|an EdChange project by Paul C. Gorski|
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Who I Am Poems (Introductory-Level)
Preparing and Assigning:
This activity begins an active introspective process while continuing to provide opportunities for individuals to make connections with each other. Participants write short poems, starting each line with "I am," encouraging them to describe in their own words who they are and what's salient to their identities.
In any attempt to increase awareness and encourage self-development, it is crucial to engage participants in activities that call for introspection and self-reflection. It is also important to provide opportunities for participants to make connections across, and even within, identity borders. The "Who I Am" activity can provide a non-threatening starting point for encouraging self-reflective thought and introspection. It is a safe way for participants to think about and share the influences that have shaped their identities. Also, it continues the connection-making process as participants find unexpected similarities and differences between themselves and others in the group.
This activity also can be an excellent closing activity, allowing folks to re-connect at a self-defined and human level at the end of an experience in which they are discussing difficult issues.
Ask participants to take ten to fifteen minutes to write a poem called "Who I Am." Instruct them that the only rule is that each line should begin with the words "I am..." Leave it open to their interpretation as much as possible, but suggest that they can, if they wish, include statements about where they're from regionally, ethnically, religiously, and so on; memories from different points in their lives; interests and hobbies; mottos or credos; favorite phrases; family traditions and customs; and whatever else defines who they are. Be sure to let them know that they will be sharing their poems.
In order to ensure that everybody has an opportunity to share her or his story, you might consider breaking the group into diverse small groups of 8-10 if necessary. Give participants the option either to read their poems or to share parts of their poems from memory.
Points to remember:
I am basketball on a snowy driveway.
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