Hopes and Dreams at DAA

As the school year began a new batch of first graders buzzed with excitement for the year to come. They noticed immediately the differences between our classroom and their former home in kindergarten. Now that they were no longer the youngest, they recognized they would need to be leaders and set an example for others.

During the first few weeks, students were asked to share their thoughts on being a first grader. What they were looking forward to most? What did they hope to learn? And what did they hope to be able to do? “I can’t wait to count to 100!” “I want to write a book!” And, of course, “I can’t wait for recess!” Students brainstormed and we made a visual chart that listed all the different things members of our Crew want to accomplish this year.

Students reflected and thought to themselves about the ”one thing” most important to each of them—that they want to accomplish this year--their hope and dream. Students took their time and worked hard making sure their hope and dream captured their vision for the year.

Once our hopes and dreams were written down, students shared them with their Crewmates. Their hopes and dreams had us thinking, if we want our hopes and dreams to become a reality, we need certain norms and expectations to exist within our classroom. Students brainstormed various ideas such as “I want to be a great reader, so I am going to need quiet during reading time” and “I want to become a light leader, so I am going to need to show all of the Habits of Character everyday!”. We categorized and synthesized our norms into our “Crew Promises”. Students agreed these were the 5 norms/expectations that would govern our classroom and help us achieve our goals. Every student put their handprint around our Crew Promise poster and agreed to follow them as best they can every day. We refer to our norms regularly and they will be a great guide to help first grade reach their hopes and dreams.