We also wave flags.
I wave a flag (not literally) that encourages outdoor free play for kids. I wave a flag for helping others believe that all students can learn to write.
Our students wave flags; they have issues and ideas that make their lives meaningful. When we give students a chance to write about what they care about, it serves as an invitation to learning. If we can think of ways to engage students in the writing process by encouraging innovation and creativity, even if the final assignment is technical or specialized in nature, we can encourage learning. Having a class brainstorming session, connecting assignments to current events, or asking students how an assignment connects to a current event in their own lives can help.
What flags do you wave?