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Get more LifeDreams activities

Share the Dream in our YouTube initiative

Find out about a Dream Discovery school presentation

How to Teach Literacy Like
a Dream DVD
workshop offers dozens of cross-curricular literacy and goal-setting lesson ideas to support a school dream theme

Download now: Dream Illustration Slides to use with the book

Quantity discount available on Dream as part of a school dream theme

Read a description of the story, check out the reviews, take a peek at some of the remarkable illustrations, and watch an interview with the author – the award-winning bestseller Dream

Dream



Are you a principal, teacher, or parent looking for a school theme idea? The Legacy Project offers great school theme ideas. Choose a Dream theme as the best school theme or classroom theme for the coming school year. A year-long or month-long school theme that relates to dreams, aspirations, and goal-setting can inspire teachers and students. Many principals are looking for school theme ideas that are meaningful, motivational, and inspiring for teachers and students. Based on the award-winning bestseller Dream by Susan V. Bosak, a school theme idea related to dreams and goals can build literacy, motivation, and goal-setting skills and link across the curriculum throughout the school year. School theme ideas related to dreams and goals range from Believe, Do, Think to Dream It, Do It. Principals and teachers looking for a school theme or school theme ideas can find many insights and inspirations as part of the Legacy Project's programs. Many of our school theme ideas have been developed with the input and feedback of principals and teachers across the country who have shared their best year-long and monthly school theme ideas.

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SCHOOL THEME – MAKE IT A DREAM!

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Every child needs a dream – learning in the 21st Century includes helping students to become
"goal getters"

Why use a theme in your classroom or school? And why a DREAM theme in particular?

Themes focus and unite both students and teachers. They rally everyone around one central idea. Our brains work best when they have a touchstone around which to orient information and make dynamic connections. Thematic learning can vary in nature and scope, but whatever theme you choose should be motivating and relevant to students' lives to be most effective. By building on their interests and life experiences, students' attitudes, skills, and knowledge are developed in meaningful ways. Inquiry and communication are activated by a desire to know more about an interesting theme, which means students participate more enthusiastically in the learning process and the classroom comes alive.

 
School theme celebrates dreams and goals

You can use a theme in your classroom to help build a sense of cohesiveness as a group. School-wide themes, on the other hand, build the larger school community by bringing together the student population in different ways than the usual grade level groups. A central theme across a school year enables teachers to meaningfully link different content areas so that students develop "big picture" ideas. And the Legacy Project is all about the importance of the big picture: your students' lives in the context of the people and world around them.

Which brings us to the idea of a dream theme. Any theme you choose should be at a high level, which allows you to connect it to various areas of the curriculum. It should be relevant to students' lives, and should be a "powerful idea." From the time we're little, we make wishes on stars – which makes the concept of dreams very evocative, emotive, and personally powerful. But dreams and goals are also practical and powerful in the sense of life success. Life success lies in the dreams we have, the goals we set and achieve, in what some researchers have termed "planful competence."

Researchers at Florida State University looked at data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a national random sampling of 12,686 individuals who were 14 to 22 years of age in 1979. These individuals were interviewed annually until 1994, and then every two years. The FSU research found that, "adolescents with a purposeful orientation towards life, combined with general and practical knowledge, have more ambitious career plans, more stable plans in young adulthood, and greater educational and occupational achievements by midlife."
In other words, concrete dreams and goals, and your ability to execute a plan to achieve them, play a big part in your life success.

Here's an excerpt from the DVD workshop How to Teach Literacy Like a Dream that explores some of the research supporting the importance of helping students develop the ability to identify and achieve goals:


 
My Dream
My Dream
 



A dream theme for your school or classroom can be powerful and inspiring for both students and teachers. But first, you need to brainstorm the exact dream theme that's right for you. The ideal time to choose your dream theme is before the start of a school year. For a school, a principal can involve the staff during a professional development session or retreat to work together to define the exact theme. Anytime people participate in choosing a theme, it not only gets them thinking about exciting possibilities, but encourages them to take ownership. For a classroom, a teacher might want to involve the entire class at the beginning of the year in talking about and developing the theme for the year. This gives students an opportunity to start thinking about their own dreams and goals.

