We Have A Dream

This was an exciting week at Van Allen!

Many classes celebrated the 100th Day of School on Thursday and had their own class parties. Students did fun crafts, such as making 100th Day hats!

This past Monday was Martin Luther King Day. As I have mentioned in my last few posts, in guidance, we have been preparing to discuss the legacy of Dr. King and what we can learn from the work he did for our country.

After using our Dr. Seuss and Max Lucado stories and videos to introduce the ideas of acceptance and inclusion, the students easily transitioned right into a discussion about equality and fairness in our world.

In grades JK-1, we read a story called Martin’s Big Words. In grades 2-5 we watched a video based on the same book, but that delivered a more emotional component to the story that resonated more with the older students. I am including the video below:

We spent time discussing the way our country used to be, and what has changed since the Civil Rights Movement. Many of the students expressed how sad and unkind it was that there was a time where people were treated differently based on superficial characteristics, and we related Dr. King’s ideas to our values in PRIDE. Most importantly, we discussed one of the most significant benefits we have thanks to Dr King’s dream and his work: integration in schools. We looked around at the diversity in our classrooms and took the time to appreciate the students — and friends — we have, that we might not have been able to have in our class if it were not for integration.

Some classes had already read Martin’s Big Words, so in those guidance lessons, I read the story of Ruby Bridges. This was particularly relatable for the younger students since Ruby Bridges started school in an integrated elementary school when she was in first grade. The kindergarteners and first grade students imagined what it would have been like if they experienced what Ruby Bridges did on her first day of school.

For our writing activity in grades 1-5, we thought about what our dreams for our futures and our world were.


The students shared so many wonderful hopes and dreams for their own careers and personal futures, as well as what they would do to make life better for their families, and important things that they wanted to change for our world. I saw responses that ranged from wanting to end world hunger and homelessness, to banning guns to prevent unnecessary deaths and violent crime, to stopping the production and selling of drugs to keep people healthier and safer.

It was a wonderful week having even more opportunities to see how amazing our students are.

Have a great weekend!

Shameem Balakrishnan
School Counselor

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