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Where Im From

Page history last edited by Ms. Edwards 11 years, 1 month ago

Where I'm From





A Poetry Project 2009

We're fortunate to be able to join other classes around the nation in a National Day of Writing Project.  Our inspiration comes from Dollie Evans, a teacher in Illinois.  Please see her welcome message here.


Where are we from? That question could take us back hundreds of years or next door!  Here's what the poet George Ella Lyons wrote, in her own voice:  Click here.  


You will create a poem based on the mentor text, “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyons. You will learn about the writing process, experiment with poetic techniques, participate in a writing community, and share your poems. Many people love this poem and all the writing possibilities it opens up. After completing this unit, you will have grown as a writer and learned a few tricks along the way. What wonderful words will we create?


Let's listen to the poem again and discuss:

“What techniques does the writer use that makes this a poem instead of an essay?”




Listen to a Mrs. Evans introduction to prewriting here. What ideas will you imagine?


Download a brainstorm sheet here.  To view, click here.


Listen to the song "Back Where I Come From" by Kenny Chesney here and write on your brainstorm sheet the ideas you imagine about where YOU come from as you listen to the music.


See sample ideas by students here 


Keep writing and adding to your memories. Another strategy for prewriting memories is to write a timeline of your life events. Examples and Resoources:

George Washington's timeline.  

A Student Sample

A How To Create a Timeline

An Online Timeline Map 

Student Sample with Ratings

Directions for Online Graphic Map or view here.


Add your ideas here, if you have permission.




Now that we've searched our minds and memories for places and people, food and fun, that brought us to where we are today, it's time to write drafts of our poems.  Here's how Mrs. Evans explained it to her students. Click here.   If you need the templates, download them at her site, but do try to write on your own -- can you see the pattern?  Let's look at the original again here or and sample poems here.  Do you see:


  • At least 4 stanzas?
  • The repeated line "I'm from.."?
  • Ideas grouped in a logical manner?
  • A unique and satisfying ending?
  •  Ideas expessed from the author's life?
  • An original creation?


That's what we need to do, too!  Let's draft!


Show and Share

Stars and Wishes


Your first draft is just that: a first draft. We've all got ideas and images organized into stanzas with the "I am from" repeated.  Remember, we want:

  • At least 4 stanzas?
  • The repeated line "I'm from.."?
  • Ideas grouped in a logical manner?
  • A unique and satisfying ending?
  •  Ideas expessed from the author's life?
  • An original creation?


Next, writers share and show each other what they've done.  They talk about what works and what doesn't.  That's what we'll do today.  Remember: Be kind.  As writers, we depend on each other for honest thoughts about our ideas -- and we say what we think in positive ways.  We share because it helps us grow as writers when we know what our "readers" "see" in our writing.  So, here's the process we will learn from Mrs. Evans.  Click here.


Our process:


  1. Leave your poem on your desk.
  2. Take sticky notes.
  3. Each person walks to another person's desk so each person has a different poem to read.
  4. Read the poem one time just to enjoy it.
  5. Then, read the poem again. Leave a sticky note on the dest to:
    1. Write one star: what catches your eye, your ear, and your heart?
    2. Write one wish: if something is missing, let the author know-- an ideas for a beginning? for an ending? to reorganize? to add action? a question?
  6. Read at least one other poem and leave Star/Wish note there.


Authors: Read your wishes and stars. Your decisions on what you add, change, rearrange, delete is your decision, but do listen to what your peers explain to you.


What did your readers say that might help you make your poem better?  Why?


What did your readers say that you won't use to change your poem?  Why?




Mrs. Evans reminds her students, "Remember to use the muscles in your ARMS."  This is what she means: Click here.


Add-What else do I need to include? Can I add a more descriptive verb? Can I add a simile?


Remove-Can I leave out any unnecessary words like of and the? Is there a line that doesn't fit?


Move-Is the information in the most logical place? Do I need to change my line breaks?


Substitute-What words could be replaced with clearer, stronger words?


Poets are masters of word power with ARMS using figurative language.  Review our strategies:


Poetry Techniques

Figurative Language



Let's listen to the poem again here and discuss:

“What techniques does the writer use that makes this a poem instead of an essay?”

"What poetic techniques did she use?"


Now:  Use your ARMS and poetic figurative language to revise your poem --- "re-see" your ideas in more powerful ways using your ARMS and figurative language.


Read your poem aloud. How does it sound?


Show and Share again.




Spend time fine-tuning the lovely language that captures your creative word images to stir the imagination of your readers.





Now's the time to finalize how your poem will "sound" by how you add line breaks and punctuation. Your readers will use your line breaks, line lengths, and punctuation to help them read your poem aloud.  Think how you want your reader to "read" your poem, and create your "breaths" and "pauses" with your line breaks and punctuation.  Read what Mrs. Evans says to her students here.


Check your spelling and grammar.


Download the rubic for assessing your progress here or view here.




Wiki page in your folder

Google Doc

Blog Comment (link provided later)





You may choose to create a presentation to bring your poem to life with images.


If you were to put images to your words, what images would you choose?  Do you have photos or can you draw sketches? Can you find Flickr images to match your words?


Presentation Choices:

Google Presentation





Use the presentation rubric here to guide you in your illustation and presentation.  Also viewed below:




Student Poems


w7 where im from

where I'm from w7 nita

w7 from rislaw

W7 Where I'm From

Where I'm From pepernos

w7 from cardle

WHERe I'M FROM alper

w7 tabo51 where im from

w6tinfoil where I'm from poem

w7 from Ayming

w5 from ryal

w5 from kimy

w5 from rocke

w6 where from landa61

w6 from sekin

w6 from lenaria61

w7 from mondi

w6 denwha im from

w5 from sager

w5 from rater

w5 from jane

w5 from ania

w6 rojo Am from

w8 Where Im From, omer14

w8 where im from kinstin

w8 from danson

w8 from radson

w5 from rista

w6 elbe Where I'm From Poem


where im from naner

W7 From Poem Rislaw

w8 from otaica

w5 from vinick




Photo Credits


Apple Compass by klmontgomery CC Flickr

Fountain of Gold by klmontgomery CC Flickr

Sakakawea by Leonard Crunelle GNU licesnse Wikimedia Commons

Water Color by klmontgomery CC Flickr

Down by the Watering Hole by ian CC Flick

Reading Between the Lines by Bob Jagendorf CC Flickr

Chipmunk Tamia rayé -- Eastern chipmunk by Gilles Gonthier  CC Flickr

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