Five Minute Poem (Where I’m From)

Topics and Competencies

Awareness of Social Identities, Icebreakers

Grade Level

Middle GradesHigh SchoolCollege/Adult

Subject Area Integration

English/Language Arts


Christy M. Byrd


Adapted from The Five Minute Poem, LSA Inclusive Teaching Initiative, University of Michigan.

Date Created/Most Recently Revised

June 2021


20 minutes


Appropriate for multiple settings

Type and Level of Engagement

Individual Work, High Engagement


Learning Objectives

  • Get to know one another
  • Reflect on how our past experiences shape us
  • Appreciate the influences of social identity membership on one’s personal identity and interactions with others


  • Paper and writing utensils


  • Students will use a template to write a poem about where they are from. The format is inspired by poems were inspired by the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon. Note that some students may feel uncomfortable reflecting on past experiences and some may not want to share their poems in a public forum.
  • Provide students with a template and give them time to write their poems. Alternatively, you can allow students to write freely without a template.
  • Students can share their poems in pairs or to a class website.


  • Have students submit their poems to the I Am From Project
  • This lesson plan by Welcoming Schools includes another template and is based around the book Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers and the video “I Am Me” by Willow Smith.



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