Working through poetry

Where I’m from and I am poem ideas.


Using poetry can provide a non-threatening starting point for encouraging self-reflective thought and introspection. It is a safe way for students to think about and share the influences that have shaped their identities. Also, it continues the connection-making process as children find unexpected similarities and differences between themselves and others in the group.

Because some children may include very personal information, some may be hesitant to read their poems, even in small groups. Consider sharing your poem before asking children to write their own pieces. If you make yourself vulnerable they will be more comfortable doing the same.

After writing ask what, if any, connections children made with each other through the poems. What were some commonalities across poems? Did any surprise you?


Introduce the concept of identity by passing an object or ball around a circle, asking children to say something about themselves, list their suggestions on the board. Look at how their suggestions could be grouped e.g. our name, appearance, personality and things about us you can’t see, experiences of people and places and hopes and fears. Explain that these are all elements of our identity and we can think of our identity through different aspects, some aspects might be unique and some we may share with others.

Read the children the poem ‘Where I’m from’ by George Ella Lyon and identify examples in the poem which relate to the aspects of our identity.

Choose an aspect of identity and in a circle say a statement e.g. I am from….. Invite the children to do the same completing the statement in their own way. Repeat for more statements for some of the different aspects of identity discussed earlier.

Provide headings for each aspect of identity on the board for children and ask them to write about the aspects of their identity they would like to share through pictures and words. Children can now use their jottings to write their own ‘Where I’m from’ poem.

This work could be built up over time concentrating on a different aspect of identity each session. The children could write a verse to represent each aspect. 


The ‘I am Poem’ could be used in a similar way to ‘Where I’m from’. Below is an example of what could be included and acts as writing support for the children.

I am (Two special characteristics of you)
I wonder (something you are curious about)
I hear (an imaginary or actual sound)
I see (an imaginary or actual sight)
I want (a desire)
I am (the first line of the poem is repeated)
I pretend (something you could actually pretend to do)
I feel (a feeling about the imaginary)
I touch (an imaginary touch)
I worry (something that could really bother you)
I cry (something that makes you sad)
I am (the first line of the poem is repeated)
I understand (something you know is true
I say (something you believe in)
I dream (something you could dream about)
I try (something you could make an effort to do)
I hope (something you hope for)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)


Resources to download

  • Identity Work Through Poetry word pdf
  • NEW I Am, I Wonder Word Bank word
  • NEW Body Outline for Words pdf word
  • NEW I Am, I Wonder Powerpoint ppt