After attending the training last week, I decided to get my students pumped up about college. I went home and created a poster to be displayed outside my door. It read "A future college graduate learns here". The next day, as students pilled into my class they kept asking me if I was "A future college graduate". After class began, I asked my students if they knew what my vision for them was, hands flew up in the air. I called on each eager student and everyone had similar answers..."To pass the EOG", "To pass the 4th grade". I told them that although those were my short term goals for them, I have much more in mind.
I told them about how I wanted each of the to go to the college of their choice, graduate and get a job they love. I reminded them of the sign outside my door and then we had a discussion of possible college choices. I showed them several local colleges on the SMART Board and then gave them an extra credit assignment. I told the students that if they went home and had the college discussion with their parents, went online to a college they were interested in and printed me some information I would give them 10 points on their lowest test grade. Of course this morning I had all kinds of papers brought in.
Sometimes as teachers we get so consumed in the curriculum and overwhelmed with the short time we have to teach them that we forget the big picture. I know to some people spending an hour of my instructional day looking at colleges online and discussing goals may be a waste of instructional time, but to me it helps them see the "why". Why they are in my classroom. Why they need to do good in school and motivate them to want to be successful.
I also hung up all my diplomas and posted pictures of myself at my graduations on the wall. I have talked with the other 4th grade teachers and we have decided to have a bulletin board for each of the popular colleges around. We are going to have a day when students wear they favorite college colors and apparel. Then we are going to take pictures of students and place them on their favorite college's bulletin board.
If you would like a copy of the poster I hung up outside my classroom please email me.