Seamless: Social Emotional Learning & Dreamline

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You’ve read here before about Shannon Kline, the Dreamline teacher who, in 2018, won a national Sanford Education Award for her work with Dreamline and Social Emotional Learning. In this week’s blog, Shannon Kline explains clearly and simply how the Dreamline student experience aligns with the Social Emotional Learning competencies so many educators are striving to develop in their students. Thank you, Shannon!

by Shannon Kline
Anson Jones Elementary, Dallas, TX

Shannon Kline

Dreamline and SEL are directly related concepts that can be intertwined for an overreaching learning experience. SEL is based on five competencies in which areas of learning are based. These competencies are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making (, 2018). Dreamline focuses on what students value and what their dreams are. Making a solid connection between the two is seamless as educators help students develop their banners. While the connection does not have to be direct, it is modeled, and SEL can be seen through the experience of Dreamline.


When beginning to develop the dream banner the students first work on establishing their values. To do this, students must understand what they value and why they value it. This directly correlates to self-awareness. Part of self-awareness is identifying emotions and having an accurate self- perception. Understanding emotions and our perception of self helps us to develop what we value.

Values which are a person’s principals usually first come from the standards we set for ourselves. By being aware of who we are and what we believe personally our values start to take shape.


Our values are also related to self-management. The standards we set based on how we view ourselves then translates to the way we manage our behaviors. This connection shows that what we value leads to how we choose to behave. A person may value being courageous. This will lead to behaviors such as advocating for others. A person may value being kind. This will lead to behaviors that may result in service or giving. A person will manage what behaviors they have according to what they value. Not only does self-management encompass how a person behaves but it also relates to a person’s self-motivation and how a person sets goals. Values are a driving force to motivation and goals which in turn cause students to have a dream.


When talking about developing the value flags with students a teacher does not have to directly reference the competencies that are being fostered or connected. With Dreamline the act of developing the value portion of the banner allows for these skills to be addressed without being explicitly taught.

With SEL there are several components of implementation. One of those components is integrating the concepts of the competencies into different activities. Developing the value banner is an exceptional way to address SEL competencies with students.


The second portion of the banner is the dream banner. This part of the Dreamline project not only relates to self-awareness and self-management by carrying values into dreams, but it also relates to social awareness and responsible decision making. Social awareness allows for empathy and respecting diversity. When students begin to develop the dream portion of the flag they start to think in socially aware ways. One way to introduce this is to ask the students the problems they believe the world is currently facing. This activity promotes thinking about social issues or social injustices. Problems may include too many wars, pollution, or needing a cure for disease. This is working with the competency of social awareness. Students then can brainstorm how to solve these problems and translate that into their dream for the Dreamline banner.

Developing the dream poem with social awareness in mind students then begin to think about how to make responsible decisions to take what they see as a problem and formulate a solution.

Responsible decision making is an SEL competency that can be expanded through the creation of a dream banner. Formulating a solution or dream for the world internally provokes responsible decision- making ideas through questioning. A student may ask themselves “what can I do to help stop wars, what can I do to combat pollution, or how can I cure disease?” By eliciting these internal questions, decision making starts to formulate. Students will begin to write out the solution in a poem that shows the decisions they will make to ensure the solution to the social issue is achieved.


There is a natural connection of creating Dreamline banners and working with SEL competencies. Dreamline is not an explicit instruction of the competencies but rather an extension of putting the SEL competencies into action. Dreamline offers an outlet not only to express a dream that students have but to pull from SEL to develop those dreams.


The Power of a Dream

This IMPACT entry was contributed by Miguel Angel Ramirez, Jr., a sophomore at Bronx Latin High School in New York City. I had the privilege of hearing Miguel speak last fall at the World Leadership School’s Global Gathering NYC: Schools of Purpose conference in New York. He spoke about the value of purpose in the life of high school students today and inspired me to ask him for this contribution about the value of dreams. Thank you, Miguel Ramirez. 

–Jeffrey Harlan


by Miguel Ramirez


“We, the youth, will not let this opportunity to impact the future slip away from our palm’s grip.”

A dream is beyond a goal which you wish to reach; though, it is an idea which you could never bring yourself to let go of, even after you have achieved it. It is an ambition you remain true to, by all means, in hopes of grabbing ahold of it someday in the future. A dream is boundless and unchained by time’s shackles, and to have a dream is the first step forward in creating change.

imagesAll historical influencers held tightly to a dream. Influencers, whether they were Rosa Parks,  Harriet Tubman or Mahatma Gandhi–and the people alongside them all–each had a dream which lead them on to their journey of success and change. Without the light of dreams flashing within people all around the world, the world would not have progressed in any way and would have forever remained within its negative conditions of suffering, and lack of progression.

This light is said to be dim within youth today, though it is, in fact, something which shines brighter than it ever has. The up and coming generations all have their separate dreams, and this dream will create the peace and unity we all seek today. Setting aside the boundaries which hold us chained against our suffering, these dreams will set the future of our people and our communities onto a path of freedom and equality.

What is equally as important as having a dream, is having the striving and discipline to pursue the dream you have. One can have a dream, but never bring themselves to pursue it, resulting in no change being made and no good power and potential being put to use. This power and potential, which is within a dream and the one who wields it, is the ability to bring infinite amounts of change, and to create all that pleases their heart.

We, the youth, will not let this opportunity to impact the future slip away from our palm’s grip. As long as we have hope to keep us moving forward, our dreams will not go to waste and will become the reality all of our predecessors dreamt of creating and passed onto us.

King Day 2019

On this 24th annual King Day of Service, the largest in the USA, Dreamline was the Signature Service Project. Volunteers from across the city and state created Dream Booths–mobile PVC structures–that will go to dozens of sites across Philadelphia to put Dreamline Banners in the public eye.

These banners are created in the theme of Global Citizen’s King Day of Service: A World Without Gun Violence. Government leaders — Sen. Bob Casey, Governor Tom Wolf, and Mayor Jim Kenney and many others — all lent a hand building Dream Booths and creating Dreamline Banners along with citizens from across Philadelphia. The event’s attendance was estimated at above 3,000. Our goal is to build awareness, inspire hope, and instigate action in the direction of common dreams.

That started today.

Check out this article:

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And our event photos on Facebook:

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King Day Momentum Grows: Dreams of a World Without Gun Violence

On Tuesday this week, hundreds gathered at Girard College in Philadelphia for a press conference and preview of this year’s King Day of Service in Philadelphia, hosted by Global Citizen.

Dreamline is the featured service project for that event. Dream Booths will be distributed across Philadelphia with Dreamline Banners about a world without gun violence. Samples of some great news coverage below:

Channel 6

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