Celebrate: Wanting, Giving, Dreaming


Getting back into the classroom after a long break is rejuvenating and exhausting. That’s the beauty of being in a room full of nine-year-olds. They want it all and at the same time are eager to give.

This week we started anew. A read aloud, a unit of study, a poem. The adrenaline-fueled beginnings erased the time we were apart.

Langston Hughes poem Dreams started our week. I introduced the idea of metaphor and simile to our poet’s toolbox. Students added in repetition and rhyme as other tools. Connections to Dickenson’s “Hope” is the thing with Feathers were whispered to neighbors.

Then, we started Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart. Picturing the wild Washington territory and wondering what could be around the next bend, has students on the edge of their seats. Exactly how you want a book to feel. The voice of our main character, Joseph, is one of goodness and independence. Striking out bravely for what is right even when he knows his actions could lead to his own discomfort or demise.  Joseph and his story help bring our study of the western expansion to life. All in all, a perfect read aloud.

On Friday, we watched, listened and read, via closed caption, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” address delivered at the march on Washington. Students took notes with the Hughes’ poem in their laps.

“There’s repetition, each one is like a stanza.”

One hundred years later…
Now is the time …
I have a dream…
Let freedom ring…

“There’s metaphor, the bank of justice.”
“There’s rhythm. His voice goes up and down.”

And when I asked them to think about Dr. King’s dream my students said:

“Some of it has come true. But not all.”
“People still judge others by the color of their skin.”
“There’s still not enough jobs.”
“There’s still violence.”
“There are still protests.”

So I asked them to write about what still needs to be done. Students wrote in their notebooks. Thank you, Courtney, for the post that inspired this work.

Finally, at the end of the day, before the long weekend, I asked students to nominate a classroom citizen of the week. (This idea was inspired by another blogger. Sadly, I can’t remember who.) I didn’t define citizenship. I wanted to see their definition.
Some are personal and specific. Others were more universal.

• thinking about what’s right and doing it in the future
• asking if I’m ok
• sitting next to me when I was alone
• including everyone when they want to play
• cheering up everyone
• thinking of her friends
• loaning me a pen
• listening
•forgiving me when I didn’t play with her for three days
•being nice to me

This week I celebrate the children in my classroom for what they want, what they give, and what they dream.  Read more celebrations on Ruth Ayers Writes.

6 thoughts on “Celebrate: Wanting, Giving, Dreaming

  1. It feels like coming back and preparing for Dr. King’s day meant a good week to have, taking on challenges, thinking of others’ actions, considering Joseph’s actions, too. You are a good teacher, Julieanne!

  2. What wonderful thinking! This makes me want to look at MLK’s speech as a poem and just see what I can find! What a great week back for you and your students.

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