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Where I'm From Poems: using poetry to promote a positive classroom environment

introductory presentation to the "Where I'm From" poem with suggestions for classroom use

Michael Cook

on 17 May 2014

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Transcript of Where I'm From Poems: using poetry to promote a positive classroom environment

The Where I'm From Poem
Using Poetry to promote a positive classroom environment
What Works
Introduces poetry or creative writing about the self
Provides models for students to mimic as an outline:
students learn through imitation and following a safe
skeletal structure
Can introduce social and ethnic diversity in the classroom:
understand and respect differences and value similarities
Great way to learn more about students and what they
bring into the classroom
Helps students with writing apprehension begin to get
some personal ideas down on paper
Allows students to share both who they are and where
they come from
Prompts to get you started
1. List things you remember from around your house as a child
2. List things found in your yard when you were young.
3. List things found in your neighborhood (or
relatively near your house) as a child.
4. List names of relatives (these can be nicknames, pet names,
things only you called them, etc.)
5. List old family sayings or sayings you remember
from childhood
6. List foods you remember from your youth
(maybe these bring back happy memories, or
maybe these are foods you only ate at certain
relatives' houses)
7. List the places you kept your childhood memories
(secret hiding places, places that weren't so secret,
just places to store important items, etc.)
8. List anything else you can remember from your
childhood that stands out
The Where I'm From Poem Works Well With Elementary Students As Well
The Where I'm From Poem Can Even Be Found In Country Music
Time to Write!!

use your responses to the prompts and compose your own "Where I'm From" Poem
Feel free to use either George Ella Lyon's poem or mine as a model to follow. You may also go your own route if you feel so inspired.
A few excerpts from my own students.
This always turns out to be an interesting and learning experience.
Where I'm from
couples argue late at night
kids walk around and start fights
strays whine and bark all night
where I'm from

Where I'm from
there's a part called nigga city
men and teenage boys sell drugs
people call themselves thugs
where i'm from
by Zaiquian
I'm from a place where tractors
replace luxurious vehicles
where double-wides are better
than mansions
where ponds are not only
used for fishing, but for swimming

where turkey and hog houses
are the nice, refreshing fragrance
you wake up to
where duct tape and gorilla glue
are the sure fix for anything

by Haley
Def Poetry Jam Even Has Its Own Version of the Where I'm From Poem

this is a good way to show students that poetry is part of popular culture
and that it has many forms and ways to be used

Literature Supporting the Where I'm From Poem

Bigelow, Bill, et al., Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for equity and justice. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1994, pp. 4-5.
Blum, Joshua, Holman, Bob, and Pelington, Mark (Eds.). The United States of Poetry. New York: Harry N. Adams, 1996.
Christensen, Linda (1997/1998 Winter). Where I'm From: Inviting students' lives into the classroom. Rethinking Schools, 12(2), pp. 22-23.

An electronic copy of the Christensen article is available on the Course Resources page of the course Weebly.
Additional resources have been provided on my page of the course Weebly.

I hope you find a way to use the Where I'm From poem in your own class and with your own students.

Thank you and keep on writing!!
Full transcript