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Hopes and Dreams

31 Jul

During the First Six Weeks of School, it is essential that students articulate their individual Hopes and Dreams for the School Year. This leads to the creation of classroom rules.

I want my students to dream big, really BIG. So I often read a big inspirational book like Dear Mr. Falker or Ruby’s Wish. Lately, I’ve started withe the latter. It’s about a girl in China who dreams of going to university in a time when GIRLS DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL, let alone University. Then I start with a simple discussion about what types of activities the students like to do. “Do you like Math or Reading? Do you like to draw?” Hopefully, I can get my shy new charges to admit to liking more than just recess and lunch.

The goal: I want my students to have a goal for RIGHT NOW and a goal for THE FUTURE. Either of these should be their underlying purpose for getting out of bed in the morning, changing out of their pajamas, and coming to school. In fact, a goal like “I want to be an NBA star” or “I want to be e veterinarian” might even sustain her on the days when she’s in a really bad mood and just had a fight with her best friend.

Hopes and Dreams and Goals for the future sustain us. They are the reason behind our creation of rules in the classroom and they are the foundation of the compact that we will sign as citizens of this classroom.

Below is an attachment to ” My Hopes and Dreams Study Sheet.” It is taken from p.62 of The First Six Weeks of School by Paula Denton and Roxann Kriete. The simple lesson plan:

1. Read an inspirational book

2. Share your own feelings about school from when you were a child and now.

3. Students pair share about their Hopes and Dreams but also their simple every-day preference for how they spend their time. (The big secret: in a Montessori classroom, one actually gets to CHOOSE how one spends her or his time).

4. Students fill out the Study Sheet.

5. Conference with students 1 on 1 or in small groups (4-6) in which they share what they think they might choose for their goal for the year. I usually have children choose at least two: 1 for now and 1 for later. Some children may struggle with that. Some children may struggle with narrowing it down from a million. i.e. “I want to be a singing dancing astronaut ballerina!”

Teach the lesson any way that works. As long as every child has a reason to show up in the morning, you’ve done your job.




Here’s more about this Responsive Classroom Concept from their website:


Read Chapter 1 from First Six Weeks of School here:

Here are some resources:

My Hopes and Dreams Study Sheet in word

My Hopes and Dreams Study Sheet in PDF


Hopes and Dreams for the School Year–What is our Cosmic Task?

1 Jul

In Responsive Classroom, we begin the elementary school year by establishing our Hopes and Dreams for the year. By setting attainable goals, we create a REASON for being in the classroom. By beginning with intention and purpose, we invite our students to buying in to our goal of education. We create ownership and responsibility by then using these individual dreams to create a contract of daily responsibility. i.e RULES.

There’s a wealth of info on that on the Responsive Classroom Blog.

More info here:

ideas and read alouds here:

How do we tie all this to the Elementary Montessori concept: WHAT IS OUR COSMIC TASK?




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