Give Kids the Sounds of Success

One P, please, for Perseverance. Let's hear it for the sounds of success!

One P, please, for Perseverance. Let’s hear it for the sounds of success!

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

I’ve read over the last few weeks about several college graduation addresses by accomplished speakers in diverse locations.

In ceremony after ceremony, a theme prevailed about what it takes to be successful – patience, perseverance, courage and kindness.

This theme sparked an idea in me for teachers who work with children in elementary school…

Long before their college years, let’s introduce kids to this concept of success, not only in character education programs, but also in the form of language instruction. NOTE to worldwide readers: Adjust this approach for languages other than English.

Teachers can help children explore these success-related words – patience, perseverance, courage and kindness – in new and creative ways, including, for example, how we use words like courage and kindness that begin with the same sound but different letter. 

We can give kids the sounds of success.


Yes…specifically…2 Ps and 2 C or K sounds.

When you begin a conversation around this theme, invite kids to say the letters P, C and K aloud with gusto!

C stands for courage, but also for the word, can. Perseverance make can do possible.

C stands for courage, but also for the word, can. Perseverance makes can do possible.

Ask them to listen for the distinct sounds that these letters make.

Explain that in this exercise, one P stands for Patience.

A second P stands for Perseverance.

Speakers at recent graduations implored young people, as all teachers can do to, “Remember to practice patience. You will need it in the world of today and tomorrow. Commit to developing perseverance. Perseverance will sustain you in a constantly changing and unpredictable world.”

Continue a language arts connection with the sounds of success by sharing a poem about perseverance with students.

Remind the class that poetry is all about sound.

Poems are written to be heard as well as read.

Challenge students to listen carefully – an attentionology skill of its own – for the most used word – can – as you read my poem (see below) aloud.

Perseverance Pays

I can, I can, I can, I can,

I can, I can, I must!

Oh no, did I get that wrong again?

Okay, okay, I’ll try once more,

But sometimes I don’t know what for.

Listen brain…I can, I can, I can, I can

I can, I can, I must!

Ouch, I hurt my head and my heart!

Do I have to keep going

When I’m falling apart?

Okay, you say perseverance pays.

In how many ways?

For how many days?

Oh, you mean I should never give up,

Never ever.

I see! You’re not giving up on me.

You have perseverance!

In a world full of distractions, the sounds of success are sometimes drowned out by the roar of information overload.

How can we give kids the sounds of success based on courage and kindness amid the violence that so many witness in person or via media outlets today?

One answer…

C stands for courage, a letter and word with a powerful sound...part of the sounds of success.

C stands for courage, a letter and word with powerful sounds…the sounds of success.

Invite children to sound out each word – courage, kindness – and think about the power behind the sounds.

C for courage makes a strong sound.

K for kindness sounds a little gentler, like the meaning of the word itself.

Share my poems about courage and kindness (see below) with the class after you announce a pre-planned poetry writing time when students will write poems of their own about these two important sounds of success.

I Know Courage

I know courage when I see it

In the face of someone

Who sets aside fear.

 I saw courage at work

In the firemen featured

In the news last year.

I know courage when I see it

In the raised hands of someone

Who acts on his or her belief.

I heard about courage at work

When my mother told me

Of neighbors stopping a thief.

I will know courage when I feel it

Filling my own heart and mind

With a sense of right and wrong.

Courage will build my character

As I learn that I can help others

By being brave; by being strong.

Kindness - My Grandma...a universal truth for so many children. Grandmas cheer for children's success.

Kindness – My Grandma…a universal truth for so many children. Grandmas offer the sounds of success to children in countries around the world.


When you read aloud the title of the poem, Kindness – My Grandma, ask students to listen for the where the word patience and caring fit in.

Challenge children to listen, too, for how actions speak louder than words, as expressed by the actions of the grandma who is the focus of the poem.

Point out that positive actions makes their own sounds of success.

Kindness – My Grandma

“That was very kind of you,”

the Reverend said to Grandma.

I felt that way about her too,

when she hugged me just last Sunday.

Grandma is kindness wrapped in smiles.

She always asks how I’m feeling

with a voice that is patient and caring

and eyes that see into my heart.

Grandma said that it was kind of me to

ask for help to rescue an injured bird.

She called a veterinarian to see

what we should do for the broken wing.

Grandma checks on all of her friends

who have been sick or sad or lonely.

I’ve heard her on the telephone

with words that soften the worst of blows.

When Grandma reads this poem about her

she will hug me again and say,

“It was very nice of you to write about me

with so much love and kindness.”

When you begin poetry writing time related to the sounds of success, instruct students to think about people they know who show patience, perseverance, courage and kindness.

Advise the class that these models may be the subjects of their poems.

Consider “publishing” children’s finished poems and suggest to their parents and caregivers that they tuck these treasures away for later review…

maybe when the elementary school poets of today are graduating from college tomorrow.

What will the sounds of success be then?

How do you give kids the sounds of success in your classroom? Please send comments.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet





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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students continue to use lackluster verbs in their writing.

Solution: Show toy cars and pretend to make them zip across a page, telling the class that good writing includes action words (verbs) that have "zip." Ask the class for examples of "zippy" verbs like zoom, race, flash, rush, etc.

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