I’ve written before about my ongoing experiment with students visualizing success. It seems to be going well, and I’m going to be very interested in late January when we have our first assessments to determine if there is any measurable affect on the data.

I recently tried a slightly different version of the same idea. One of my students, who is clearly very smart, has had incredible difficulties focusing an concentrating on any academic work — in any of his classes. I’ve tried every strategy imaginable and, though he and I have a very good relationship, nothing has worked (we’ve also been trying to work with his family).

He really likes to draw. So I suggested to him that he take half of the time we spend on “practice reading” (or silent sustained reading) each day and write a sentence saying what his goal in class was for that day. After he wrote the sentence, he was to draw himself accomplishing it. For example, today he decided to write “Today, I’m going to do all my work” and drew a pretty good artistic rendering of himself doing just that.

And he really did it. In fact, since we’ve started doing this exercise, he’s been remarkably focused in class.

We’ll see if it’s a long term solution or not, but it’s an example of looking at students through a “lens” of assets instead of deficits, and figuring out how to effectively “leverage” those talents.