This week, my 8th graders are doing "I am From" poems in my language arts class. (You might remember mine from a while back.) I really like them, because they always end up being so beautiful, poignant, and sometimes, powerful. The format of the poem is to write lines that begin with I am From and end with a list of things.
Each line focuses on a different topic (your house, your yard, your neighborhood, your family, things your family says all the time, meals special to your family, and places you keep your memories.)
Here are some excerpts from three different students' poems:
I am from a hyper mutt, my boots at the front door, a shotgun and a 22 leaning up against the wall in the corner.
I am from games, laundry, rugs, and jackets in the hall.
I am from drugs, alcohol, abuse, no mother, and dogs.
I am from dog poop, snakes, a pond, woods, and wild animals.
I am from dog poop, moles, deer, bird feeders, bird baths, wood piles, and a pool.
I am from flowers, a lilac tree, bricks, and green grass.
I am from Serene Lane, the woods, cars, and a culdesac.
I am from country roads, a creek, and corn fields.
I am from fights, gang violence, tagging, hatred, cops, and jail. [Can you tell he's not from around here?]
I am from "Kill two birds with one stone," "Better safe than sorry," "Shut up!" "Fat-ass!" "Get out of my room!"
I am from "No; don't touch." "I told you so!" "When I was your age," and "What goes around comes around."
I am from "Don't cry! Crying is for little girls!" "Shut up!" and "You got suspended again?!"
I am from nowhere.
My goal now is to get them to face the future; where they are going. Maybe that's the next poem I should have them write...