Hesperia Unified teachers are turning to tenpins and rented shoes to successfully motivate their students.


Every six weeks, Lime Street Elementary teacher Jennifer Lundemo's third grade students take math and language arts benchmark tests. The tests serve to tell Lundemo, her school and her district how the students are doing and what subjects need extra emphasis before the end of the year.


Normally, about 10 of her 33 students pass both halves of the tests. But the last test of the 2010-2011 school year is coming up in May, and the students who pass both halves of the next-to-last test don't have to take the final one of the year. To encourage her students to knuckle down, pass and get to do something else during testing in May, Lundemo promised her students that she would pay for anyone who passed both halves to go bowling at Victor Bowl in Victorville.


"Just another incentive to push them," she said.


It worked. Twenty students, instead of the normal 10, passed both halves of the test, and on April 18, Lundemo paid up, hosting a night of bowling at the bowling alley.


"They were excited to go bowling," she said. "Half of them had never been bowling. ... Quite a few said 'this is the best night of my life!'"


Of the 20 who passed, 14 students came with family members, as well as two students from fellow Lime Street teacher Pia Courtney's 3rd grade class who had also passed both halves of their benchmark tests.


The evening cost Lundemo $70 out of pocket -- and in these tight economic times, she's not likely to get reimbursed by the district -- but it was totally worth it, in her mind.


"After I saw how it was [received], I'm definitely doing it again. It was priceless seeing their faces."


Lundemo got the idea from Eucalyptus Elementary third grade teacher Jennifer Boatwright, who did the free bowling incentive last year, and who will be taking her students bowling on April 25.


"They go to the movies all the time," Lundemo said. "I just wanted something different."


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.