Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, March 28, 2008

I am who I am

Where I was born and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.

~ Georgia O'Keefe ~

We all have exercises in asking our scholars tell us and their classmates who they are. We have templates, we have poetry, we have prompts. Many of these applications can be found on my I am lesson. For me, one of the reasons I do an I am lesson is to have the scholars learn to use the word "I" in their writing. Somehow the use of "I" has been lost. "I" is important, it gives the work authenticity and voice. The foundation of the essay as defined by Michel de Montaigne, the creator of the essay, is that it is a personal statement. The essays our scholars write in class are personal, so "I" must be used. I am always amazed when I hear a scholar ask if s/he can use "I." Of course you may and must use "I" I respond. Not using "I" is a bad habit I have to unteach my scholars and something they have to unlearn.

We must not allow other people's limited perceptions to define us.

~ Virginia Satir ~

An assignment I like to begin a year with is an I am assignment with a twist. The scholars read a selection from Awakening Genius by Thomas Armstrong. This is the first line: "Every student is a genius." He goes on to explain what he means by "genius." This definition is followed by "The Twelve Qualities of Genius." I have the scholars select any one of the twelve and use it to start defining their own genius. I want them to provide two examples, one from any time they have been in school and one from outside school. These examples should illustrate their genius via the word they chose. Throughout the year, about every three weeks, the scholars select another word and do the process all over again. By year end each scholar should have used all twelve words in a large essay titled "I am a Genius." This has a very positive affect on each scholar. This link will take you to their archived pages to find the "I am" assignment.

Words of encouragement fan the spark of genius into the flame of achievement.

~ Wilfred A. Peterson ~

Using character traits is also very popular. Many teachers have used poetry to extract who we are from their scholars. Templates abound for these exercises. Other starters include prompts:

I am
I touch
I feel
I think
I like
I hear
I remember
I need
I love
I hate

Essentially there is so much we can do with "I am" lessons. They are crucial for our scholars to help them develop voice, to develop character, to develop identity.

I am out:)

1 comment:

Paul said...


i am enjoying your various posts on cyberenglish. they contain much of what i've already heard from you over the years but they are so important to read and the fact that you are documenting your lessons is a real service to all of us. in many ways i see this blog as your book on cyberenglish.