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Making a Dream Flag Celebration

 

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Introduction
Sharing Dream Flags publically sends a message like no other that your students’ dreams matter, and it creates community. Essential elements are the exhibition of Dream Flags and the reading of Dream Flag poetry. Including music is another strong element and can help strengthen community. If space and materials are available, Dream Flag related activities may be included such as making group Dream art projects—banners or individual art pieces that are added to a collective--; decoration of Dream Flag T shirts; making of Poetry buttons or pins; creation of Thank a Dreamer post cards, etc.

Venue
Find a space large enough to allow the exhibition of your Dream Flags. Outdoor settings are good if weather is dependable. Good indoor settings have vertical space—gym or cafeteria. You want the flags to fly a little.

Physical Set-up
You will need a place where students can read poems and be heard. A podium with mike is good, or just a mike if students are of varying heights. A loud voice will do as well.
• If you can, arrange a “wall” of Dream Flags behind or near the readers—many lines of Dream Flags.
• You will need chairs or floor space for seating.
• Exhibit as many Flags as possible all around the venue. Attaching between posts or trees works well, but any attachment will work. In some settings, you can leave the lines from different groups (e.g. classes) unattached, then attach them during the program.

Selection and Organization of Poets
Suggested poetry reading length is maximum 40 min. with a total program of an hour. Each poem will usually take 30 seconds or less, so you can plan accordingly. Often, reading all of the poems will take too much time. Choose representative poets for each subgroup of participants – e.g. grade levels, schools (if regional). Choose the number of poets from each subgroup to make the right number of poems for your program length. Have each subgroup select their own representatives--voting, lottery, or blind evaluation are common ways. If some groups can’t be present, have designated student readers to read a poem and tell who wrote it. Otherwise all students read their own poetry.

If you want to include poems from remote schools in the current year, you can request poems from The Dream Flag Project and we can send them in email.  You can also request Dream Flags from remote sites if they can be returned. These can be displayed and help create an experience of broad community. Some schools may also connect by Skype or video chat.

Prior to the program, give each reader a reader number to wear. Before reading begins, have them line up in number order.

Program
A suggested program is as follows:
• Time before to read and appreciate the exhibited dream flags. Activities if they are being included.  Music.
• Introductory speech and reading the “The Dream Keeper.” Possible time to teach audience The Dream Flag Project song (on our web site) by call and response. Talk about why dreams matter.
• Reading of Dream Flag poems. Recorded or live music is a good accompaniment and unites them. Clap after each poem. Have students flow across the stage or reading area. Have adults on both sides of the stage.
• Community connection and conclusion. If possible, have each student stand by or near her/his flag. Call out subgroups (e.g. 25 dreamers from Mrs. Smith’s second grade class!) and clap for them. If possible, have them tie their Dream Flag lines together at this time to symbolize strength in connection.
• Conclude with group singing of The Dream Flag Song and acknowledgement of all who helped.

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