Dream Sheet

Dream Sheet



  •  Dream Sheet (pdf file for printing)
  • The online version of the Possibilities for Learning Survey will generate this form.   This must be done from within the online form by clicking on the “Dream Sheet” tab.
  •  Filling in the Star worksheet (pdf file for printing)

The “Dream Sheet” is a template students use to create a learning experience, large or small, based on their favorite statements from each Part of the Possibilities for Learning (PFL) survey.

Arriving at a manageable activity using the Dream Sheet is a three stage process:

  1. The student identifies one favorite item from each part of the survey.
  2. The student combines those favorites to create a proposal for an activity.
  3. The student and teacher negotiate a manageable version of that activity.
  4. Engage in the activity.

More detail is provided for each step below.


Instructions for working with the print version of the Dream Sheet are followed by instructions for the online version.  The overall process is the same on paper or online.  The differences are in the “mechanics” of selecting, entering and saving the work.

Working With the Print Version of the Dream Sheet Materials

1.  First, the student must choose one of the two favorite items he or she specified at the end of Parts 1 through 4 of the PFL. The text of their choice from Part 1: Setting for Learning is copied into the large, top-left cloud. They repeat this process of copying their most favorite item from Parts 2 through 4 into their respective large clouds. The student will also need to choose one favorite topic from page 11 to go into the smaller “Topic” cloud; a favorite action from the “Ways to Learn” on page 12 for the “Action” cloud and a favorite “Product” from page 13.

Some students will claim they can’t choose one from their two favorites. One way to respond is to point out that in this situation there is no way to be wrong.  Or, if there will be more than one opportunity to do this, they can be assured that they can use one favorite this time and keep the other for the next activity to be “dreamed” up.  Or, if you’d like, this dilemma can also be solved using a coin toss.

2.  The next step is to blend at least four of the seven favorites that appear on the Dream Sheet into a proposal for an activity.  Some students find this easier than others and some combinations are easier than others.  Leading the students through an example can be helpful.  Novice curriculum planners of all ages will need additional support, especially young students on their first attempts.  Initial support should focus on the blending process, not the feasibility of the proposal.  That comes later.

Murray Peters, a Canadian educator, created the Filling in the Star worksheet to help students with the blending process.  It asks students to fill in blanks in sentences using all of the information they entered on the Dream Sheet.  This is intended to scaffold the beginning of the process of designing the activity by blending the elements.  The grammar in the sentences iis likely to be awkward however this clunky text is just a first draft.  Students edit and revise their words until they have an irresistible activity that includes at least four of the seven pieces of information on the Dream Sheet.

3.  The next step is to negotiate a version of the activity that can be completed with the resources and time available.  A student’s blend may result in a fantasmagoirical activity like building a bridge to the moon.  Begin by ensuring the activity includes the favorites in at least four of the clouds.  If it doesn’t, help the student work in one or more of the clouds.  If it does, congratulate the student and move on to negotiating a feasible activity based on their proposal.  Avoid judging or rejecting their proposal because it is outrageous or impossible.

Negotiating the exact nature of the activity can be tricky.  If a student proposes a huge undertaking, like a bridge to the moon, her or his ambition can be acknowledged.  The next step might be to ask “What do you think you can learn in the next few weeks that will prepare you to do this well?”  It is crucial that the student’s original idea be honored and yet this must be done within the constraints imposed by the available time, resources, support and the student’s expertise.  An 8 year-old engineer might agree to improve her understanding of gravity or design a piece of machinery that will be essential to building the bridge to the moon, while a politically active high school senior might be more inclined to examine the rights and governance of the people residing at either end of the structure.  The possibilities are endless, however, it is essential that the potential for an achievable, satisfying outcome based on the student’s strengths and preferences is the goal of the negotiating process.

Bright students are the students most likely to have the time to engage in this planning and the activities they design, however, this process is suitable for any student who can complete the form.  They can plan for themselves, for a group, or for the class.  It’s up to the teacher and the student(s) to negotiate.

