Sunday, August 13, 2006

Where I'm From--thinking

Tomorrow begins a new school year. Part of the first week of school is letting students know about me, my expectations, my standards. Part of the week is getting to know them, where they are from, what they expect from themselves and from me.
Our first writing activity will be a poem. All the poems will share the same title, "Where I'm From."
The original poem is by George Ella Lyons. I am posting the "think sheet" I give my students, so if you feel so inclined, you can write your own.

Here's the original poem.

I am from clothespins,
From Clorox and carbon tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I am from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from perk up and pipe down.
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under the bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments –
snapped before I budded –leaf-fall from the family tree.

Here's the "think sheet."
Objects play



Central events

church experiences



Other people’s words

town or street names


hiding places


what grew in your yard

Relatives’ names

parents work



Tomorrow I will post my own version of the poem. If you decide to play, let me know so I can come visit your site and see where you are from.