As I have been writing my recent posts, I have been searching for a way to represent this chain reaction visually, and this past week I created something that I really like. I have included a jpeg image of the visual below, and if you would like a PDF copy of it, please e-mail me via this website, and I will send it to you.
Let me explain the various parts of this diagram. The two lines at the top capture the main idea of the visual and express to children my belief that the most important decision they can make, as students, is to dedicate themselves to becoming the best students they can be.
From there we proceed to the bottom of the page and start on the lower left. Once kids make “The Choice,” they start caring more and trying harder in school. For the remaining steps we proceed up the spiral, alternating from left to right. When kids care more and try harder, they eventually produce better, higher quality work. When that happens, they notice and other people notice the improved results. Their teachers, parents, and classmates provide them with positive feedback, and they provide themselves with positive feedback. That increases their confidence. As a result, their pride and enthusiasm for learning grow, which, in turn, causes them to realize that they should expect even more from themselves and develop even higher personal standards. The cycle continues.
On the far right side of the page, you will notice the green arrow. This helps kids remember to start at the bottom of the diagram and proceed upward to follow all the steps. Soon I may create a contrasting visual (The Vicious Cycle) that illustrates the negative chain reaction that results from not making “The Choice” - or worse, making the opposite choice. On that diagram I will include a downward-facing arrow to help highlight the contrast between the two visuals.
Note: I found the image of this colorful helix on virtualmathmuseum.org.