[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



In this book by award-winning author, Larry Ferlazzo, you will find answers to some of your greatest needs: how to motivate students, help students see the importance of personal responsibility, deal with disruptive students and classes, find best ways to maximize the chances that a lesson will be successful, and more.  Each section of the course will provide stimulating ideas and down-to-earth tools, including lesson plans that will save you hours.  You will also be introduced to user-friendly websites that you or your students can use to integrate tech tools into the engaging lesson plans. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1.  Learned specifically how to ”create the conditions within which students will motivate themselves”.
2.  Explored the twelve essential focuses that involve helping students become more responsible.
3.  Learned how to prevent and/or deal with disruptions.
4.  Examined both the classroom culture and classroom instruction that promote student responsibility
     and self-motivation.
5.  Been provided with lesson and unit plans to support all suggested strategies.
6.  Been provided with information to include online resources to supplement every lesson strategy.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Ferlazzo, Larry. Helping Students Motivate Themselves:  Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges.  (Second Edition).  Foremally from Eye on Education, now published by Routledge, 2018. 190 pages. ISBN 978-1-4166-2531-5

  • Helping Students Motivate Themselves
    ISBN# 1596671815
    by Ferlazzo, Larry

    Buy from Amazon


Text is approximately $20 at used.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduction.

In 1-2 pages, please introduce yourself and explain your interest in this course.

Assignment #2: Preview the Text.

Preview the text, and read through page xviii.
Then describe the most important information you found.

Assignment #3: Developing Self-Motivation.

Read Question 1 “How Do You Motivate Students?” and Question 2 “How Can You Help Students See the Importance of Personal Responsibility?” 
Describe how the author addresses the goal of developing student self-motivation and responsibility and other valuable ideas, resources and lesson strategies in these chapters.

Assignment #4: Disruptive Student & Out-Of-Control Class.

Read Question 3: “How Do You Deal With a Student Who Is Being Disruptive in Class?” and Question 4: “How Do You Regain Control of an Out-of-Control Class?” 
What were the most important ideas, resources and best lesson plans you found for each question?

Assignment #5: Problems As Opportunities.

Read Question 5: ”How Do You Help Students See Problems as Opportunities, Not Frustrations?”
Comment on the need you see for lessons that help students see their own growth and that help them develop resilience.
In 1-2 pages explain which ideas you would adapt for your own grade level and subject area.

Assignment #6: School Start & Finish.

Read Question 6: “What Are Some Ways You Can Get the Year Off to a Good Start?” and Question 7: “What Can You Do to Help Keep Your Students and Yourself Focused at the End of the School Year?” 
In 2-3 pages compare the best ideas in these sections with the best suggestions/ practices you have used for these times of the school year.
Write 1-2 pages on which 3 ideas described you would add to your strategies and why? 

Assignment #7: The Last Few Minutes.

Read Question 8: “What Are the Best Things You Can Do to Maximize the Chances of a Lesson Being Successful?” and Question 9: “How Can You Best Use a Few Minutes of ‘Leftover’ Time in Class? 
Summarize the main points and tell which were of most value to you.

Assignment #8: 2 More Questions.

Read Question 10: “How Can You Help Students Develop Higher-Order Thinking Skills?” and Question 11: “What Are the Best Ways to Incorporate Cooperative Learning in Your Lessons?” 
What ideas were familiar to you? Describe the best new ideas you found in these two chapters and include how they added to your own background of experiences. 

Assignment #9: Tech & Learning Games.

Read Question 12: “What Are the Easiest Ways to Use Educational Technology in the Classroom? And Question 13: “How Can You Best Use Learning Games in the Classroom?  How did these chapters activate and/or add to your own instructional repertoire?  What was most interesting to try?

Assignment #10: Films that Illustrate Theories

Select and watch two (2) films about teaching such as Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dead Poet’s Society, Renaissance Man, The Miracle Worker, Conrack, Freedom Writers, or films of your choice.  Many of the classic films are readily available on Netflix.  
Describe how these teachers worked out their challenges, and compare with any of the suggestions in the text.  You may also borrow from examples of effective teachers you know.  Write the analysis in 2-3 pages.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #11: 4 Online Sources.

Go to four (4) of the online resources suggested in the Ed Tech sections in each chapter, or through your own search efforts, from lessons that interested you, and write a 3-4 page brief assessment of their applicability to your own classes.
NOTE:  Some of the online sites listed in the book go offline after the book is published.  Some are still very good.  Don’t count on finding everything from the sources in the book.

Assignment #12: Focused.

Focus on the strategies from Question #7 “How to Keep Yourself Focused…” that relate to your own needs and report on the value of those strategies for you. 
What might you add to the strategies in the book? Write 3-4 pages.

Assignment #13: Lesson Development.

Assignment #13:   (Required for 400 and 500 Level)
Assignment #13-A:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by adding your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • Submit your modified lesson to your instructor via the online response box or file upload.
Assignment #13-B:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share your learning with other teachers by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here. You may review a sample of a lesson plan template here.
  • Write a 500+ word article about a noteworthy teaching success you’ve had with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the response box or file upload. 