Dream provides a great starting point for discussion.
It brings together words and art in an evocative, multilayered story that speaks to children and adults at different levels depending on where they are in their life. You can also use the Dream Illustration Slides to project illustrations from the book for group discussion and inspiration, and clips from the How To Teach Literacy Like a Dream DVD PD video workshop for ideas.

Dream blends a story told by a wise old star narrator, artwork by 15 top contemporary illustrators, and quotations from historical figures. There are many parts of the book that can spark ideas for your dream theme. For example, the text on the green pages reads:

You need
the Believe of childhood,
the Do of youth,
and the Think of experience.
You need all three.
There's the wisdom to fill a tooth,
simple and not so simple all at once:
Believe, Do, Think.

At the most basic level, to reach for a goal you have to believe in yourself and have the courage and confidence to move forward. Then you need to do something, to take action. But you can't just do anything – it has to be thoughtful and focused. You need to think through a plan. So, Believe, Do, Think is one option for a strong dream theme. You can also springboard from the definitions of the word "dream" that appear on the title page of Dream, or use the idea of the Club of Dreamers.

My Dream
My Dream
My Dream
Dream Theme
Dream Theme

Valley Hi Elementary School in San Antonio, TX used the Dream book as the focal point for their year-long dream theme. Their exact theme was "If you Dream Big, you can make a Big Difference!" Teachers were each given a copy of Dream (the Legacy Project offers a special discount on quantity purchases for teachers and class sets) and
a Dream Team
T-shirt. On the back of each T-shirt was a quotation from John Quincy Adams: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." Principal Daeon Harris was thrilled with how staff and students came together around the theme and took it to heart: "We all came to truly believe that dreams can come true through hard work, effort, goal setting, and beliefs. This has been an empowering year for everyone, and it's shown not only through attitudes but also through academic achievement."

Bennett Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida used many of the Legacy Project's LifeDreams resources for their theme. Throughout the school year, students read, wrote, illustrated, and discussed their goals and aspirations as part of a school-wide dream theme based on Dream and introduced by Principal Monica Boccieri.

With 30 years experience as a principal, Boccieri said she noticed that some students had trouble articulating their own dreams after she shared Dream with them. That's not uncommon. Kids get inspired and excited by the book, but they don't know where to take that excitement.

At Bennett Elementary, where most students are on free or reduced lunch programs, goal-setting isn't stressed at home much. Teachers said the dream theme made school more relevant and fun. And students are learning that good grades can help them reach their goals.

"The book was very inspiring. It shows you can do anything if you set your mind to it," said sixth-grader Jacob Brantley, who hopes to become a chef. "My dad makes really good barbecue. He was my inspiration. I want to follow in his footsteps."

Demarco Vaughn dreams of being a football player. Sean Chillingworth dreams about working at McDonald's. Lily Crosby dreams of having a pet alligator. These students are starting to think about what their future might look like. Everyone needs to set a goal and reach for it, an idea of where they want to go.

Teacher Mindy Mark commented that, "Some kids just needed a push to get them thinking and exploring possibilities, any possibilities."

