Drawing from the Well

Chapter One - Digging the Well
Lesson 8 - "Where I'm From..."

Setting the Stage:
If there is only one writing exercise you choose to do with your class, this one should be it. The " Where I'm From" exercise brings out images and memories rich and specific to one's home and heart. Every year that we have used this exercise, it has clearly brought students and families closer together. Parents get to see how their children's observations, relationships and experiences while growing up have truly made an impact on their children's lives. We have also used this exercise for group work, with each group developing a "Where I'm From" poem. The group members picked their favorite lines and created one poem. These poems were then memorized and recited for the students' final presentation at the Community Celebration. (See Appendix/Samples and Activities)


The success of this exercise depends upon the specificity of each line. Encourage students to use real names, experiences, feelings and memories to build an emotional and representational poem about their own lives.


  • The students will write a poem with vivid details and images from their past.
  • The students will develop oral presentation skills.

NM State Standards: Language Arts II-A (7-5) II-C (7-1 & 8-3)

Materials and Resources needed:
Lesson by Linda Christensen with the poem "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon provided in the Appendix/Samples and Activities.

Duration: One class period or more in which to share poems.

Follow the lesson as written by Linda Christensen. It is excellent!

Student and Teacher Assessment:
This is a creative piece that builds community within the class and the teams. Encourage students through positive comments and urge them to dig deeper if their work is superficial. Include the poems in their working portfolios. This could also be done again at the end of the project for the EXHIBITION PORTFOLIO. The poem can also be used by the students to measure any changes in their views or increases in their knowledge.