Summary: By writing a list poem, students use figurative language to express complex feelings and experiences related to bullying and personal identity. This poem is a great jumping off point for other creative work.
Age Range: This activity can be adapted to suit almost any group/age range. Younger children can draw pictures.
Materials: Pen/pencil and paper
Connection to Bullying: Self expression, identity, personal history, awareness of diversity.
Start by having the students make a list. Answers can be literal or non-literal. Students should add as much sensory detail as possible. These prompts are in no particular order and can be adapted to the group. Here are examples (choose 5 – 8):
- Where you are from?
- What is something you’re really good at doing (a sport, a hobby, etc)? Add description.
- What is something an adult (or friend) has said to you that you will always cherish?
- Describe a secret place or a place you go when you need to be alone.
- What is your favorite season/time of day? e., early morning sunrises in June
- Describe a sound that reminds you of being very young/vulnerable
- What is something cruel that has been said to you?
- What’s your favorite game/sport and who do you play it with?
- Who is a mentor/role model – say something about why they’re important to you.
In front of each item on the list write, “I am from”. Some of these will sound weird, such as “I am from building a model train set on Saturday mornings with my dad.” That’s okay – they will sound more like a poem when you put them all together.
Make whatever changes are desired – some of these may get combined, details may be added, as long as the “I am from” keeps getting repeated.
Share the poems with the class.
Poems can be performed as slam poems or rap, turned into song lyrics, or combined with other student’s poems and performed as a choreopoem (with movement). Particular lines can also be used as a jumping off point for a personal essay or short story.