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This year, I have been struggling to motivate my level 1 students to do...anything outside of class. They are great kids, but there are a few who are not the most dedicated of students. After entering grades, I was saddened to see the number of students who had fallen below the D or F line. We only had a few weeks before final exams, so I took drastic measures. I had the students write a note to their parents telling them what their current grade was, what they had or had not been doing to earn that grade, what grade they would like to acheive and, finally, what measures they were going to take to get to that grade. The students had two days to return the note to me signed by their parents. Those who did not return a note...we called Mom and Dad, right there in class. I was pleased to see that only a small handful of students didn't bring the note in, so I did not have to make very many phone calls. And, those parents whom we called, they signed that note and sent it back the next day. Out of all of my level 1 students, only one student didn't bring in that note. That was two weeks ago. After "the note", several students have really been working hard to improve. I wanted my students to know that I have noticed their improved effort. So, I made up little "Grade Improvement" certificates. We applauded for each and every student who made any sort of improvement from .01% to 4% (That was my biggest improvement.) My "biggest jumpers" got a little extra reward. I made sure that I acknowledged the improved effort of each of these kids. It is sometimes hard to tell with high school kids, but some of those who rarely smile might have snuck in a little smirk today.