As you plan your exact school dream theme, in addition to exploring Dream, you may want to invite people to bring in favorite quotations to spark ideas. Here are some thought-provoking, discussion-prompting quotations to get you started:

 
My Dream
My Dream
My Dream

"We are such stuff as dreams are made of."
William Shakespeare, The Tempest

"Hope is a waking dream."
Aristotle

"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears."
Les Brown

"When you come to the edge of all the light you have, and must take a step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of two things will happen: either there will be something solid for you to stand on – or you will be taught how to fly."
Patrick Overton

"I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral."
Walt Disney

"If there were dreams to sell,
What would you buy?"
Thomas Lovell Beddoes

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead."
Louisa May Alcott

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."
Maya Angelou

"The man who has no imagination has no wings."
Muhammad Ali

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal."
Ralph Vaull Starr

"Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes."
Mary Martin

"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it."
William Arthur Ward

"It is not our abilities that tell us what we truly are… it is our choices."
Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

"Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved."
William Jennings Bryan

"The way you activate the seeds of your creation is by making choices about the results you want to create. When you make a choice, you mobilize vast human energies and resources which otherwise go untapped. All too often people fail to focus their choices upon results and therefore their choices are ineffective. If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise."
Robert Fritz

"A goal is a dream that has an ending."
Duke Ellington

"The ancestor of every action is a thought."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It is good to dream, but it is better to dream and work. Faith is mighty, but action with faith is mightier."
Thomas Robert Gaines

"It may be those who do most, dream most."
Stephen Leacock

"What often stops our aspirations from turning into real possibilities is a lack of belief and a shortage of effort."
Johnnetta B. Cole

"I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures."
James Thurber

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
Calvin Coolidge

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe."
Anatole France

"God is in the details."
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

"Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things."
Frank A. Clark

"Let's Go."
"Yes, let's go."
Stage Direction: They do not move.
Samuel Beckett, last lines of
Waiting for Godot


"Do or do not. There is no try."
Yoda

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
Harriet Tubman

"The problems of this world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were."
John F. Kennedy

"An education that teaches you to understand something about the world has done only half of the assignment. The other half is to teach you to do something about making the world a better place."
Johnnetta B. Cole

"Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born."
Dale E. Turner

   

Many principals and teachers have sent us wonderful descriptions of their year-long school dream themes and how they implemented them. Here are just a few examples of dream theme ideas from schools across the country:

Believe, Do, Think

Believe and Achieve

Explore, Discover, Dream

Explore, Dream, Create
Dream It… Do It

Dream to Become

Dream More, Learn More, Become More
Dream, Dare, Do
Dream and Achieve
Dream It, Achieve It
Dream, Learn, Achieve
Dream, Focus, Succeed
Learn & Dream
Learning Leads to Dreaming
Learning Makes Dreams Happen
Dream Big
Dream Big, Make a Big Difference
Reach High
Reach High, Change Your World

Reach for Your Dream
Reaching for Our Dreams
Reach for the Stars
Stars Shining Bright
Soaring to New Heights
Where Dreams Begin
Where Dreams Take Flight
Dreams Begin Here (or Your School Name)
Dreams Grow Here (or Your School Name)
Growing Our Dreams
Building Our Dreams
Dream Quest
Our Journey to Success
Dreams For Me, Dreams for Us
Dreaming a Better Me
Dreaming a Better Me and We
Dream Team in Action
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Join the Club of Dreamers

 

   
Make Dream Stars to celebrate your school theme

Once you decide on your exact school dream theme, you can use the Dream book to enrich the theme throughout the school year (the Legacy Project offers a special discount on quantity purchases for teachers and class sets). The How To Teach Literacy Like a Dream DVD offers literacy and goal-setting lesson ideas across the curriculum and gives examples of all the ways you can use the book to support your dream theme. You can also invite in author Susan V. Bosak for an exciting Dream Discovery school presentation.

For more ideas you can use with your dream theme, check out the Legacy Project's Begin and End With a Dream online activity set, Share the Dream, and all the LifeDreams literacy, motivation, and goal-setting activities.

Dreams can be difficult to build and far too easy to crush. Make your school theme meaningful, inspiring, and life-changing. To quote Bob Dylan, "Don't underestimate me, and I won't underestimate you."

COMING SOON! A complete "I Have a Dream" School Theme Planning & Activity Kit. Sign up for our e-newsletter to find out when the idea-filled kit is available.

 

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