Using Poetry to Build an Affirming Classroom Community
STUDENTS | November 10, 2020
Using Poetry to Build an Affirming Classroom Community

Where do you come from? Fourth-grade students at Hamline Elementary used this simple question to create poems that reflected their unique backgrounds. Students were encouraged to think about the “where” as more than a place—it could also be a cultural tradition, a close relationship with a friend or family member, or their favorite food.

The entire class then came together for a virtual poetry slam, where students provided encouraging feedback on their peers’ work. After reading their poem to the class, each student was given the opportunity to share their favorite part of their poem as well as one way they might improve their writing or delivery in the future.

Get to know students Lytze T. and Alia R. by reading (and listening to) their poems below.

I Am From
By Lytze T.

I am from a small home, very cozy, that I love being at because I am with my family
I am from two sisters, mom, dad, and a hamster named Lollipop
Also my baby cover that is very soft
I am from a family that is very loud and caring, and my mom always makes my favorite food that is red enchiladas
And from Sundays going to the cemetery to visit my uncle, then go to eat at our favorite place
I am from all the plants
Whose leaves are green and beautiful
I help take care of them by watering them
And from my Aunt’s puppies being all over me because I feed and play with them.
I am from running around the park with my cousins
And from Alicia Keys singing “(New York) Empire State of Mind”
I am from Mirna and Rigobero
And from sweet and spicy enchiladas and delicious green pozole
I am from those moments that we celebrate together
Birthdays, holidays, and special occasions, we have so much fun

I Am From
By Alia R.
I am from a room full of glowing stars

From Grandma’s house to Easter bunnies
I am from a family that is loud like a parade
And from bonfires to s’mores
I am from a big apple tree
Whose apples are sour and sweet
I am from colorful paintings to playing Roblox all night long
And from Billie Eilish “I Love You”
I am from my Mommy, Tania, and Grandma, Liliana
And from saucy spaghetti to saucy pizza
I am from cuddling with my puppy to sleep comfy at night