MUSCATINE — "Dream big, live tall, making the world better," third-grade students chanted at Colorado Elementary Wednesday morning.
Dean Jacobs, an author and world traveler from Nebraska, visited the school Wednesday to tell children about his adventures — he has traveled to more than 50 countries — and encourage them to follow their dreams.
"The kids get it, they get what he's talking about, about making the world a better place through living tall and dreaming big," said Jill Goldesberry, the program officer for community partnerships at The Stanley Foundation.
The Stanley Foundation has been sponsoring Jacobs's visits to various Muscatine schools for about four years.
Jacobs spoke to the Colorado Elementary student body, then moved into classrooms for a writing workshop.
"I've backpacked through 58 countries around the world, so I come in and I bring the world to these kids and I share it with them in a way that inspires them to dream," he said. "And be engaged with the world versus be afraid."
The writing workshop was entitled "Journal the Journey," and students wrote down answers to the many questions Jacobs posed and called out answers as he moved around the room. He paused to encourage each student who was called on to answer.
"If I see something I've never seen before, most likely I'm never going to see it again, what do you think I do to keep track of that information so it doesn't become one big pile of mush in my brain?" he asked.
"Write it in your journal!" students called out.
"What do you want to do and experience and try?" Jacobs asked.
Children shouted out answers, like "see snakes" and "live with monkeys."
"I want to grow wings and fly," answered third-grader Cody Defosse.
Many of Jacobs's photos from his journeys were of the wide variety of animals he encountered. They are documented in his book, "Wondrous Creatures," and are each matched to a letter of the alphabet, with information about the animals and their habitats.
When asked "What does it mean to live tall?" students called out answers excitedly, like "treat others the way you want to be treated," "don't stay in your box" and "share."
Jacobs said he hopes the lessons learned from the presentation and writing workshop help them have "Fun" which he said stands for "Follow your dreams, understand the world and never quit."