Motivating Students with Powerful Messages

By Eric Antuna on October 3, 2009

Here's an idea!  It may seem simple and a bit corny, but I like to inspire my students with powerful words using thought or speech bubbles on pictures of presidents or celebrities. I found this excellent photo of President Barack Obama from and had it printed as an 8x10. Then I found Post-It speech and bubble shaped notes. I take quotes from the president's speech and change it every so often to help motivate my students.

Simple? Yes. Effective? Yes. My students look forward to seeing the quote change every so often.  The one on the photo says, "Try harder at being good!"  Some other quotes that I gleaned from the speech are:

"Read each night!"
"Don't be afraid to ask questions."
"Don't ever give up on yourself!"
"What contributions will you work for?"
"What problems will you solve?"
"You have to do your part, too!"
"I expect great things from each of you!"

The students look forward to the different quotes that come up every few days.  I look forward to the students following what it says as well as practicing fluency.  

Eric :)

I downloaded the President's photo the day of his presidential speech for the students. Here's a photo of my students watching his speech:

Students watching the Presidential Address to students


Have you considered photos of other figures in history and quotes from them as well? It might be interesting to vary the 'faces': people of different backgrounds, gender and ethnicities... Here's a few to get you started: Thomas Edison (NJ native-I'm a Jersey girl!) Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Sally Ride: All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary. Yoyo Ma: You have to take time, lots of time, to let an idea grow from within.


Great ideas! When I came into this idea, it was about the time of the speech President Obama made to the students of America, but you are totally right - varied faces and quotes are precisely what we need to expose students to!

Thanks for the comment! -Eric

This is a great idea! I am going to give this a try. I think my students will like this.


Great! Let us know if you have success!


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