Where I'm From

Look around you. See any friends or neighbors or family?

Close your eyes. Think of your favorites -- places [inside, outside, close, far, any kind of place], people, food, hobbies, movies, books, authors, music, videos. Make lists with descriptions that include looks, sounds, feelings.  Here's an example. Click.

In Common

Join a team. Share your favorites.

Find some similarities and write them down.

Think of a name for your team, that is unique [not a sports team or such]. It could be a slogan or phrase, but it should represent your whole team and the similarities you found.

Write it down.


For each person on your team, think of a symbol -- something that would represent that person and that person's favorites. A person who likes basketball, hunting, and music might draw a basketball with a deer and music notes inside.


Now think of a way to display your team's favorites. It can be digital or analog, but it should include your team's name, each person's symbol, images that connect each other, and text to explain your favorites and your connections.

Possible Platforms:

Google Drawing, Google Slide, Lucid Chart, Tackk, Keynote Slide, VoiceThread, etc.

Just check with your adviser.

Poetry [optional, according to adviser]

Each person should create an acrostic poem of phrases with their first names [or pseudonym ]. Each letter of the name should represent you with a fitting word or phrase-- a favorite, a talent, a personality trait.

Display your poem as best fits you; use fonts, background, images, borders that make you and your poem shine. If possible and allowed, link to your poems from your display.

We Are

This is where we are now: your favorites, a team to work and play with, a class to learn and grow with.

Where I'm From?

But, where did we come from? Where did how each of us are now, come from? What part of our lives brought us to where we are now?

Did you play football since we were four? Who with? Who was the influence to start?

Did you draw pictures with an aunt? Do you still have pictures pinned to the fridge? When and how did you learn to love art, drawing, painting, etc?

Let's think back in time, to those things that brought us to today.

A poet, George Ella Lyon, was inspired by another author's poem to think about "where I'm from." She wrote a poem to explain the memories that make her who she is.

Read her poem here.

Listen to her read her poem here:

Team Thinking With George Ella Lyon

Copy the poem into a document or print a copy for your team.

With your team, think how each phrase is a memory and that memory is part of who she is today. Discuss the images you see as your team reads the poem. Discuss how you think the image and text connects to her life today.

For example:

"I am from clothespin."

"I am from clothespin,"

Can you picture the clothesline? Do you have a clothesline with clothespins? Did she help do you suppose? Did she play beneath and pull the clothes to tease? Does that mean she had no washer and dryer? How would that make her different today?

I image her a young child, trying to help her mother hang out the clothes washed by hand or with an old wringer washer. She might run and pull on the clothes, laughing and play hide and seek among the hanging clothes: a chore becomes a game.


What line grabbed you?

Which lines created a clear image for you? What about the words did this?

What words did you not understand? What did you do?

What lines were sayings someone said to her? How do you suppose that affected her?

In what times and places were the lines -- childhood, older, home, school, neighborhoods?

As a team thirty words [gist statements], write your impression of what you learned about the author.

Your Where I'm From Lists

From your favorites lists, think backwards to memories of similar favorites, events, places, people from your past. Think of those that have influenced you and still can be pulled from the past to your mind today.

Make lists of phrases and descriptions as we did before with your favorites, but this time use your memories:

Description Lists

Who were the people? What did they say?

What were the places-- the places you see in your neighborhood, backyard, home-- what exactly do you remember?

What phrases did people say to you, or did you say?

What foods, games, entertainment to you remember?  Think of the sights, sounds, and smells.

Where I'm From -- Your Turn

Re-read her poem here. Remember how the phrases affected you and your imagination.

Use the lists from your life, to write your own "Where I'm From" poem. Use the repetitive phrase "I am from..." or "I'm from." Play phrasing and details. Use alliteration and strong verbs. Choose what most influences you still today.

When you have a draft. Share it with a peer. Share a part you like and a part you're stuck on. Get some feedback -- what images do they get from your words? What suggestions might they have to bring out what you are trying to say?

Revise your poem until its words flow and their particular phrasing and specifics honor your memories.

Choose a format to display and publish your poem.

Here's another example.

If possible, link to your poem in the comments from this page.

Where I'm From