Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tried it Tuesday: This I Believe


I'm so happy that Tried it Tuesday is back up and running weekly! I love this linky and the wonderful Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper. I get so many great ideas each Tuesday. 

For this week's Tried it Tuesday, I can't take credit for the fabulous idea and lesson but I just have to share because it turned out so well! My teaching partner Mrs.Wirtz over at Endeavors of Innovative Teaching took a poetry class this summer from the Ohio Writing Project. The ideas she has shared have been amazing. For this Tried it Tuesday, I'm sharing her idea for students to write a "This I Believe" poem.

The concept is simple. Students write a poem (or it could be an essay type piece) of things they believe. The idea is inspired by NPR's "This I Believe" segment. Before writing, I shared a short broadcast from NPR's "This I Believe" with my students. The segment I played featured kindergartener, Tarak McLain, sharing some of his beliefs. Tarak wrote 100 beliefs for his 100th day of school and shares 30 of his favorites on air. You can listen to the broadcast and view photos of Tarak here. My students were blown away by the ideas of a 6 year old! I then shared my version seen below and my teaching partner's version you can view here.

This I Believe 

I believe that we should tell the ones we love we care about them.
I believe that pets are a part of the family.
I believe that we should hold the door for others.
I believe that "please" and "thank you" are two of the most important words.
I believe that words are powerful.
I believe that my students can soar above my expectations.
I believe that mistakes lead to great discoveries.
I believe that you can never use too many exclamation points!!!
I believe that everyone has a special talent deep inside.
I believe that you should take pride in all that you do.
I believe that you should always put your best foot forward.
I believe that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
I believe that you never stop learning. 
I believe that fair is not always equal.
I believe in hard work and loving what you do! 

Then I challenged my students to create their own list of beliefs to turn into a poem. We wrote continuously for 10 - 15 minutes and then stopped to create our class poem. It gave me chills to hear some of the powerful things my 5th graders put into their poems. Everyone just read a single line as we went around the room without stopping. We had a few "silly" lines to laugh about but overall my students really did some deep thinking about themselves and what they believe.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from my students:

I believe one little act can change the world.

I believe everyone has some good inside.

I believe in Karma.

I believe that life isn't always fair.

I believe that we should respect and help others.

I believe we should be thankful for what we have.

I believe we can always make new friends.

I believe that friends come and go - and that's okay.

I believe in myself.

This activity took less than 20 minutes and was an easy nonthreatening way to launch poetry, writing, and a sense of community within the classroom. If you have a few spare minutes, share the broadcast with your students and listen to what they have to say. Sometimes the simplest statements have the most powerful impacts!

Hope everyone else had a great Tuesday!


  1. I LOVE this!! It was very inspirational to read these small lines. :) Thanks for linking up!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  2. This is such a great idea Amanda! Thanks for sharing it. Sounds like something I can and will fit in when we start poetry!

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