The age-old question of teachers everywhere: HOW DO I MOTIVATE MY STUDENTS?
The answer? DATA! Accountability. If my students see their grade and progress (or regress in some cases?) they are motivated to do something. Once I discovered this, I made grade tracking a biweekly activity in my class. I have learned many shortcuts through trial and error, so here is a free example of what I do. I write out all the assignments that were given that week (or two weeks, or unit, etc), and the possible points. Then I have a checklist box and a grade box where students can keep track of each assignment. We hand back papers once a week or every other week and they write their score in the box. Then I keep a running tally of how many points have been possible so far that quarter and they divide their points by the points possible.
* My school now uses a weighted category grading system, so my students' grades are not really based on points. However, the total comes out pretty close and the main goal of having them see what they are missing or what they got a low grade on is still achieved. If your kids are good at math, you can organize your grade tracker by weighted category and have students figure out percentages, but that is too advanced for my students, so we stick with points.