Dream Big: Week 2

What a fun week! Students are excited about their dreams and those of their classmates. Our first task was to help each person share their dream with others.

Each class handled the task of sharing dreams a little differently. Some decided that we needed some norms, and focused on respect for each other with regards to what is included in their dreams. One class was clear that a person’s dream belonged to that person and others were not to ridicule or try to change the owner’s mind. Others were interested in being able to see each other’s work to help encourage each other. What I saw and heard from them bodes well for the future!

We tried out a variety of tools to put their dreams into a central document. We used email, etherpad (one day before it was disabled!), and a shared document. (Email actually worked the best). Eventually I got all of their dream statements into one space and was able t0 put it into a Wordle. It looked like this:

6th grade wordle

6th graders dreams (click to see larger image)

I greatly underestimated the importance to students of having their dreams represented in this graphic. They needed time to be able to look for their words as well as to see the scope of the project from their peers’ viewpoint. There was a lot of curiousity about who wanted what- and a great deal of validation as we learned who was dreaming what.

I chose a new “transition” song for this week- “It’s My Life” by Jon Bonjovi.  This video gets them cranked up a bit and gives some great lyrics to jump into discussion with. We talked about being a “just a face in a crowd” and “making your own breaks.” After this transition I introduced our daily guest from the high school. One, a recent graduate, was following his dream of being a professional wrestler. Another is an aspiring baseball player with a long history of hard work and success.

Overall, the students talked about the importance of staying dedicated to their goals. They talked of frustrations. One student had his graduation gifts “revoked” when he said he wasn’t going to college right away. Another spoke of personal sacrifices made socially to stay on track with his dream. The best quotes of the week were: “When people tell you you’ll never achieve your dream, don’t listen to them. They are just mad because they aren’t living theirs.” “Make sure what you do puts you in the best possible place to be successful.”

My students then started planning their own dreams. We used a template I created in GoogleSites with three sections:

  • Identify the dream
  • What skills do you need to be able to “do” your dream?
  • What are you doing now to get yourself ready to reach your dream?

This format allows me (and other students) to comment and collaborate with class members to work on their dream plans.

This is where we stopped…and next week is vacation. We’ll be picking this up with renewed enthusiasm on April 26th.

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3 responses to “Dream Big: Week 2

  1. This is such an awesome project and exercise for students. Are you finding that because they are doing this exercise as a school project, they believe that their dreams can be realized more? My students tend to go after their dreams more because they begin to realize that someone else cares about their dreams and is ready to stand behind them.

    • What I’m finding is that they are starting to think of things they can do now so they don’t have to “wish” it will happen. One aspiring art teacher is talking about putting together an art club. Another that wants to be a wildlife photographer has begun to hound a teacher who has great photography skills. It’s so cool to watch them empower themselves.

  2. I love this idea. How good the students must feel that somebody is interested in what their dreams are. Were some of them reluctant to share their dreams at first?
    I think it’s a great strategy to have visitors talk about their dreams and how they have achieved them, or how they are trying to achieve them.
    I’m looking forward to reading your next post on Dream Big.

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