Jackson Road Elementary students ponder, “Who Am I?”

1.25.18 JRE Who Am I rtp

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Too often, children are inundated by negative influences and standards that are impossible to attain, but Jackson Road Elementary School third-grade students now have a daily reminder of how incredible they are, and motivation to strive to accomplish their goals.

The “Who Are We?” initiative, which was brought to JRES by Amy Brown, a third grade teacher, challenged students to thoughtfully consider how they want to define themselves.

“This project began when we visited Ron Clark Academy at the end of last school year. They have a wall of portraits that feature their eighth-grade students. Each portrait features the student’s character word and has a goal and a quote. We were so impressed with the positivity that the wall displayed that we knew we wanted to make this happen at Jackson Road,” Brown said. “Laura Jordan used to be our principal, and her phrase was ‘Make it Happen.’ Now, when we see something wonderful, we want to make it happen.”

Brown said a Partners in Education grant provided important funding that helped make this initiative happen.

“If we didn’t have the PIE grant, we could have still done the project, but it wouldn’t look like it does now. We would have done it, but it would have been laminated pictures hanging on the wall. It wouldn’t have been as impactful as it is. We never would have been able to afford the materials we used to put it up, so we greatly appreciate the PIE committee for doing these grants each year,” she said.

Brown said at the Ron Clark Academy, the initiative is reserved for eighth-grade students, who look forward to being featured on the wall, and she would like to see that happen at JRES.

“We’re hoping this becomes a lasting tradition at Jackson Road and other schools in the county,” she said. “They were very excited for the project when it was first introduced to them. It’s such a personal project for them to work on. We were actually studying character traits at the time, so we related their personal character traits to their project.”

Taylor Nichols, also a JRES third grade teacher, said her students enjoyed working on this initiative.

“They love seeing their picture every morning, and everyone else’s. It’s increased their confidence, and it reminds them of their goals every single day since they’re seeing it all the time. They have a sense of pride because the backdrop is their house color, and the quotes they came up with are unique to them,” she said. “Some of their goals are academic, but some have said they want to be in the NFL when they grow up, so some of them have big dreams.”

Tyler Barfield, a student of Nichols, said his goal is, “To stay more calm, because sometimes I can’t control how I am. It makes me think how sometimes I can stay calm instead of being crazy.”

He said it also helps him maintain a positive outlook and believe he can accomplish his goal.

“My favorite part is how I could actually be inspired by one person to learn,” he said. “Earlier today when we were doing our fact fluency, I felt like I couldn’t do it, but then I thought about my picture and how intelligent I am, and I decided I could do it.”

Elijah Favors, a student in Brown’s class, said having his photo on the wall makes him feel great and encourages him to work harder. His quote, “Be the role model you needed when you were little,” is personal to him.

“It’s because I want to show kids that are smaller than me better stuff – not to do bad stuff and get in trouble you can’t get out of,” Elijah said.

Favors, who is quite adorable, indeed, said his favorite part of his photo is “my smile and my beautiful face.”

Trinity Clay, Favor’s classmate, said it makes her feel awesome to see her photo on the wall. Her character trait is “leadership,” which she said she chose because of something once said to her.

“When I was a little girl, my grandma said that I could grow up to be a leader,” she said. “It reminds me of how important it is and that I want to be an encourager to people.”

“Play hard” is Jason Wilson’s quote, one he chose because of his love of baseball. With a character trait of “talented,” his photo reminds him of his love of sports.

Braiden Holcomb said he chose his quote, “Be kind to unkind people,” because of the need to encourage others.

“I try to help people when they’re sad. When they’re mad, I also try to help them. By being nice and kind to people, you should treat people how you want them to treat you. I think that may help others to be nice themselves,” he said.

Trinity Singleton chose the character trait “respectful.”

“I chose this because if you want people to think that you’re nice, you have to prove it to them, so they’ll know you’re nice,” she said.

Brown said her students have responded well to this initiative.

“While working on their character trait words, I could see them thinking deeply about their own personalities and how they can display themselves in a positive way,” she said. “It required them to focus on positive traits of their personality.”

Jacobi Lawrence’s demonstrated that depth and positivity, with the trait of “brilliant” as a reminder of his accomplishments as well as the goals he is striving to reach.

“I know my multiplication, my addition and my subtraction. On multiplication, I’m on my nines. I’m great at sliding and great at working,” he said, adding that he also enjoys drawing and playing with his friends. “My goal is to get better at multiplication. My photo makes me feel confident and proud, because I believe in myself, and I always want others to be brilliant, too. My goal is to pass the Milestones test to be in the fourth grade. I want my Mom and Dad to be proud of me, and my little brother and my whole family. I just want them to believe in me.”

Brown said this initiative gives students something they may not recieve regularly.

“They don’t always hear positivity in their lives, so they may not think of themselves that way,” she said. “Now, they’re on display, and they see it every day. They’re constantly encouraged by that.”

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Comments

  1. Kathy Anthony says:

    As an involved grandparent at JRE, I was overwhelmed at this positive way to showcase the kids and their goals at this stage in their lives! My granddaughter’s picture is on this wall and she was so excited when explaining all about it to me. I had to come take pictures to help her remember it in come. Thank you, JRE 3RD GRADE TEACHERS and ADMINS!!

  2. Great article! Thank you for helping get the word out and spread the positivity!

  3. Taylor Nichols says:

    We loved your visit! Thanks for sharing this with the community 🙂

  4. tolleystopics says:

    A positively marvelous idea. Children in today’s world need this bump in their self-esteem so very much.

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