Search Mobile Navigation

Clock Watchers

Six Steps to Motivating and Engaging Disengaged Students Across Content Areas

By Stevi Quate, John McDermott
Foreword by Cris Tovani

This six-step framework applies research on increasing motivation and engagement. You’ll catch and hold students’ interest in any content area, connect kids with content through assessment, and get ideas for projects, activities, and classroom routines.

Special Offer: Save 30% off our list price automatically when you buy 15 or more.


In Stock

List Price: $29.38

Web/School Price: $23.50

eBook + Print Bundle

Full Description

Listen to a podcast with Stevi Quate, John McDermott, and two teachers who have used their framework to get all students engaged and motivated.


“Instead of cringing the next time your colleagues utter the words, “These students don’t care,” hand them Clock Watchers. Describe your personal struggles and your experience with the book so they know that you know what they’re going through. Then point out a few of your favorite ideas. As you walk away, you’ll smile knowing you’ve made a difference.” —Cris Tovani
Author of I Read It, but I Don’t Get It

For Stevi Quate and John McDermott, this was the missing piece of their teaching: “How can I motivate my students and then create a context that will engage them?Clock Watchers is their powerful answer—a plan that gets kids to care about learning and truly engage with the curriculum.

Clock Watchers is not a book of tips and tricks. Instead it applies the research on motivation and engagement to support increased achievement and improved attitudes about school. Quate and McDermott’s six-step framework:

  • catches students’ interest across the content areas
  • holds it through meaningful learning and valuable interactions
  • uses assessment to create further opportunities to connect kids with content
  • sustains it all with ideas for projects, activities, and even classroom routines and rituals.

Clock Watchers works with the most reluctant learners. Its end-of-text study guide makes the book ideal for PLCs and study groups, and it is a research-based resource for district-wide initiatives aimed at improving student motivation and engagement.

If deeper learning, increased achievement, and reduced drop-out rates matter to you, then motivation and engagement are an urgent matter. Read Clock Watchers with colleagues and put it into action—before the time to change your students’ lives runs out. 

(click any section below to continue reading)


1. Do We Have Time for Motivation and Engagement?

2. Caring Classroom Community

3. Checking In and Checking Out

4. Choice

5. Collaboration

6. Challenge

7. Celebration

8. Putting It All Together: The Six Cs as a Braided River


Companion Resources


As an instructional strategies coach for beginning teachers K–12, I read, I annotate, and I model, many ideas from many professional books. Reading professional books and applying the concepts to the classrooms of the beginning teachers is my job. So I read many books and by far Clock Watchers is the best book I have read in the last 2 years. In my opinion I find the book as valuable and mindset changing for viewing learning and how to be an effective teacher as Radical Reflections by Mem Fox and I Read It and I Don't Get It by Cris Tovani.

Each chapter weaves anecdotes and examples with practical ideas and strategies. Each chapter weaves student engagement theory into the text. And yet this text treats the reader as a professional; there are no "scripted" strategies in the text, it is up to the professional to determine implementation.

Page after page I find thoughts that reinforce the findings of Classroom Instruction That Works, by Marzano, Pickering, and Polluck. Page after page I find strategies that reinforce the instruction and guidance of The Strategic Teacher by Silver, Strong, and Perini.

I realize this review sounds like a paid commercial and maybe a little scripted but it is a honest, spontaneous reaction to a great book. Ann Van Duyne "Learning Always", March 31, 2010

Great tips for the beginning teacher. Excellent reminders for the veterans. Relatively short and easy to read. As a teacher and high school librarian with 20 yrs. in the business, I can tell you this one is worth having on your shelves! I'm buying extra copies for our professional libraries in our middle and high schools. LibraryLady2, Forsythe, MO, 8/9/2010