Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Best Part of Me

We have been experimenting with some interesting entries in our notebooks. I wanted to share. Last week, I borrowed an idea from Penny Kittle's website called Writing Beside Poetry.

We watched Sarah Kay perform her poem, "Hands" and we created our own hands and filled them with stories and memories. 


I was shocked at how well this worked for my sixth graders. I struggled with it, more than they did. The more I stayed with it and the more we shared, my hands filled up with ideas and stories. 

From there we talked about other stories we carried with us. I posed this question to my sixth graders, "What is the best part of you?" I shared that I liked my crazy, curly hair and I often got compliments on my smile. Students listed parts of themselves that they loved.

We read poems from the lovely book, "The Best Part of Me". I shared the photographs and the poems. Students got to work scribbling down the best parts of themselves. It struck me how often we overlook the parts we love and focus on the parts we don't like.

Their poems were thoughtful, vulnerable, funny, and creative! Students wrote about their eyes, hair, legs, eyelashes, brains. They had ten minutes to write, but the poems will stay with me forever.

The pages in their notebooks continue to inspire and surprise me. I'm so proud of the risks they are taking and the work they are putting into their words. They are writers. 

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.


  1. So many truths in your words today. I'm so glad you did this activity so these kids could focus on and spend time appreciating what they like about themselves. Very powerful & important! We could all learn from this.

  2. I honestly wish I was a student in your class! Thanks for sharing the resources/mentor texts in your slice. I am sure your students produced some amazing writing and I look forward to seeing what you share. ~Amy

  3. I love the way you wove the writing prompt into a poetry journey for your kids. I'd love to be a student in your class, Michelle!

  4. Love all that you did with this, Michelle. I bet your students did love writing about themselves. I love your curly hair, too, BTW. In the past I've gotten a perm because I envied those with the lovely natural curls! The poem is terrific!

  5. Wow! What an opportunity for your kiddos. I agree with Tara I wish I was a kid in your classroom. And yay! for curly hair!

  6. I have seen many examples of "the best part of me" and every time think I would like to do it with my kids. Haven't done it yet. Glad to read that you tried and the poems turned out great. One year my students did "these hands"- loved this result was beautiful.

  7. Love this activity. Thanks for sharing what is working. Your hair is awesome!

  8. Love those hands, especially the one with the words swirling from each finger. What great writing about the best part of me. I agree, your hair is so much like you!

  9. These are fabulous!!! They got me thinking about an art lesson early in my career with middle school kids sketching their hands. I got in a bit of hot water because one kid drew a gang sign. These are so much better than that!


Please share your thoughts. I love comments!