I Am a Ballerina Cover

Teacher Guide

New Vocabulary:

Barre: A level handrail fixed to a wall as a support
Recital: A public performance of music or dance


Dreams and goals


The little girl in I Am A Ballerina wanted to be a ballerina. Is there something you would like to be? Is there something you really like to do? What job would you like when you grow up? Do you know someone who has that job or does that activity? Do you ever pretend to have that job? (ie. be a vet for your stuffed bear, cook with play food) How does it help when someone encourages you or helps you?

Suggested unit study — Dreams and Goals:

Have your students prepare a list of careers or activities they are interested in learning more about. Have them look around for the jobs or activities they see people doing every day. i.e., crossing guard, bus driver, mayor, mechanic, TV host, etc. Sometimes, the activities we like are for fun and relaxation. And sometimes the activities we enjoy can become job choices. For example, someone who really likes sports could be a professional player, a coach, or run a sporting goods store. I enjoy reading and writing so being an author is a very interesting job for me. My husband loves computers and became a software engineer. This might be a chance to tell your students why you became a teacher and what you enjoy about it!


  1. Dress-up Day

    Provide or ask students to bring dress up clothes or costumes for different activities or occupations. Suggestions might include a stethescope, dance skirt, soccer shoes, whistle, garden shovel, hardhat, etc. What would they need to know if they were a doctor? a coach? a farmer?

  2. Career Charades

    Using costumes, puppets or props have each student perform for the other students to guess what job or activity they have chosen.

  3. Dream Diary

    Give each student a paper (or papers) and have them draw themselves doing a favorite activity or doing something they've always wished they could do. For example, a student might have always wanted to take horseback riding lessons or learn to do a half pike at the skateboard park. This can be done as a group activity and collected in to a classroom book or individually in a daily journal format with a picture. Perhaps each student could write three sentences or draw three steps they could do to achieve their goal.


  1. Brainstorming

    Think about the jobs that were behind objects in your classroom. For example, a picture book can have three or more people working on it in different jobs. ("How Many Hats?" is a school presentation that teaches about six of these jobs.)

    Have each student choose an object in the room and write a list of the jobs that were necessary to make that item. Who works on a pencil? A light fixture? A TV screen? A door with a lock? What would those people need to know in order to do their job?

  2. Career Project

    Have each student choose a career they would like to know more about.

    Have each student prepare five or six questions they would like to ask someone who has that job. If possible, have each student arrange an interview (a letter or e-mail with a cover letter from the teacher often works well) with someone in that field. (Parents may be a good resource here.) Responses can take some time to return, so have each student continue by finding information - where do you have to live to do this job? Do you have to go to school to learn more about it? Are there special clothes or tools required for that job? What responsibilities would you have? What would be a fun part of the job? A not-so-fun part?

    Option 1: Prepare a poster with the researched information and photos or drawings related to that career. As interview responses come in, they can be shared with the class and posted beside or underneath the relevant poster.

    Option 2: Have an in-class career day or week. Each student could share the information they have about the job of their choice in oral or pictorial form. If they can contact a local person that works in their career, invite them to the career event. Have your student introduce each person, explain what they do, and conduct an in-class interview. A question-and-answer time would provide more information about that career.

    Other reading that demonstrates realizing a dream/reaching a goal:

    • Sarah May and the New Red Dress by Andrea Spalding, illustrated by Janet Wilson. ISBN 1-555143-117-3
    • Little Nino's Pizzeria by Karen Barbour. ISBN 0-15246-321-6
    • Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh. ISBN 0-8118-1807-1

For suggestions on getting more from I Am a Ballerina, see 50+ Questions

Copyright © 2006 – 2016 Valerie Coulman. All Rights Reserved.
All text, photos and images are copyright Valerie Coulman unless otherwise stated and may not be saved, used or reproduced without express written permission.
Report problems with this site to the webmaster
Site CreditsSite Map