Where I’m From – Poetry Activity

Studying this poem and then creating a sort of copy-cat poem from it is a great activity for your students (and YOU) to do.

This poem, Where I’m From written by George Ella Lyon, is a touching one that gives insight to the person who wrote it through the senses and visualization.  From family sayings to the smells that bring her childhood to life, it is like a time capsule of memories: an opening to a her heart and an inside secret all in one.

Based on this poem, you can help your students create their own poetry to encapsulate this time in their lives.  In the past I have used this poem and the creation of one as an activity around this time of year as part of National Poetry Month.  And since it is a poem about the child, it is also a great project to complete in time for Mother’s Day. (A real tear-jerker!)

To get you started, here are some links and ideas to help bring the poem into your classroom.

Poem: Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon
Have a copy of this available for your students.

Audio: The poet recites her poem
Play this multiple times for your students and ask them to give their reflections on the poem.

  • What parts of the poem stand out to you?
  • What creates a sense of flow and rhythm in the poem?
  • What images come to mind as you listen to/read the poem?
  • What conclusions can you draw about the poet from the things she has described?

Brainstorming worksheet: Print this worksheet for students to gather ideas for the poem.
Following a brainstorm, and before giving students time to write theirs, invite students to study the poem, noticing where Lyon writes “I’m from…”, “from…” and uses lines to further describe some aspect of her childhood.

Examples: Student examples of their own “I’m From” poems

I hope you try this in your classrooms.  Please let me know how it goes.

For a picture showing how we presented these poems as a Mother’s Day gift, see this post on Studio Days.

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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  1. Dear Elizabeth,

    I’m so glad to know you and your students have found this exercise helpful.

    Please tell them Happy National Poetry Month from me!

    For all our voices,

    George Ella Lyon

    • Ms. Lyon,

      Wow! Thank you for the your comment!

      I went through this process of creating my own poem in the style and feel of yours. It was a wonderful experience! I put it together and ended up giving it to my parents. It’s very special to me.

      I know when my students created their own, it made a few parents shed a few tears, or in other words, truly moved them. AH! The power and wonder of poetry!

      I will be sure to send your well wishes to them all.

  2. I did this poetry project again this year (2014) and my students wrote some of the most wonderful, sentimental poetry for some special women in their life this past Mother’s Day. This is really such a wonderful thing to do for family members (or just for your own enjoyment!)

  3. Reinforce Alliteration, discuss poetry and create a beautiful work of art! Great cross-curricular lesson plan from Creative Curriculum.

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