Where I’m From poems

Read this document on Scribd: Where I’m From poems

I absolutely love beginning the year with “Where I’m From” poems, a lesson inspired by George Ella Lyons. It’s not an easy assignment by any means but my students always rise to the occasion, with some prodding by me. I love these poems because learn so much about my students when reading their poems. You see what is important to them, what their families are like, and what makes them happy. They are a clear window into their lives.

Where I’m From poem template -Check it out!

Read this document on Scribd: Where I’m From poems

Last year, I developed a template for my students to follow, which helped their poems become much deeper. On Friday we started the poems with this year’s class and so far I am extremely impressed. We should finish them up next week, and I can’t wait to hang them up for Back to School Night!

16 Responses

  1. This is a PERFECT introduction to poetry and an awesome beginning-of-the-year writing project. Thanks so much for sharing your template!

  2. I’m the poet who wrote “Where I’m From” and just found your blog. I’m so glad the exercise worked for you and your students. (I was hoping to read your poem, too.)

    You sound like a lively and dedicated teacher. You and your kids are lucky to have each other.

    Does your school or PTO ever host visiting authors? I’d love to come work with you. I live in Lexington, Ky., but travel across the country.

    You can find out what I do and how to book an appearance on my website: georgeellalyon.com

    The kids can also hear me read the original WIF (which has gone around the world thanks to teachers!) and find suggestions for more writing based on their WIF poems.

    Tell your students I said, Happy writing! And have a great school year!

    For all our voices,

    George Ella Lyon

    • Dear Ms. Lyon,

      I am 50 and have just begun my career as an English teacher after raising our four children. I came across your Where I’m From poem through Linda Christensen’s lesson plan online a couple of years ago. I used it in my student teaching experiences, and all of my students, 8th through 11th grades blew me away with their poems. I am going to introduce it to my 10th and 11th grade English students tomorrow and can’t wait to display them at Back to School night. If you ever travel to Southern California (LA area) I would be thrilled to have you speak to our students. Your work is an inspiration, and has provoked some of the most deeply felt work that my students have ever produced.


      Christi Robinson
      English Teacher
      Granada Hills Charter High School
      Granada Hills, CA

    • Actually Georgia Heard wrote Where I’m From- she is the original poet who needs to be noticed here

  3. I’ve done this activity as well and agree that while it can be hard for them, the finished product is very worth while! Wow how exciting to have George Ella Lyon comment on your blog!!!!

  4. i love this poem but i cant really understand what symbolisim is used .

  5. I just found your site and I love it. I wrote my own version of the poem to share with my kids. It turned out to be too serious, so I’ll have to write a more light-hearted version … but come check it out at my blog, if you’re interested.


  6. I use this style of poem as the exit document for my sixth grade students’ memoir unit. Unlike many teachers, I wait to the end of the school year as my children begin their first, tentative steps toward their new school and the mysteries of adolescence. The “Where I’m From” is a celebration of their own childhood journeys and a way to honor how far they’ve already traveled. By waiting until the end of the year, my children take more risks and revel in the power of their individual voices. I stand in awe of who my children have become, rarely with dry eyes.

  7. I always have my students write Where I’m From poems at the start of the year. First I read the poem and we discuss what we think it is about and then I go to the poet’s website and have them listen to her read the poem. Then we discuss again what we think it is about and compare to our original thoughts. The students are always so insightful. This gives us a great chance to discuss voice. Then we break down the original poem. I have them in groups decide what the poet is referring to in her poem phrases she has heard people in her family say, favorite places to spend her time, etc. We then add some more of our own. The students then brainstorm their own responses to each of the items we have found or added. Then we look at the structure of the poem itself. They are then ready to write their own using their brainstormed list and following the discussed structure. I truly think this is better than using an organizer. I do think your organizer is great but I love having them break apart the poem and then compose their own. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment. My sixth graders are poets within the first week of school. It is remarkable to watch!

  8. Hello.

    My name is Sara and I am a pre-service teacher currently. Entering in to my student teaching. I did my own poem last semester to go along with my unit this semester. Students love to hear about you and this shows them the writing process I went through. They loved it.

  9. Oh…Here is my poem

    I’m from tap shoes, leotards
    and chocolate stained tights.
    I’m from Beanie Babies, Muppets
    and neon purple lights.
    I’m from lemonade stands, tree-houses,
    and mud pies.
    I’m from midnight confessions
    and catching fireflies.
    I’m from Sparkles the Clown, rollerblades,
    and scary bedtime stories.
    I’m from, “Oh, heavens!”, “Never say never”,
    and “Don’t forget your O’ Glories.”
    I’m from pork chops with applesauce
    and grasshopper pie.
    I’m from always knowing it’s, “Just okay to cry.”

    I’m from an abundance of hugs and kisses.
    These values I will continue, even when I am a Mrs.

  10. […] (Template can be found here) […]

  11. Hello, I would like to invite you to join; The Poetic Voice Community. It is a writer’s site where you can enter contests – add poetry and get feedback. The latest entries are listed on the blog posts. Click on link, and check us out! Then join, and post.

    Website: http://poeticvoice.ning.com/

  12. […] Where I’m From poems […]

  13. I like to connect music and poetry. I use the songs “Back Where I Come From” by Kenny Chesney and “Where I’m From” by Jason Michael Carroll for these connections. We study the format as well as other examples. I have recently discovered another song by Montgomery Gentry also titled “Where I Come From.”

  14. […] A Teacher’s blog post on using this activity, with a template for creating the poem with your… […]

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