Assignment #14: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:
Option A)
Go to Larry Ferlazzo's Website of the Day at Scroll down to the very bottom of that page.  On the bottom, click on the middle video on the bottom of the  page " Helping Students Motivate Themselves." Watch that first video and write your reaction to his key question, "Do we want to be right, or do we want to be effective?"  If possible, give an example of a time you made an adjustment of an assignment to help a student respond with natural self-motivation to do an assignment that was otherwise irrelevant to him/her.  Then pick any of his other videos that look interesting to you and write a summary of what he described in that video and what you thought about that message.
Option B)
Select 1 focus from one of the Chapter Questions in the book, and develop a complete set of lesson plans built on one of the best ideas you got from that section.
Option C)
Another assignment of your own design with the prior approval of the instructor.


Assignment #15: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.



CASSI, JONATHAN.  Level Up Your Classroom:  The Quest to Gamify our Lessons and Engage Your Students,  ASCD, 2016, pb, 180 pages,
ISBN 978-1-4166-2205-5.  This is the natural complement to Helping Students Motivate Themselves;  there are personalized approaches for teachers to try if they have been wondering how to use the power of educational games in their own classrooms.  This is not a techie book; it’s a playful introduction to lead you from your own childhood experiences with the games available at that time, to the present world of online resources that lead today’s students to love gaming.  The result could be the possibility of finding your own enjoyment and showing the best way to plan assignments that suit the varied learning styles of students.  And, of course, there are suggestions for dealing with some of the most intriguing problems that come about when students jump into these new tools for learning.  You will have a great guide into the world of classroom games.
DECI, EDWARD L.  Why We Do What We Do, New York, NY. Penguin Books, 1995. 230 pages.  ISBN 0-14-025526-5.  This is the most often referenced book on the subject of intrinsic motivation. It establishes the goal of helping others find the long-term benefits of choosing what is the most worthwhile and satisfying course of action instead of settling for the goal of gaining compliance.   It is very readable and refocuses a person on why it is honorable and important to help people gain the knowledge of self-direction and self-control.
ERWIN, JONATHAN C. The Classroom of Choice, Giving Students What They Need and Getting What You Want, Alexandria, VA. ASCD. 2004. 229 pages.
ISBN 0-87120-829-6.  Based on Glasser’s beliefs that people have these motivators:  fun, freedom, power and belonging.  Give students choices, and they will pick what meets an unmet need. It is rich and wonderful, full of practical and engaging strategies to achieve important intellectual goals while helping students meet their developing social and intellectual needs.  Erwin believes that while learning is hard work, it doesn’t have to be painful:  Fun is both a prerequisite for and a byproduct of quality learning.
FERLAZZO, LARRY. Self-Driven Learning:  Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation, Eye on Education, Larchmont, NY, 2013, 208 pages,
ISBN 13-9780-1-59667--239-0,  and Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners:  Strategies to Help Students Thrive in School and Beyond, 2015, Routledge, New York, 199 pages, ISBN 978-0-415-74666-3.  After the huge popularity of Helping Students Motivate Themselves, Larry Ferlazzo has continued his contribution to our efforts to awaken and empower students our of their lethargy.  In both books there are more complete lesson plans that will capture your students' focus, self-interest, curiosity, and skills needed both in school and out of school.  All the lesson plans are correlated to the Common Core ELS/Literacy Standards.  Most lessons are targeted to secondary students, because research shows that the teen years are open to influence and life learning.
GLASSER, WILLIAM. Choice Theory in the Classroom. New York, NY.  Harper Perennial. 1988.  350 pages.  ISBN 0-06-095287-3
Surprisingly, this book falls squarely on the side of offering students the option of working in groups, almost in parallel with books on cooperative learning.  What this book adds is that the reason for employing learning groups is that it satisfies some of the basic human needs: fun, freedom, power and belonging.  He suggests intrinsic motivation arises when students learn in groups of their own choosing. 
PINK, DANIEL.  Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  Riverhead Books. 2009, 256 pages.  ISBN 1594488843, eISBN 978-1-101-52438-1 
The best book I’ve seen about why carrots and sticks no longer work, and specific ways to unleash what he regards as the three elements of real human motivation:  autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  While not written solely for educators, one whole section is dedicated to “Nine Ideas for Helping Our Kids.”
SAGOR RICHARD. Motivating Students and Teachers in an Era of Standards. Arlington, VA. ASCD.  2003. 152 pages. ISBN 0-87120-801-6.
Six-fast-paced chapters focus on the need for both teachers and students to feel the power of experiencing basic psychological needs:  a sense of competence; belonging; usefulness; potency; and optimism.  Each chapter focuses on one of these, which drive student and teacher motivation to work hard.
SULLO, BOB. The Motivated Student. Alexandria, VA, ASCD. 2007, 177 pages. ISBN 978-1-4166-0810-3. Activating the Desire to Learn164 pages.
ISBN 978-1-4166-042305.  These books focus on the power of intrinsic motivation and how to lead your students to enjoy the journey of learning. Activating the Desire to Learn reveals theory and research about intrinsic motivation and then provides strategies for each level of learner K-12.  Based on Glasser’s list of the human needs for fun, freedom, power and belonging, or connection.  You will be reminded of the need for some humor, as well as other positive practices that lead to greater student self-control and self-motivation.
WILLIS, JUDY.  Research-based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning, Alexandria, VA. ASCD. 2006. 127 pages. ISBN: 1-4166-0370-0.
The author was first a doctor of neurology then a teacher of elementary and middle school. She is a great communicator, bridging the science of brain research and the realities of teaching, and child brain development.  She presents critical information for teachers, not only about the best ways to help students with memorizing and test-taking, but also the importance of getting student attention and the role of emotions in the learning environment.