Reflection: Shared Expectations Welcome to Biology Class! Getting to Know Each Other Through Poetry - Section 5: Presenting "Where I'm From"


My class just completed this activity and I felt that the students were highly engaged in every aspect of their poem creation and encouraging of each other as they presented to the class.  Students loved sharing their artifacts, were brave about presenting to the group our first two weeks of school, and the responses from the audience were a sign that we are on the right path to building community, empathy and respect.  I loved that many students shared serious moments, funny pictures, and even spoke in their home languages during their presentations.  

This also turned out to be a great conversation starter for Back to School Night!  Students told their parents that their poems were on the wall and parents spent time asking me about them and reading them for themselves.  I can't get over just how much I learned about my students through this activity, things that could have taken weeks or months to get to in past years.  In addition, the poem sharing allowed us to start to build bridges between student groups and with me as students recognized kindred spirits, common interests, and shared experiences with their peers.  I will absolutely continue to work with this activity in the future. 

In addition to community building, the exercise provided an authentic way for students and I to come up with a list of best practices for public speaking.  I asked students to choose one to focus on and it was very clear that they did this.  In most cases, the audience could call out which of our four public speaking rubric criterion (speed/enunciation, volume, eye contact, and posture/stance) the presenter was working on!

Take a look at the short video reflection I created about my plans to do this activity again next year.  


  The hidden benefits of this lesson!
  Shared Expectations: The hidden benefits of this lesson!
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Welcome to Biology Class! Getting to Know Each Other Through Poetry

Unit 1: Unit 1: Introduction to our Classroom and The Scope of Biology
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to utilize pre- and creative writing techniques to create and share an original "Where I'm From" poem.

Big Idea: Build classroom community, practice public speaking, and introduce group sharing norms by brainstorming, creating, and sharing student poems!

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