Students who are not motivated to engage in regular assigned work will often approach tasks they have designed, in whole or in part, with greater enthusiasm.  The teacher may specify the content (the “Topic” on the Dream Sheet), and the student can determine any or all of the remaining elements.  The Possibilities for Learning Survey and Dream Sheet can facilitate this process.

Some students will propose a group activity.  If only one student in a class is engaged in the PFL Dream Sheet process, she or he will not be able to recruit a group activity so an individual version of the task will need to be created unless the teacher wants to allow others to join.  There are two consequences if more than one student is engaging in the process of completing the PFL and Dream Sheet:  (1) the student will need to try to recruit group members, and (2) some students will have to choose to give up their activity in order to join the group.  If no peers choose to join, an individual version of the activity can be proposed or s/he can join a peer’s proposed group activity.

4.  Engage in the activity.  When desired, learning contracts can be developed to document and scaffold students’ work.  Three are provided on this website and many more can be found in books and on other websites.

Working with the online version of the Dream Sheet materials

Please begin by reading the directions provided above for the print version of the Dream Sheet as the directions for the online version focus only on the “mechanics”, not the nuances and educational supports.

1.  After completing all five parts of the PFL survey, click on the green tab labeled “Dream Sheet” at the top of the form.  When the Dream Sheet appears, each of the four large clouds will have text in them.  The text will be one of the two items the student had already identified at the end of Parts 1 to 4 as those she or he liked most.  Click on the left or right arrow in the cloud.  The student should leave the text showing for the item she wants to work with.

One of the words the student chose from the lists in Part Five will appear in the bar in each of the smaller clouds (“Topic,” “Action,” “Product”).  Pressing the up/down arrow button will reveal a complete list of the words the student selected in each section.  She or he must choose one from the list by highlighting it.

2.  After these choices are made, the student must blend her or his favorites together to create an “Activity” they would like to do.  This activity is to be typed in to the box in the center of the star in the center of the page.  This is the student’s proposed activity.  She or he will be negotiating this proposal with the teacher in Step 3.

The Dream Sheet should be saved and then printed using the buttons at the top of the page online.  Directions for saving and loading the form are provided below and they will appear online when those buttons are pressed.

Please note, the Filling in the Star form is not available online and must be completed on paper when needed.

3.  As described above in the instructions for working with the print version of the Dream Sheet, this step involves the student and teacher in negotiating the actual activity the student will undertake.  Please refer to the instructions above for guidance in that process.

After negotiating a version of the activity that is exciting for the student and acceptable to the teacher, the student can load the file for their Dream Sheet and revise the description of the Activity in the star at the center.  This revised version should be saved again and then printed.

Printing, Saving and Loading an Online Dream Sheet:

The online Summary Sheet can be printed or saved or loaded by clicking on the buttons near the top of the page, on the right side.  Directions for saving and loading appear below and will also appear online when those buttons are selected.

Instructions to Print your file:

Press the “Print” button at the top of the page and complete the normal procedure to print a document.

Instructions to Save your file:

On a PC:

  1. Right click on the word “Download” below.
  2. Select “Save link as”.
  3. Save the file in a safe place you’ll remember on your computer.
  4. As mentioned above, the information you will not be able to retrieve the information you’ve entered after you leave this window.  Even if you leave this window open, the information will be deleted by [a date & time].

On a Mac:

  1. Press the control button and click on the word “Download” on the screen.
  2. From the options that appear, select:
    • “Download linked file as” if you are using Firefox or Safari as your browser.
    • “Save link as” if you are using Chrome as your browser.

3.  Save the file in a safe place you’ll remember on your computer.

4.  You will not be able to retrieve the information you’ve entered after you leave this window.  Even if you leave this window open, the information will be deleted by [a date & time].

Instructions to Load your file on either a PC or a Mac:

  1. Click on the “Choose File” button to search for the file you want to open.
  2. Find the file on your computer.  The filename should end in .pfl
  3. Select the file you want to open by clicking on it.  After it appears highlighted, click on the “Open” button in the lower right corner of the window.
  4. Now click the “Upload File” button.
  5. The Dream Sheet should open with the information you had saved in it.
  6. Remember to save the changed file if you want to use it in the future.