I Am – Anaphora Poem

In this community-building activity, students create “I am” poems. In doing so, they learn about anaphora poems, share about themselves, and learn about others.

I Am – Anaphora Poem

I Am – Anaphora Poem

Contributed by Elizabeth Argelia Leonard


In this community-building activity, students create “I am” poems. In doing so, they learn about anaphora poems, share about themselves, and learn about others.


  • To begin, share the definition of anaphora, a poem where the beginning of a line repeats.
    • For early childhood and upper elementary, it’s fun to have students repeat this as a call-and-response mantra: “the beginning of a line that repeats.”
  • Then share an example of an anaphora appropriate for the students’ age group.
  • Explain that an anaphora is a great way to write about themselves, and that the group is going to work on “I Am” poems where the beginning of the line to repeat will be “I am….”
  • Model some lines for the students on the board (or on their shared screen, if working remotely). Start out simple, “I am an artist. I am a person,” and then ask the students how to be more creative. “What if the line is ‘I am a shining sun,’ or what about ‘I am an ocean wave’?”
  • Ask students to share examples that have more details, that use “juicy” words and include colors and feelings.
  • Students should work individually for about five minutes to begin creating their own poems. Give specific guidance for how many lines students should write.
  • Invite students to think about a gesture for one or more of their lines. You can model adding a gesture to one of the lines generated during the brainstorm.
  • For the final five minutes of the activity, select a few students to share their poems and their gestures. (If you would like all students to share, this will take longer.)
  • During the sharing, other students can show support for their classmates. Before sharing begins, provide some guidance on this. For example, students can snap for their peers at the end of a poem, or during a poem when they hear something they really like.

Transition into Activity

Students can remain at their desks for the activity. The transition into the activity will be a reminder of some of the themes of poetry previously discussed, and an invitation to listen to a new poem before beginning some writing of their own.

Transition out of Activity

At the end of the sharing, invite everyone to return to their seats, either one by one or group by group, to be ready for the next activity.

Classroom Arrangement

Students can do the entire activity from their seats. For the sharing portion: individual students who share their work can do so at the front of the room and then return to their seats afterward, or the entire group could come together in the meeting area in a circle, either standing or sitting, based on what is available to the group.

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • The activity can be modified for different age groups. For example, the goal for the number of lines will be greater for older students than younger ones. The guiding theme can also be more expansive based on the students’ level.
  • Provide both visual and spoken definitions and instructions, as well as the modeled poems.
  • Have the example pre-printed so that students can have their own copies if this is something that’s helpful to them.
  • Bring pre-printed worksheets/graphic organizers for students to complete if it is easier for them to follow a template.
  • For students who are less verbal, invite drawing and/or gestures as an option to express what they want to write.
  • If students have limited mobility, and drawing and gesturing are not accessible to them, you may want to have pre-printed visuals or tactile objects/images that students can manipulate to express their meaning in other ways.

Possible Roles for Classroom Professionals

  • Participate in the group brainstorm and group share.
  • Model by writing a few of their own lines to share and support group engagement.
  • Support individual students who are less verbal or have limited access to writing or drawing.

Adjustments for Remote Instruction

This activity can be easily done remotely, since most of the work will be done individually by students. You can screen-share the definition, examples, and brainstorming components. If you feel that a worksheet is better for the students, you can share a Google Doc or Form with the Classroom Professionals in advance of the activity so that all students will have access.

Art forms


20 mins