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award-winning bestseller Dream

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Decorate your classroom doorway to connect to students' dreams

A good education opens more doors and makes it more possible to achieve your dreams in life. But, often students don't see a correlation between what they're learning in the classroom and what they want for their future. Students need to see the relevance of what they're learning so that they stay motivated.

Some interesting work has been done by Doug Manning, an educator with 30 years experience who works to help students manage the transition from high school to life beyond. He's written a thought-provoking white paper, Connected Students: The Key to School-Initiated Graduation Rate Improvement, which brings together current research on reducing dropout rates. He states, "the greatest and quickest gains in graduation rate improvement will come from initiatives focused on engaging the internal motivations of students… A sense of purpose develops for an individual when 'something they are' connects with 'something they could be'."

Each day, when students walk through the classroom door, they're also walking toward their future. They need to be reminded of that; it has to be made real for them. The doorway itself can become an effective symbol connecting what students learn in the classroom to who students want to become.

Decorated classroom door by students at St. James School
Decorated classroom door by students at St. James School

The photos shown here are from St. James School in Maple, ON. Each class worked as a group to choose
a theme for and decorate their classroom door. One door has been decorated with brightly-colored Dream Stars following the color symbolism in the book Dream.
The door also
has symbols representing students' interests and dreams – ranging from sports to music to being a veterinarian or police officer.
The door reminds students each day what their goals are and that walking through the door gets them closer to those goals.

For the second door, students learned more about one of the quotations in Dream from
Neil Armstrong, "One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." They researched who Neil Armstrong was and what it took to achieve the dream of humans reaching the moon. Students celebrated this huge achievement on their door. Behind the Armstrong figure they have Dream Stars twinkling in the universe, each with a student's name on it. Reach for the stars – you never know what you'll achieve.

Have your students use their creativity in imagining their future and creating a door that reflects that future. You can use Dream as a source of inspiration. The book 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 a decorated door. You can also tie decorating your door into a class or school-wide
dream theme

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org


Large sheets of   colored paper
Crayons, colored
  pencils, markers



Schools (art; life
Youth groups