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Recipes For Success - GATE Students Focusing On Goals
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Cloverland sixth grader Kylee Black staples her Recipe for Success onto a wall in her GATE classroom as part of an ongoing project for GATE students to identify and incorporate certain traits into their everyday lives to achieve goals. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

Four cups of honesty, three-and-a-half cups of modesty, three cups of responsibility, two cups of respect, and one-and-a-half cups of good language.
That is the “recipe for success” according to Cloverland sixth grader and GATE (gifted and talented education) student Kylee Black.
“I can be responsible by turning in my papers, be respectful by treating others the same,” she explained of how she incorporates her recipe into her daily life.
District GATE teacher Brenda Combs has had each of her students at the elementary schools create their own recipe for success by using the newspaper and identifying people they think are demonstrating success, or select someone from history or someone they know personally that they admire. The students think about what traits these people must posses that help them achieve their goals in order to discover and isolate their own thoughts about success.
“I enjoy using the paper to teach my students learning skills,” Combs said, “…We use (The Oakdale Leader) to identify individuals who are implementing a value to help them accomplish good things … we are also using it to help us learn important writing skills.”
She explained that for the “recipe” assignment, students identified at least eight family values, which they reviewed with family members, and then each student came up with short and long-term goals for themselves. They prioritized their values and created their recipes for success using the values as ingredients. Then they wrote a multiple paragraph essay that explained how to use their recipe to apply it to their life and accomplish their dreams.
Additionally, the students compared and contrasted their own values to values that they believe are possessed by the person they admire, based on that person’s actions. Combs also had an adult from the community come in to the GATE classes and speak to the students about personal success.
“Excellence doesn’t all look the same,” Combs said. “Excellence comes in many shapes.”
She added that she wants her students to recognize the many different ways in which people are successful.
At Cloverland, the GATE students had a number of different traits that they used in their recipes. Some included humor, dependability, patriotism, integrity, cooperation, and teamwork.
Fifth grader Alexys Rawlings said her recipe calls for 20 cups of love, 10 cups of hard work, 15 cups of courage and eight cups of trustworthiness.
“After you bake it in the oven for a while, out pops you,” she said with a smile.
“My recipe for success is mostly about my future and is about my dream to become a doctor and what I need to do to achieve that,” noted fifth grader Shivan Mistry.
He believes that what he does today lays the foundation for what he wants for his life in the future.
“You need at least five-and-a-half cups of ‘hardworking’ or you won’t be successful,” said fifth grader Misha Mistry. “You have to be caring. I even put ‘imaginative’ (as an ingredient). One of my dreams is that I want to become a heart surgeon… If I’m not hardworking, I won’t reach the goals and dreams I want to reach. (The recipe) helps me. I don’t have to keep thinking what I should do… It gets out of your brain (and onto paper), you actually see it with your eyes.”
While the initial part of the assignment is complete, the recipe for success is also, in some ways, an ongoing project for her students, Combs said. Some students said that writing down the recipes helped them focus on their goals and having the recipes posted on the wall serve as a constant reminder. They can also add to and adjust their recipes over time as their goals evolve.
“When I have it written down, it’s kind of like an annoying song – it plays over and over in your head… It can help you get through what you’re doing,” Rawlings said.
“It doesn’t make me wonder what my recipe for success is…I’m not confused. I have a guideline,” Black added.
In addition to meeting state writing standards with the recipe project, Combs added that her students “define family values, identify personal goals, and learn how to apply their values on a daily basis to make their goals and dreams come true.”