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My Voice Activity: Autobiographical poem

Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Curriculum: Speaking & Listening and Writing

Knowing and appreciating who we are gives us the power to become agents of change. This activity can be used to build community within the class while at the same time helping students recognize their particular gifts and experiences.

Description: Students write a ten-line poem describing their traits, needs, gifts, and feelings. Students are given the opportunity to share their poems with the class.

Time Frame: 45-60 minutes

Materials:
1. Handout – Ten-line Autobiographical Poem
2. Pencils, crayons or markers
3. Blank paper

Objectives – Students will be able to:
1. Identify their traits, needs, gifts, and feelings
2. Analyze characteristics of their classmates

Procedures:
1. Explain that the class will spend more time exploring gifts and traits by writing an autobiographical poem.
2. Elicit the definition of autobiography (an account of someone’s life written by that person).
3. Distribute the Poem Worksheet. Explain the format for the ten-line poem and read examples.
4. Model writing a new ten-line poem using yourself as an example. Remind students that ‘likes’ and
‘dislikes’ should not include their classmates, and traits should not be physical.
5. If desired, have students pair up, interview one another, and complete a worksheet for their partners.
Or, simply have students complete the worksheets alone.
6. If desired, have students transfer their poems onto a new sheet of paper and decorate.
7. Allow students to share their poems, and display them in the classroom.

Assessments:
1. Was the prescribed poem format followed accurately and completely?
2. Was thoughtful autobiographical content provided?
3. Was there a willingness to share and listen supportively to peers?

Curriculum Standards: Writing, Listening, Speaking

Extension/Homework:
Game: “Big Wheel Turns” is a variation of musical chairs. Use responses from the ten-line poem or ID Plaque to find out what students have in common.

Autobiographical Timeline: Students create a timeline based on character traits, family members, interests and accomplishments, goals, and address (city). Instruct students to start with the month, day, and year of their birth. Include at least four more events with corresponding photographs if available.

Download a PDF of this Sample Activity