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Hopes and Dreamcatchers

A fun, crafty way to help kids set goals and think about their own strengths and weaknesses.
I think I have found my beginning of the year activity!

This one will include a tour of our courtyard and grounds, community building, sharing our hopes and dreams, and hopefully a lot of fun!



One of the beginning of the year Responsive Classroom techniques is helping students discern their hopes and dreams for the year.  Students set goals by reflecting on past experiences, strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes.  They choose one area that they would like to focus on and set a goal or target area for the year.
This is a part of classroom community building and is a natural lead in to developing the classroom rules as a group.

Once hopes and dreams are shared, the class determines which rules would be necessary to ensure that the students (and adults) can reach their goals.  It's a great way to set kids up to be supportive of one another's efforts, as well as take responsibility for how one's actions effect others.

You can read what Responsive classroom has to say about it here:
https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/article/our-hopes-and-dreams-school

So to facilitate this process, we are going to create Hopes and Dreams Catchers.
A fun, crafty way to help kids set goals and think about their own strengths and weaknesses.

Once we have spent a day or two getting to know each other, we will venture out on a walk together to explore our school grounds.  This will help the kids re-acclimate to school, help new students learn their way around, and give us an opportunity to fellowship together in a non-academic setting.

During the walk, we will collect leaves, small flowers, and any other interesting bits of nature we can find.  I will prepare the sticks and yarn in advance, as well as provide sprigs of basil, rosemary, mint, lavender, and other herbs to provide as additional sensory experience.

The kids will wrap the branches in yarn and weave the found bits of nature through the yarn to create a dream catcher.

A fun, crafty way to help kids set goals and think about their own strengths and weaknesses.

The next part is the most important.  Once kids have determined their hopes and dreams, they will write them on strips of paper and weave them into their dream catchers.  We will hang them in our classroom where, hopefully, the flowers will dry and we can leave them up to enjoy and to remind us to reach for those dreams and support each other along the way.  :)
A fun, crafty way to help kids set goals and think about their own strengths and weaknesses.

3 comments

  1. This is a most amazing and magical idea. Your group is so lucky to have you for a teacher. I personally love this activity and think it is fun, purposeful, & healing for any age! Such a wonderful way to start the school year!

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  2. This is just an amazing and beautiful activity that is so simple, yet elegant. Your students are so lucky to have you! Great way to start the new year. I think it can be used as a wonderful healing tool as well (for just about any age!)

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  3. Hi Nikki, I just love this idea and think that I have to use it to start homeschool this year. We have a lot in common! I have 3 sons- ages 22,9,8, Yep, one in college and the youngest is starting 3rd grade, My oldest has Asperger's and he has taught me so much. I'm so glad that I came across your blog. All the Best to You! Lauren

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