Ants, Rubber Tree Plants, and High Hopes

Written by Amanda Cote

On June 7, 2011

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant…can’t
Move a rubber tree plant
But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high, apple pie, in the sky, hope
So anytime you’re feelin’ low
Instead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Ooops there goes another rubber tree
Ooops there goes another rubber tree
Ooops there goes another rubber tree plant.

–Sammy Cahn, 1959

Although I’m excited about all of our school-based plans for the school year, I’m really jazzed by the creativity of pulling together resources and activities designed to infuse a college-bound culture within the students, families, faculty and leadership at our four partner elementary schools.  I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about creating a climate where every child believes that they can go to college, and is inspired to work harder because of those high hopes?

Well, my hope is that you’ll be excited, too, and that we can enlist your help! Can you think of low-cost, high-value ways that we can foster those high hopes as early as kindergarten?   Here is some of what we’ve found so far, including a bunch of staff brainstorming ideas.  What can you add to the list below?  All creative thoughts are welcome!

  • Have students write essays about where they would like to go to college.
  • Have students write letters to colleges asking for admission information, and then have them write a report about what they receive.
  • Have students do research projects on South Carolina colleges and their history.
  • Create a “college information” section in each school library.
  • Do online college research projects in computer labs and develop PowerPoint presentations that integrate pictures and words.
  • Have students create career collages in art class.
  • Use budgeting for college and saving for living expenses as math challenges and homework.
  • Have current college students and alumni be part of a regular Speakers Bureaun and come and share their positive experiences, accompanied by pictures of them in college, and pictures/maps of the college itself.
  • Give every child a T-shirt that says “Ask Me Where I’m Going to College” on the front and their year of graduation from high school on the back.
  • Partner with college alumni associations to “adopt” a class or grade.
  • Use college-related items (shirts, hats, jackets, pennants) as rewards for positive behavior and high test scores.
  • Decorate the halls with college related materials and essays.
  • Create bios for all of the teachers that highlight the colleges they attended, and post them on every door.
  • Introduce college vocabulary early on (e.g. call the cafeteria the “dining hall”).
  • Work with the students to create a “college-bound creed” that is recited every morning alongside morning announcements and the pledge of allegiance.
  • Develop a college-bound parent activity kit (college-related puzzles, games, what else?).
  • With permission, create and share videos of CPN students of all ages talking about what they want to be when they grow up or what college they want to attend.

We’re looking for ideas that run the gamut, so don’t be shy!  Know of any kids on summer break who need a research project? We’d love it if you’d enlist their help for ideas and encourage them to post them here so that they’ll get others thinking, too!

Thanks in advance for your ideas!