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Tip of the Week – I Am Poetry

A great way to get kids to emotionally connect with your content is by using something called an “I am” poem.

It allows students to think a bit more about how a particular person might be thinking in very specific ways. Last week I was reminded of the power of the strategy when about 20 of us looked at the images in Toni Morrison’s Remember book. There are lots of templates on line which can help you and your kids organize their thoughts. Simply Google the phrase “I am poem.” You can also find some I Am poem resources here.

I’ve pasted my attempt below. The process is pretty simple. Have your students look at a painting, image or photograph. They should select one person that they will write about and then following the template, fill in the blanks. You could also have every kid write about the same person in the painting or photo. Then have kids exchange papers or read them aloud. It usually works best when reading aloud to not identify the author. (Kids like to hear their own voices but perhaps not all want others to know they’re the author!)

I used a photo from Morrison’s book depicting a father and his son entering a desegregated school for the first time.

I am my son’s father.
I hear our footsteps echoing against the walls around us
I see officials and protesters and my son’s face
I wonder if he will be safe when I am not around?
Will the officials protect him as well as I?
I am my son’s father.

I pretend to be strong and smart
I feel unsure. Is this the right thing to do?
I hold my son’s and feel his hesitation
I worry that we’re doing the wrong thing
I cry that it’s so hard
I am my son’s father

I understand that we need to do this
I say “Everything is going to be alright. Be strong!”
I dream that some day his son does not have to do this
I try to remember how important this is and
I hope that my son remembers this day when my grandson is born
I am my son’s father

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