2.09.2012

English Class Inspiration: “Where I’m From” Prints

I’m about to go all English teacher on you and share a project inspired by none other than a writing idea I found online.

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It’s called a “Where I’m From” poem, and it’s about, as you might guess, “where you’re from.”

Sort of.

As I’m sure you fondly remember from high school, we English teachers are all about the hidden meaning and the “between the lines” essence of a writer’s words. At least, that’s what I’m told we’re all about. Therefore, a “Where I’m From” poem is not actually about where you’re from; rather, it’s more about what you’re from. But, naturally, “What I’m From” sounds crappy and “Where I’m From” is just so rich with connotation and possibility that English teachers everywhere want to give it a big kiss because it’s so beautiful.

I’m gagging a little as I write this. (I’m only trying to live up to the English teacher stereotype, you know?)

The point, Erin. What kind of English teacher are you? D minus for “ability to focus on a topic.”

Oh, yes. The point. The point is that I made some “Where I’m From” poems for us and then printed them so, in the event that we ever get around to putting holes in our walls, we can hang them up. I love them. I had to force Rick to sit down in an interview to get his poem’s details, but then I took care of the rest. Here are some snippets of mine:

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Get it? Basically, you list a bunch of things that describe anything and everything you remember about growing up: your hobbies, your interests, your jokes, your family, your vacations, your friends, your secrets. Then, you end with a string of actions that pretty much sum it all up in a deliciously cryptic and not-literal-at-all way. Super easy, and super personalized. Nobody else on the earth will ever have this same exact thing hanging on their wall, unless, of course, you copy down what I wrote and hang it on your wall. But…why would you do that?

So: I’m from Barbies, band camp, and a seriously big imagination. (You can’t play fish science or pretend a coatrack is a drunken headmistress without it, you know.) And I can only imagine what my brother and I were dreaming up when one of my parents took this picture:

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What are you from? What would you put in your poem if you were my student? Better yet, who wants to be my student? To audition for the part, please leave a comment in which you whine excessively about something that you did wrong but would like to blame on me, followed by a string of words used in ways I don’t understand, like “spit bars,” “ugg,” and “mad hype.”

P.S. I don’t actually find all of my students irritating. I find 90% of them to be quite lovely. You could, instead, audition to be one of the lovely ones, if, like I did, you received “Is a pleasure to have in class” on every single report card that you ever received. (I now know that this comment is actually code for “Thank you for not speaking in class.”)

***Linking this up to the Tater Tots & Jello Weekend Wrap-Up Party!***

22 comments :

  1. Sounds to me like you are a wonderful English teacher...one every kid should be so lucky as to have. I love the assignment,and I love your poem. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. What a fantastic idea!! I hope you put those up in your home. I'd be in your English class, Ms Erin! ;-)

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  3. As a homeschool mom, I plan on trying this one out! I have an 11th grader and a 7th grader, both of which as extremely good with words. You sound like an amazing teacher! The older I get (and the longer I homeschool), I find that my soul is hungrier for more knowledge than ever before, so I would consider it an honor to be your student! I will get back to you on this assignment! ☺

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    1. So glad you can use it with your kids! :)

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  4. Oh man I am a super nerd, because creative writing prompts like this have always gotten me all excited and ready to write. When all the other kids were listening to the assignment and moaning, I was probably dipping my writing quill in ink and gleefully forming ideas in my head. I love your poem!

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  5. This is very, very fun! And I LOVE that picture of you and your brother! How sweet!

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  6. This is super cute and creative! I've been finding so many cute prints and things to frame ideas lately, I'm going to have to start picking and choosing!

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  7. Cute!!! I wanna write my own. I bet you're a terrific teacher. :)

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  8. Oh that is so fun. You totally remind me of one of my English teachers I absolutely adored in high school. She made us think out of the box, which was weird for most other students, lol. They didn't understand that type of teaching.

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    1. My students always groan whenever I say "writing assignment." I don't know why they're always surprised by them; it is English class, after all... :)

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  9. I'm trying to hard to think of a very original comment for this, but all I "got" is...I love this. (Cheese-whiz.)
    You are incapable of bad blogging. And I would totally be your student...one of the lovely ones. ;) I eat up "words of praise". Hahaha.

    Seriously....your writing kills me...in the best context of the word.

    You are awesome.

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  10. Love this idea. So sweet and I love that it really only makes total sense to you. To everyone else it's just a weird combination of words.

    You do write beautifully and sound like a terrific teacher. So glad I found your blog!

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  11. But Ms. Erin....I have a stinking sink full of dishes and I didn't finish the laundry because you made me try to remember my childhood for one of your dumb writing assignments. It's all your fault. Ugg. Fo sho.


    On a serious note....this is super adorable. I only wish I had a memory. And a maid to help out with my above paragraph.

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  12. I'm from teary-eyed while on this nostalgic trip down Erinberry Lane, and I'm from continuing to be amazed by and loving every single thing about my remarkable daughter.

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  13. Can I be your student? I love your mom's comment above. I'd be proud of you too.

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  14. Rachel2/10/2012

    I'm from drunken coat racks and floor on fire. From the crazy book path and Brendan's arm dangling from the top bunk. I'm from failed A-frame fire drills and Davey Crockett wake up calls. From Little Bunny Foo Foo and the Good Fairy. I'm from long braids and bustles.

    You took me down memory so I thought I would throw in a few extra :-)

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    1. I seriously could have written a poem long enough to wallpaper our bathroom. I have SO many fun memories...all the ones you mentioned included!!

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  15. I actually had this assignment in one of my teaching courses at college. Then I ended up using it in my own classroom! I'll have to search around for my poem . . . i always loved reading these :)

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    1. I didn't know you were a teacher! Too funny.

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  16. I always adored this type of assignment in English class. In fact, I adored English in general. I was decent at science and math, but English was something else entirely. I came this close to going to school for literature, but ended up in engineering instead. Go figure.

    To be brief, I'd say I'm from:

    play houses and dress-up clothes
    cottonwood trees and pirate ship islands
    cow patties and pointe shoes
    the crab apple tree, erector sets, and Hope

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  17. I'm thinking this might be a really fun game to play with the kids one night as well. I bet you're an A+ teacher and all the kids adore you (what grade? Adore might be a strong word if they're on the older side). Let us know what they think

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  18. I read this post the other day but had to come back and tell you that my daughter's English teacher must have read the same thing you did. I nearly cried when I read what she wrote, I'm thinking I should have it printed professionally and framed.

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