Victor Nellum of Colorado Uplift tells his experience with The Imagine Project
Professionals talking about The Imagine Project
Woodland Elementary, in the Cherry Creek School District, CO, incorporated The Imagine Project into their entire school curriculum. Here are some things the teachers had to say after months of using it:
- I will always remember our first venture into The Imagine Project and how powerful it was for our group to get vulnerable and share their Imagine stories. This group has been tough but these stories helped them to listen to each other, shed their guard, and know there is empathy between each individual! Lots of tears shed but it’s worth it for them to have that shared experience.
- Students used the Imagine Story independently to work through personal issues this year! They felt empowered!
- Loved hearing students’ stories and making connections in struggle and future strength.
- One positive impact the Imagine Project has had was when we used it to imagine a character’s point of view.
- I had my students create an Imagine “poem” for what they would imagine for themselves and the world.
- It is just a good tool to add in their toolbox to help regulate and discuss hard things or things that are difficult to process.
- The first formal project we did around any big event anyone was having was so powerful and I felt it created a lot of empathy towards students. It was also really helpful to keep the imagine project paper in the calm corner for students.
- It was great because the students realized their full potential!
- My students used it for our veterans day writing. It was a great way to see and hear how kids perceive the experiences of veterans.
- It helped me communicate with my class about the vision of our classroom and also to celebrate them.
- The first time we used the imagine project during our first launch project on community and we were all able to learn so much about each other’s families and culture.
- Our kids used multiple perspectives with writing about Veterans, Imagine- words to describe vets, Imagine- how veterans feel, Imagine- what you would say to a veteran. We also used it when exploring strong emotions and getting to know our class’ stories. Kids were able to share experiences linked with feelings and problem solving strategies or hopes to use strategies.
- It helped us build empathy and understanding around shared experiences with finding new friends at recess and problem solving with friends.
- We got to use this for imagining a classroom everyone would want to be in while creating our classroom vision. Students were able to write about what was important for them in an ideal classroom. Each students voice was heard.
- I was able to use the Imagine Story to help students identify an area of need and their goal, specifically for their IEP. Then we were able to refer back to the story as we made progress.
- Lately I have been using the simplified Imagine story being I feel ___, I want to feel ____. A positive experience I had previously with the story was helping a student write one about how he gets angry in class. The positive turn was “Imagine other people feeling safe around you.” He was able to communicate with me and his peers how he was feeling and how he wanted to feel in the future.
- Students came in to P.E. after doing there imagine stories and shared them with me which helped me to get to know them better.
- I used the imagine writing to help resolve conflicts within friend groups of students.
“The Imagine Project has really taken off in my district. I completed the project in my 5th grade classroom at the beginning of the school year and the outcome was powerful beyond words. The things the students were able to relinquish and say during this project were mind blowing. I have since shared your project with other teachers at our Institute Day and to school board members at a meeting just last night. Everyone that hears about the Imagine Project and how it is impacting my staff and students are in awe. I am so excited about where our district is heading in regards to students’ mental health and overall well-being. I truly believe that your project is what is going to propel our district in the right direction!”
“I sat in on all three classrooms while they did the bulk of the project and it was really a fascinating process to be a part of. I saw many kids really engaged in the writing process, many chose to share their stories and the displays of support and empathy by fellow students was beautiful to behold. One interesting thing I noticed was that, for the most part, the kids who “act out” as a result of their traumatic lives really struggled with this project. Many of them chose not to participate, which we made clear was OK.I understand that for many of them, it is difficult to even try to access those traumatic experiences. I also realized many of them struggle with writing in general. I observed some who did not write a story, but came up and verbally shared a few sentences using the “Imagine” format. Many of the stories I heard read aloud were from kids that were not necessarily even on my radar as a counselor. Whether these students internalize more, rather than acting out, or are just more comfortable with writing in general, probably a mixture of both. It was good for me to hear their stories so I better understand them. It is too often those kids who do not act out that do not always land on our radar and often suffer in silence. I was glad they were connected with this as a tool to get those things out.
The teachers were awesome and enthusiastic the minute I brought this idea to their attention. I think we are all interested to see the longterm impact, especially around the area of empathy.
Thanks so much for what you do, you are truly impacting lives in such a positive way!”
Counselor, Eastgate Elementary