, it seemed only fitting that the students have passports! Learning takes you on an adventure to far away destinations, so a passport is definitely needed :)
Sphere Flags Clip Art
I introduced the lesson by showing them my passport. 
It was interesting to see that more than half of my class said they already had passports, but only one little boy knew what it was for. Most of the students thought it was for when they wanted to cross state lines :)

The students actually get two separate passports - one for history and one for reading (more on that later).

The one that we started this week that was a fun motivator for the students was the History Passport.
Our history curriculum is awesome - the students travel chronologically from 1903 to the present, through WW1, the Roaring Twenties, the Stock Market Crash, the Great Depression, WW2, and on and on...
The passport is the perfect activity for tracking our journey through time and space!

First, we filled in our passport information sheets that go on the cover of our folders:
 
 And then I gave them our first Destination Page - it has a place for them to fill in important information about key people, dates, and vocabulary that we have studied. Then, they draw a stamp that represents the key topics covered in the chapter.

We just completed our first "stop" in the early 1900s as we studied the way Transportation had been Revolutionized by Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers:
I usually give this to the students on the morning of the test day as a final review (although sometimes it is an activity they complete quietly after the test, while others are still working)
You could also give it to your students at the beginning of the chapter and fill it in together as you read and study.
Sometimes I fill in the people/words they need to define and sometimes I let them try to pick up on key figures and vocabulary. It depends on the chapter, on the group of kiddos I have, and on my mood :)

If you would like to try this with your students, you can grab the destination template page for FREE:
Well I'm off - hubby is feeling sorry for me in my sick state, so he's popping in a chick flick.
I'm so blessed to be married to a winner :)
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