Reflecting on Hopes and Goals

As the school year winds down, how will your students reflect on the hopes, dreams, and goals they set for this year? Many books could inspire this sort of reflection, including those I wrote about in “Read-Alouds to Inspire Hopes and Dreams” and “Revisiting Hopes and Dreams in the New Year.” Here are some of my new favorites for this theme:

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps, by Jeanette Winter. This story, beautifully told and illustrated by Jeannette Winter (one of my favorite writers—her September Roses makes me cry every time I read it!), tells the story of Jane Goodall. The author recounts Jane’s childhood dreams of studying animals and travelling to Africa and the steps she took along her life’s journey to make those dreams come true.

Students could look back at their own hopes and dreams and the steps they had to take to reach those, the obstacles they encountered, and how they overcame those. (For younger children, check out Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell, which tells Goodall’s story in a simpler form.)

Pablo Neruda, Poet of the People by Monica Brown and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. This biography describes how even as a young child, Neruda was captivated by words, writing, and books. He dreamed of becoming a writer and worked tirelessly to become a poet who wrote beautifully of the familiar and of the struggles of the oppressed.

After reading this book, challenge your students to think not just of how far they’ve come during the school year, but also about what they want to accomplish in the future.

Margaret Berry Wilson is the author of several books, including: The Language of Learning, Doing Science in Morning Meeting (co-authored with Lara Webb), Interactive Modeling, and Teasing, Tattling, Defiance & More.

Tags: Hopes and Dreams/Learning Goals, Last Weeks of School

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