________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 11. . . .November 13, 2015


3-Minute Motivators. Revised and Expanded Edition.

Kathy Paterson.
Markham, ON: Pembroke, 2014.
160 pp., pbk., $24.95.
ISBN 978-1-55138-295-1.

Subject Headings:
Effective teaching.
Motivation in education.
Creative activities and seat work.


Review by Betty Klassen

****/ 4



A 3-Minute Motivator is a quick diversion from the task at hand that helps students eliminate less-than-productive behaviors and refocus attention back on the lesson. Students themselves quickly come to appreciate and even eagerly anticipate these activities, which can be referred to as refocusers. In addition – and this point is of key importance to teachers – all 3-Minute Motivators involve some element of learning in areas including, but not limited to, memory enhancement, creativity, social awareness, personal stress management, mathematical awareness, communication, and wellness. In addition, the motivators in this book can be used as anticipatory sets for lesson in any subject, at any time, and, usually, in any place.


Seven years ago when Paterson wrote the first edition of this book, I was impressed with her novel approach to suggest that when teachers notice student attention or interest wane that they interrupt their lesson with a short activity break, such as standing in place beside their desks pretending to walk on ice. This second edition follows the same premise, but it offers up even more ideas. This presents teachers with a very positive approach to engaging students, and, instead of reprimanding them and asking them to focus on the lesson, acknowledging their need for a change of activity, choosing and facilitating one to meet their needs in that moment, and then, getting back to the lesson.

      These 200 plus motivating activities have been expanded to include more ideas under each of the previous sections and a sixth section entitled “Today and Tomorrow” that includes 13 ideas that involve technology and 17 to assist students in dealing with stress. This broadens the purpose of the motivators to include emotional development along with the previous focus on social and intellectual growth and needs.

      The “Introduction” clearly explains the purpose of this book and how it is structured to easily meet the needs of both students and their teachers. Chapter 1 thoroughly and concisely explains why to use these motivators; provides guidance to choose the right motivator; describes how to enact them, includes a bulleted list of further tips, and concludes with a table that organizes the motivators according to the most appropriate subject area in which they could be used.

      In the “Table of Contents” the motivators are organized into chapters that denote the type of motivator, such as to “Calm Down,” to “Get Active,” or to “Communicate.” These two methods of organizing the motivators quickly assist teachers to find what they might be looking for. Each brief motivator description includes the title, purpose, related subject area, and whether it is an individual, partner, or whole class activity. A bar on the left side of the page identifies any needed supplies, and Paterson includes a sample script to facilitate spontaneous use if desired. The “Index” includes an alphabetical listing of the motivators as well as related ideas to ensure teachers can easily find what they are searching for.

      This revised edition of 3-Minute Motivators is a useful resource for teachers of all ages and all subjects. With 217 motivators from which to choose, teachers are sure to find ideas to create a positive break, to refocus waning attention, to engage tired minds, and to provide a reason to laugh and have fun in the midst of learning. Whether you have the first edition or the second, both include sufficient choice.

Highly Recommended.

Betty Klassen teaches in the Faculty of Education in the Early and Middle Years Programs at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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