I Am – Anaphora Poem

Goal: Students will learn about themselves and each others, using a new form of poetry - Anaphora Poems.

I Am – Anaphora Poem
  • task

I Am – Anaphora Poem

Contributed by Elizabeth Argelia Leonard


Students will learn about themselves and each others, using a new form of poetry – Anaphora Poems.


  • To begin share the definition of anaphora, a poem where the beginning of a line repeats.
    • For EC and UE, 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 that meets the age group of the students.
  • 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 for students to share examples that have more details, that use “juicy” words and include colors and feelings.
  • Students work individually for about 5 minutes to begin to create their own poems. TA should give specific guidance for how many lines students should write.
  • Invite students to think about a gesture for one or more of their lines. TA can model adding a gesture to one of the lines generated during the brainstorm.
  • For the final 5 minutes of the activity, selected students will be invited 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 about 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 number of lines will be greater for older students than EC. 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, TA can 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, TA may want to have pre-printed visuals or tactile objects/images that students can manipulate to express their meaning in other ways.

Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals

  • Participate in the group brainstorming and group sharing.
  • 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.

Remote Adaptation

This activity can be easily done remotely since most of the work will be done individually by students. The TA can screen-share the definition, examples and brainstorming components. If the TA feels that a worksheet is better for the students, they can share a google doc or google form with the classroom professionals in advance of the activity so that all students are given access to the form/doc.