News You Can Use
Teaching Social and Emotional Learning Through the Headlines

Hopes and Dreams for 2017 and Beyond

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream... “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.... that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
It was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech; those powerful words that to this day articulate the hopes and dreams of so many around the world.
How can we help students of all ages identify and express their hopes and dreams? And why is that important?
Psychologist Charles Richard Snyder was fascinated by the concepts of hope and forgiveness, developing Snyder’s Hope Theory. He characterized hopeful thinkers as people able to establish clear goals, imagine multiple workable pathways toward those goals, and persevere, even when obstacles get in their way.

Hope isn't simply a happy feeling – it's a human survival mechanism, and we couldn't thrive without it.  According to Snyder's research, people who scored highly on the Hope Scale tended to be more successful at achieving their goals in athletic and academic arenas than people with low scores. His conclusion: “Hopeful thinking can empower and guide a lifetime of learning.”
Let us encourage students to have hope and to dream – and to dream big. Hope rests on helping students to set goals, for themselves and their families, their school, their community and their world. While abstract, long-term goals such as, "I want to be a web developer," are more difficult to reach than well-specified goals such as, "I want to learn to read," or "I want to be accepted by a good college."  Concrete markers can help students experience a sense of success.
We can’t confuse dreams and goals. Dreams don’t produce tangible results. Goals are about action and turn dreams into reality. Yet hope is a key ingredient to help foster those dreams and do the hard work to achieve our goals.
SEL Connections:
Consider these SEL connections to help students express their hopes and dreams.

Self-Awareness: What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? How might those abilities impact your dreams for the future? Who do you admire and why? What traits might you emulate?  

Self-Management: What tasks and due dates might you outline that would track the progress toward a specific short-term goal? What current behaviors might be undermining your hopes and dreams? 
Social Awareness: How might your hopes and dreams impact your community? How does your community impact your hopes and dreams? 
Relationship Skills: To whom can you reach out for support in achieving your hopes and dreams? To whom could you provide assistance?

Responsible Decision-Making: What choices will help to realize your hopes and dreams? 

CASEL Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies

•  Self-Awareness
•  Self-Management
•  Social Awareness
•  Relationship Skills
•  Responsible
•  Decision-Making

Big Dreams,

The New Year and our return to school for the second semester offers a perfect opportunity to re-boot goals. 

Used in business, academic and personal settings, SMART goals identify goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. The key is an action plan and benchmarks -- and it applies not only to concrete academic goals, but social and emotional learning, as well. 

In her book The Heart of Education, Dara Feldman recommends that students set character goals as a way to show themselves -- and others -- they have the capacity to live a happy, principled life.

As a group or individually, consider working with students to create or re-visit a list of important qualities: caring, resiliency, trustworthiness, respect, compassion, generosity, patience, kindness, confidence, to name a few. Help students to explore how those qualities impact their dreams for themselves, their families and their community. (Note that Connect with Kids provides video and print resources to support this exploration.) Then apply the Smart Goal Setting  methodology to set reasonable and more measurable steps to help students work toward their hopes and dreams. 

Questions to Consider:
What are some of your hopes, dreams, and goals? 

How can you use SMART goal setting to turn your hopes and dreams into a reality? 


Visit Us Online at

Connect with Kids Network is an educational media and technology company that connects communities through inspiring stories about the social and emotional issues that change lives. 
Copyright © Connect with Kids Network, All rights reserved.

CWK Network, Inc.
6849 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Bldg. 4-150
Atlanta, Georgia 30328

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list