Challenge: 12 Weeks to a Full Heart

Welcome guest writer, Jill Fletcher! Jill is an elementary principal at Eastside Elementary in Cabot, Arkansas. She, along with Angie Ralph, counselor at Lakeside Middle School, Lakeside, Arkansas, created The Twelve Weeks to a Full Heart Challenge for her school family. It is too amazing not to share with other educators! The challenge is described here, and there is a link below to the pdf document, should you want to print a copy to tweak for your school. Jill’s purpose was to provide encouragement and begin the second semester with positivity. Adding programs won’t help students who struggle with some big challenges, but strengthening a relationship will! 

I am so grateful she agreed to share her idea here! 

12 Weeks to a Full Heart 

Touch a heart, teach the mind.

A New Year’s Challenge for all educators.

The New Year brings time of reflections, restarts and resets! I bet you have a list of things you want to do this year for yourself, family or others. What about school? Better instruction, better classroom management, or better time management? This 12 week challenge will help with all these by building a relationship with “THAT STUDENT”.  We will take it one week at a time as a team…we can do this, we can fill their heart and yours too! 


1- Pick a student…let’s be honest here…that one that drives you CRAZY. Write their name down somewhere you look everyday. On your desk, calendar, mirror, you pick! Take a picture of that name so it is on your camera will need it on week 12!

2- Give THAT STUDENT a compliment everyday this week. It has to be genuine and different each day. Are their shoes on the right feet, did they comb their hair today, write their name correctly on their paper? Surely you can find something positive about them!  

3- Stick THAT STUDENT a sticky note on their desk with a positive quote…stationary will be in your box! Need some quote ideas…here ya go POSITIVE QUOTES FOR KIDS

4- Connect with THAT lunch with them. Do NOT talk about school! Talk about both of your interests, talents, favorite music…it’s really just twenty minutes…you can do it!  (Helpful Hint: the earlier in the week the better; they will remember it all week long!) Set some goals for this student to accomplish. What do they want to improve on, accomplish, achieve…school and/or personal.  Write them down because you will need them on week 9. Hey, give them a card with their goals so they can see them everyday. 

5- Call THAT PARENT to tell them something they are doing well! Have they used a kleenex to blow their nose, giving a friend positive encouragement, sat in their chair for 15 minutes? If you need your class covered to do this, let us know!  (This is NOT a text, message, note or email…VOICE TO VOICE!)

6- Love THAT STUDENT– It is Valentine’s Day. Give them a special Valentines…not one that everyone gets! Watch them open it and see what their face tells you. Remember, they are a child, they have stresses and worries like you. They might not have this positive connection with anyone. They need you! Fill their heart with joy…I bet you will start to feel the joy as well!

7- 2:2:5 THAT CHILD! We are half-way there! Don’t give up! Have you noticed a difference in class with this child? Have you seen any improvement in their work ethic, attention, respect to you/others? This week is going to be a hard challenge…you can do it. It only takes two minutes for five days. That is ten minutes for the week. You ready? 2 people (just you and that child) for 2 minutes for 5 days to sit down to talk about…LIFE! You know their interests, hobbies, favorites (unless you skipped week 4-if so; go back and start over at week 4). You do not have to be in the classroom, try the lunch room or recess…watch the other students when you go to that child and kneel down to talk to them (JUST TWO MINUTES) and pat them on the back with a smile as you walk away.  I bet your shoulders will be strong and you will be smiling…so will THAT CHILD’s. I would love to hear what you noticed during this time! DO IT for FIVE days straight! Find different times to check in with them! 

8- Encourage THAT CHILD– Establish some type of an incentive plan for your child. You should know what they like and what they will work for by now! Give them daily incentives so they feel accomplished…might need to make it a morning and afternoon opportunity….they need to feel successful! 

9-Share THAT CHILD with your team…how have they changed- talk with your teammates about how this child has changed in your classroom. If you are not seeing improvements, let’s talk and see what we can do differently. 

10-Reflect on THAT CHILD’s accomplishments. Remember the goals you set on week three…get that card out…how are we looking? 

11-Send THAT CHILD a card. There are some in the lounge if you need one, or better yet….make one yourself! Put it in school mail with the home address and our school address as the return address.  I bet this will brighten their evening. Remember to give a little positive encouragement about something SPECIFIC that they have improved on this semester! Have they achieved any of their goals? 12- CELEBRATE THAT CHILD! Take a selfie with that child. Add the picture of the name you wrote down on week one. Have you made a difference? Add the changes you experienced below! Send me the selfie!  


Congratulations, you made it! It is SPRING TIME! Watch out…parent teacher conferences are coming soon! This will be interesting to see if the parent acts different this time! Keep this relationship strong and continue to check up on this child…you are making a difference in their lives everyday! 

Touch a heart; teach a mind!