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AES TAG students create motivational posters to boost spirits

Students in the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program create motivational posters to inspire and boost spirits through their online class at Andalusia Elementary School (AES).

“There’re 64 kids from third through fifth grade in TAG,” said Barabra Peek, TAG teacher at AES. “We [in the class] focus on working on real-world problem-solving skills and critical thinking. We meet—or had met—for one three hour class a week.”

The class currently uses Google Classrooms, a Google web service that streamlines the process of sharing files, assignments, and coursework, and Google Meet, also a Google web service powered through Google Hangouts and serves as a video conferencing app.

“I went to a [TAG] conference earlier this year and brought back a set of weekly challenges for my students to do,” said Peek. “On the week of everything [the cancelation of in-person schooling], it just so happened that the weekly challenge was ‘motivational posters.’ You know, some things just work out and I realized that this [challenge] could work while we couldn’t see each other in person.”

Peek asked her students questions like: “How can you help people feel better?” and “What quote would help you feel better?” to involve the students in the decision-making process.

“They said things like ‘bored, ‘stressed,’ ‘nervous,’ and etc.,” said Peek. “It [their answers] had a large part in what their parents’ jobs or feelings were.”

“The kids are invested in this project because it’s about them, their world, and what’s happening to them personally,” said Peek.

Peek gave the students the option of completing the project by submitting a Google slide or making a paper poster and uploading a picture.

“This week’s goal is planning on how to get them [the posters] out,” said Peek. “Do they want to use social media? Make a video with everyone’s poster in it? Have people put them in their windows for others to see?”

TAG student Rylee Wingard, a third-grader, quoted Vivian Greene’s “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain” on her virtual poster.

Sawyer Hardy, a fifth-grader used Michael Jordan’s words: “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them” for his poster, placed beside a hand-drawn basketball on his poster.

Oprah Winfrey’s quote “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything” was used by Brennah Chapman, a third-grader.

“This isn’t just making a poster,” said Peek. “This is teaching them [students] how to search on the Internet using keywords, downloading photos, formatting pictures and fonts, and other technical skills that they will use later in life.”

“Teachers are trying to make things interesting and to keep [students] them involved and motivated,” said Peek. “Getting their input throughout the class is just a small part of that. It’s hard to stay motivated when your routine has been interrupted and you don’t have to get up, get ready, go to school, and do everything that’s in a typical day. We [teachers] know that, and are working with students to keep them moving and invested.”