Causes: Following/believing in your dreams
Tools: Prayer Flags
Art-Forms: Design, Drawing, Painting, Calligraphy
Objective/Purpose: Students will learn the importance of following their dreams and seeing them come to fruition. They will come to understand that continuing pursuit of your interest pays dividends in a myriad of ways. Students will also learn aspects of a different culture and as well as a different way of thinking. Additionally, students will also learn how analyze a short story. Finally, students will gain an understanding of artistic pursuits and the impact they can have on a community.
Project Title: Don’t Lose Your Dinosaur
Background/Justification: During their education many students will be dissuaded to pursue their own unique interests and abandon the dreams which have carried them for much of their life. As students begin to lose sight of their dreams they also begin to lose sight of the importance and fun of learning new ideas. The loss of these dreams to society is severe as we are left with students who end up leading lives of frustration since they are unable to realize some of the goals they wished to have attained since childhood. Additionally, with this loss of dreaming, society turns its thoughts to cruder functioning and collectively we lose sight of some of the most important and sustaining aspects of our culture.
Skills: Students will learn how to translate their thoughts into a symbolic meaning and they will also learn how art can influence the individual. Students will make use of and hone their analytical skills and will gain an understanding and acceptance of another culture. Students will also learn how to translate complex thoughts into a form understandable by others. Ideally, the idea will be ingrained in the students that what is most important in life is not making money and adhering to a systematic lifestyle, but rather following one’s dreams and changing the world for the better. Students will also begin to understand the idea of goal planning.
1) Students will learn the history of Buddhist prayer flags and will visit a Buddhist center to learn about their history and influence..
2) Students will watch the youtube video “We Stopped Dreaming.”
3) Students will read and discuss Hermann Hesse’s short story “Iris.”
4) Students will design and make “Dream Flags” based on the same concept of prayer flags.
5) Students will hang their flags around the school and community to help remind both their community and themselves of their dreams and the power they hold.
Community Building Assets: Students will gain confidence in the mission of following their dreams and desires. These dreams will help create future critical thinkers and those who contribute positively to their world. Additionally, this unit has the chance to influence those in the community and help them rekindle their own dreams.
Other Expertise: Members of the Buddhist community will be engaged to inform the students about the use and history of prayer flags and how they are used in modern society. Working with an art instructor will also be beneficial to the students as she or he will be able to help them design and produce their flag in a more professional manner.
Materials: Pens, Paper, Copies of “Iris” Short Story, Cloth (multiple colors), print making materials, string, paint, computer, speakers, projector, transportation
1) Students will write about a dream(s) they would like to achieve in their life. The will examine these dreams and write about if anyone has ever tried to dissuade them from their dream and why they might have done so.
2) Students will watch the youtube video “We Stopped Dreaming” and will write and discuss about the importance of realizing our dreams both on a personal and societal scale.
3) Students will read “Iris” by Herman Hesse and discuss how the protagonist lost his dream from childhood and what he had to do to reclaim. During this activity students will be asked to consider why people abandon their dreams.
4) Students will meet with a member of the Buddhist community (perhaps at a Buddhist center) and learn about prayer flags, which send their prayers to humanity when they are blown by the wind.
5) Students will reexamine the dreams they wrote about and will design a “dream flag” that reflects the dream they wish to achieve. On it they must create a symbol for their dream and must also include a small amount of text, in a similar fashion to prayer flags. After these flags are designed and created they will be strung together in small groups so that they resemble prayer flags.
6) Students will hang their “dream flags” around the school and community. This will remind them to strive for their dreams everyday while also proudly displaying their desires to others. Additionally, it is my hope these “dream flags” will help people of all ages from around the community to remember and realize their own dreams.
Evaluation/Assessment: Most of the assessment from this lesson will be gauged by the student’s ability to express and pinpoint their dreams in an artistic manner. Additionally, being able to accept a culture that might be different from you will be measured as will the ability to respect other’s dreams. Students will also be assessed on their ability to critically engage a text and video.