I've gotten so I just hate to drive. To attend the AR workshop in Marshall, MN, I had an eight hour drive... from school, another 15 minute drive.
But the workshop was worth it. How have various people motivated their students to READ? Well, one principal, 6',2" allowed the fourth graders to TAPE HIM TO THE WALL with duct tape. Every student who made his/her reading goal got a piece of duct tape (2-3'?) long. The day came, tape was passed out, and the principal stood on a milk crate style box. Students placed their tape. When everyone was done, the box was removed. As he hung there, a baby hat and bib was placed on him (since he was taped to the wall, he was defenseless), and photos taken. A good time was had by all... Sure beats our pizza party...
Another time, once students read and passed chapters 1-5 of the class book Robin Hood, they duct taped the ends of sticks, put a 6" wide board a foot off the ground, and let the kids, after being shown a few basic moves, use their cudgels to knock each other off the board into the "moat"... a la Robin and Little John. And here I thought I was being so original when I had my main character Despina and a fellow teacher teach her elementary students how to do it in SummerCircles! Here's a guy who REALLY did it! (Another teacher I told that story to said you probably couldn't do that now because of the potential for injury and law suits... Sad commentary on our times.)
I sound like one of Garrison Kieler's Duct Tape commercials from Prairie Home Companion.
Of course, we got a good dose of the reading studies' most successful practices, and the #1 indicator of a top reader is still PARENTS WHO READ TO YOUNG CHILDREN. A bunch of the stuff just took that apart to see why it worked so well... Such as comparing the # of hours a student is with the school as opposed to with the parents, something like 500 hours to 54,000 hours... (Remember, I'm number impaired, so even one day's lag in writing those figures down probably means I'm misremembering something but not the number of 0's behind them.)
We generally start looking at the process one important step late. First, the students need to have heard the words, to recognize them in their mind. You can't draw out what has not been put in. Jim Taleese's read aloud recommendations were really good. The gal who sat next to me had seen him in person, and we had a good chat. People who had books that worked for reading aloud shared them with the class, and the teacher took notes.
So, I was bouncy when I left at 3 to face my 8 hour drive... but I was flagging by the time I got to the Iowa border on I-35. It was a good thing I came on home, though, as Cariñosa had cut her back leg pretty badly, and although the vet had come and she'd been helped into the front yard with her foal, with the aid of some neighbors, she still needed more attention.
Colonel Ray, her son, had not ever been behind the electric fence. He also is a child of the entire herd. Since he's the only foal for the year, he tried to rejoin the herd... by running through the electric wire and going down the road across the creek and along my fence line, which got the whole herd upset. I could hear his hoof beats on the paving. So, by 12:30, Marthy and I got him returned to his mother, where he stayed. The rest of the herd might be far more mobile and fun, but only momma has the milk bags.
We got him back up on the road, where I was holding the good mother mare Karess. She called to him, and then I led her toward the wide open gate. He followed her eagerly until he got to where he could see his dam, then dashed to her side. I took Karess back out to the road and secured the gate. Marthy tried to repair the electric wire along the front. Sure was a relief to see him still in the next morning. He's turning off liver, which is neat.