The goal of every teacher is to help students reach their fullest potential. Teaching students to develop their hopes and dreams for the new school year is a key skill for achievement. It helps them make the connection between their personal choices and the end results. Read on for ideas on how to encourage this important skill.
At Riverwood Elementary, teachers begin the year generating "Hopes and Dreams." As a kindergarten teacher, I wait until my students have become familiar with school before beginning their "Hopes and Dreams" activities. Because many of our kindergarten students might become confused by the word dream, I focus on their hopes for the school year. I have implemented "Hopes and Dreams" activities in my classroom for a number of years. It has helped my students become more motivated and self-directed.
Step One: Use a Read-Aloud
In my kindergarten class, we begin our conversation about our hopes for the school year with a read-aloud. I like to use the book Leo the Late Bloomer, by Robert Kraus. This book discusses a lion who starts the school year not being able to do anything that his friends can do. By the end of the book, Leo has come into his own and is able to do everything. Many of my students can relate to Leo's struggle with learning to read, write, draw, and speak. After this discussion, my little ones are ready and motivated to brainstorm their hopes for the school year. Visit Scholastic for a full discussion on activities you can use with this book in your classroom.
Step Two: Creating Hopes (or, What do you hope to learn this year?)
As much as possible, let your students be the ones to come up with their own hopes. Your job is to facilitate this process. When helping them generate their hopes, remember that smaller is better. Help your students set small, achievable goals that can be accomplished quickly. Possible hopes for kindergarteners might be learning to count, making new friends, or identifying letters. Once they have experienced the positive results of achieving their hope, they will be eager to set more difficult goals in the future.
You will also need to discuss with each student steps they will need to take to accomplish their hopes and those things that might prevent them from doing so. During our "Meet and Greet," I allow my parents the opportunity to share, in writing, their hopes and dreams for their child this year.
Take a look at this video of my class sharing their hopes for this school year:
Step Three: Displaying Hopes and Dreams
This year, for our hallway display, our kindergarten team decided on the theme, "Setting the Scene for Our Hopes and Dreams." All of the hopes were displayed in the hallway to remind students of what they want to accomplish this year. After a few weeks, this display will be brought inside the classroom and transformed into a classroom book. This book will be a part of our classroom library.
"Setting the Scene for our Hopes and Dreams"
- Student hopes are displayed on this teacher-made filmstrip-style banner.
- The hopes of the parents are displayed on the stars.
Here's a slideshow of how our creative teachers at Riverwood Elementary chose to display their student's Hopes and Dreams for this school year.
Please contact me if you would like additional information about any of the displays in this slideshow.
Step Four: Revisit Hopes and Dreams
You will need to revisit hopes and dreams during the school year to determine if children are ready to celebrate and create a new hope. Others might want to revise or think about the next steps in achieving their original hope.
Visit the classroom blog of Mrs. Diana Burns to view some awesome photos of her fourth-grade students' "Dressed for Dreams" project.