Young Target Students Spread Messages of Hope

Students explore the relationship between encouragement and perseverance.

Second grade Target students in Dr. King’s class at Kennesaw Elementary and third graders in Mrs. Rogers’s class at Smyrna Elementary recently participated in an affective lesson on perseverance. Students learned what it means to “push through” and wanted to encourage others during this challenging time. They organized and are implementing plans to show appreciation and encouragement to their teachers.

Many gifted children demonstrate strong emotional intelligence, expressing empathy and compassion at a young age. As these students learn about social and emotional concepts, they not only reflect but often express concern about these ideas as related to others. The students in Dr. King and Mrs. Rogers’ classes applied their understanding as they developed plans to encourage teachers. These students know how challenging times are and how hard their teachers work to help them learn.

Following the lesson on perseverance, Mrs. Rogers’s third graders decided they wanted to spread messages of inspiration, hope, and perseverance to teachers at their school. They asked for donations of treats, bags, and ribbon from parents and local businesses. Each week before class, they bag treats and write a personalized message to a teacher in the building. They deliver the bags to the mailroom and place them in teachers’ mailboxes. They plan to share treats and notes with every staff member at Smyrna Elementary. When asked, students said they felt it was important to let teachers know they are doing a great job every day and that they are appreciated. They named their initiative “Operation Teacher Appreciation 2.0”.

Across town, Dr. King’s second graders researched famous people who demonstrated strong perseverance. They analyzed these people’s character and circumstances to determine the obstacles they faced as well as what they did to push through. A student researching Tyler Perry learned his first film was unsuccessful; he said Mr. Perry reminds him to never give up. Another student who researched Mr. Perry found he was once homeless, saying that sometimes we may go through hard things but can push through. Students then created their own mantras to help themselves when they encounter obstacles. They shared signs they’d made that reflected mantras such as “Go Girl!”, “I can do it. I am strong.”, and “Try it again”.

Students in both classes look forward to the next phase of their work. They have developed a strong understanding of the power of encouragement in inspiring others to push through challenging times. They are committed to reminding themselves and others of the possibilities.

Andrew Kutscher, Supervisor
Advanced Learning

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