Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Hopes and Dreams!

I thought that since I would not be teaching in my own classroom this year, I would not be tempted to buy any new read-aloud books. I was wrong. Somehow, before exiting the grocery store, my eye was caught by a bright-colored book cover. I opened it up, standing there in the aisle, started reading it, and knew I would have to have it. It connects with so many important ideas in the younger grades.

The book's title is This School Year Will Be the Best! by Kay Winters. Quick recap: on the first day of school, the teacher asks the students what they are "hoping and dreaming" will happen this school year. Each page captures a different child's joyful thought. There are about 22 "hopes", so it reads like a full classroom is talking, one by one. Some are the hopes we all have, modest hopes like, "I hope I look good in my school picture." Others are more personal, like "I hope I remember my homework."

In the First Grade class where I am assisting this year, the teacher went around the room asking each child this same question. Then they went back to their tables to write their thoughts and illustrate them. We put their work up in the hallway on a bulletin board titled First Grade Hopes and Dreams!

This book is meant to be shared more than once. On another level, the teacher can prepare some sentence strips or use a doc.cam to put up select sentences from the story. The purpose of this lesson would be to discuss "Which of these hopes and dreams could really happen, and which would probably never happen in real life?" For instance, one child is hoping a chocolate fountain gets installed in the school. Nice, but not likely! This lays the foundation for connections with fact vs. fiction OR fact vs. opinion.

I personally like the idea of taking the dreams a bit further and having a discussion about goal-setting. What do you have to do if your goal is to remember to bring your homework to school? How do we attack any sort of academic goal? By:
making a decision,
writing it down, 
choosing a strategy for improvement,
checking to see if it worked,
setting a new goal OR choosing a new strategy.

Link that discussion up to your introduction of data notebooks and you are on your way!

The written response sheet pictured above was made by Anna Whisenant, and is available for free on TeachersPayTeachers.  I have found another nice free TeachersPayTeachers product that you could download: the author is Elizabeth Vineyard, from the blog The Climbing Grapevine. Go to TeachersPayTeachers store, type in "hopes and dreams", hit "free" on the left hand side, and get your own copy to use in your classroom.


  1. I volunteered in third grade for 4 years, and LOVED every minute of it! Takes a lot of patience and imagination to be a good teacher....My son Dylan still remembers her...she would say, " use courtesy" when kids got out of line..also, mathematical Baseball game for learning multiplication tables ( if class stayed on task and end of school day time allowed)..We loved Mrs. HILDEBRANDT, now retired to enjoy the next chapter of her young (our age) life!

  2. Any teacher would love to have a mom sign up to volunteer for four whole years! You win the fantastic mom award, Jayne!