Back To School Bash – Hopes and Dreams Banner Project

I hope you all are enjoying our Elementary Entourage Back To School Bash and stocking up on some fresh back to school ideas. In celebration of our bash, I am sharing a back to school project called Our Hopes and Dreams. My class is currently in the middle of this project and will finish up this week. If you are interested in seeing the final product, be sure to follow me on Instagram @CoreInspiration for photos of our completed Hopes and Dreams Banners.

Miss Rumphius interactive read aloud lesson plan

To launch this project, engage your students in an interactive read aloud of the book Miss Rumphius  by Barabara Cooney. This beautifully illustrated story features a woman who dreams of traveling the world, living by the sea, and making the world a more beautiful place. The simple, yet powerful message of this book is a perfect way to get your students thinking about how they can make the world a better place, even through the work they do in the classroom.

Following the read aloud, host a class discussion about your students’ hopes and dreams for the school year. Record each dream on an anchor chart. During this brainstorm session, there is plenty of room for even the biggest dreams. To enrich the discussion, ask that each dream be verbally supported with evidence that it can be accomplished at school and within the school year. End the discussion by letting your students know that there is room for additional hopes and dreams. If something comes to mind throughout the day, add it to the anchor chart.


The following day, revisit the Hopes and Dreams anchor chart created on day one, have your students pair share their favorite hope/dream on the chart and ask for any additional contributions.  This anchor chart will serve as a launching point for creating S.M.A.R.T. goals that support progress toward achieving each student’s favorite hope/dream.

During the third day of this project, students will copy their favorite hope/dream from the anchor chart onto their Hopes and Dreams planning page. In the primary grades, I guide my students through each step of this page to ensure that each goal they set is related to their hope/dream and that it fits the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria.

Leaving plenty of time for share-outs and examples helps ensure high-quality goals are written. Of course, the first goal is always the hardest to write.   As students become more comfortable with what makes a S.M.A.R.T. goal and how to write goals that truly support their hope/dream, the process becomes much more efficient. This is the step my class is starting tomorrow.

On the final day, your students can transfer the ideas on their Hopes and Dreams planning page onto a beautiful banner that can be proudly displayed in the classroom. Last year, I had these banners hanging around the room until December because the students and parents absolutely loved reading them. One modification I am making this year is to print them on card stock so they are more durable and can, once again, be displayed for several months.


Be sure to keep the banners, planning page, or both handy so you can revisit them each quarter or trimester and have students reflect on their progress toward achieving their specific goals and toward reaching their ultimate hopes and dreams for the school year.

If you are interested in incorporating this goal setting project into your own lesson plans, swing by my store and download my Hopes and Dreams Banners resource today.

I would love to see photos of the banners your students create and read some of the hopes and dreams they have for this school year. If you’d like to share photos of your project with me, simply use #HopesAndDreams and tag me @CoreInspiration on Instagram.  Enjoy the rest of our Elementary Entourage Back To School Bash here!

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I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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