Last Friday, I flashed the slogan, Imagine Your Potential, on the SMART Board for students to ponder. I had one student define the word potential for everyone, and I was happily surprised when she came up with a very good explanation. After determining that it is what things can be, what your lives can become, the success that is possible with hard work and determination, I handed out some string and three plain white beads to each pupil.
"Those plain white beads," I told them, represent your life and what it can become. They are you in the present and you in the future. Some of you may think you are merely fourth graders, today, but imagine what lies in store for you in the days to come."
This year, our first recess in in the morning, not long after students tied these beads onto their wrists as bracelets. I accompanied the class to the "back yard", our immense playground at Cecil Floyd Elementary School, and it didn't take long to see kids running from the far corners to the place I stood, our "back porch".
"Mr. Hoggatt! Mr. Hoggatt!" they yelled before reaching me. "Mr. Hoggatt! You didn't tell us the beads would turn color."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"The beads turned color!"
"Yes," I said. They turned color. Do you remember what the beads represent?"
"That's right. Now just imagine how much your lives can change and become so much better with the hard work that we began, this week."
To my students, this was an excellent illustration. Some special "magical" beads that reacted almost immediately to the ultraviolet light from the sun, a little scientific magic if you will, brought a positive conversation about goal setting and goal meeting in the fourth grade and beyond. While their futures still are to be determined, these kids are already thinking of ways to improve themselves...and it's cool to see that some are still wearing their beads a week later.
And that's a valuable attitude for them to adopt.