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Just a Dream

Last updated Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Author: Chris Van Allsburg
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0395533082
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2006

Synopsis: (from the publisher) Young Walter litters and refuses to sort trash for recycling, until he dreams of an overcrowded and polluted future which terrifies him into taking care of the earth.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What are some environmental problems you know about? How do you feel about them?
•  What do you do to help the environment?
•  How do you feel about trash? Do you pick up trash and throw it away?
•  What do you think the future will look like? Are there different ways the future could be?
•  Do you think there?s anything you can do to shape the future?
•  What happens to your trash when you throw it away? Where does it go?
•  How does recycling help? What things do you recycle?
•  What is meant by ?reduce, reuse, recycle??

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  When Walter first arrives at ?the future,? is it what he expected?
•  How many visions of the future does Walter have? How are they different?
•  What does each vision of the future represent? What caused each one?
•  How does Walter?s dream change him?
•  What is Walter?s final dream?
•  What kind of future do you want? What can you do about it?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a chart of the things you recycle at school and at home?
•  Create a poster for your house or classroom to promote recycling. Draw or cut out a tree; make each branch/leaf a different thing you can recycle.
•  Draw a picture of your vision of the future.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!