TEACHER’S GUIDE

INTRODUCTION

A student’s school years are a critical time to develop pride in family and cultural herita...
I AM SOMEBODY



MATERIALS NEEDED

1. Audio and text of Linda Gorham’s piece “I Am Somebody” (There are slight differences...
I AM SOMEBODY

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Listen to or read Linda’s Story Poem

  2. Ask:

         a) What relatives did Linda re...
I AM SOMEBODY

   6. Students share their Story Poems. Have the students read with no comments from anyone
      afterward...
I AM SOMEBODY

CONCLUSION

By inviting stories and images of students’ homes and families into the classroom, our students...
I AM SOMEBODY




                                                   STUDENT HANDOUT
                                     ...
I AM SOMEBODY

I am somebody . . .

I am the daughter of a light-skinned African American woman and a dark skinned African...
I AM SOMEBODY

I am the niece of a woman who was an esteemed, tireless and much loved educator. When she
retired, in her h...
I AM SOMEBODY

They and I are related to and descended from people called:

African American

Black

Afro-American

Negro
...
I AM SOMEBODY




                                      STUDENT HANDOUT
                          Create Your Own “I Am So...
I AM SOMEBODY



HEAR your family/home language. What are the phrases you always heard growing up – the
praises, the warni...
I AM SOMEBODY



What values or beliefs did your parents or caretakers hold? Did they have spoken or unspoken
rules?



Wh...
I AM SOMEBODY



What anecdotes do you know about the challenges your caretakers faced? What obstacles did
they have to ov...
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I Am Somebody : Story Poems for Pride and Power

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African American storyteller Linda Gorham tells this upbeat and moving celebration of Linda’s family tree and heritage. The lesson plan guides teachers to invite “pride poems” from their students.

Download this free lesson plan with audio story excerpts at:
http://www.racebridgesforschools.com/wp/?p=307

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I Am Somebody : Story Poems for Pride and Power

  1. 1. TEACHER’S GUIDE INTRODUCTION A student’s school years are a critical time to develop pride in family and cultural heritage. But what if there is little or no logical connection from a student’s home and culture to the classroom? What if students feel the need to leave behind or lose whole parts of themselves to “fit in”? How much learning will go on? Of course, we emphasize academic skill in our schools but we also know that if emotional and social development isn’t also taking place, achievement suffers. Stated simply: students don’t learn if they don’t feel they belong. NOTE: Throughout this lesson, be sensitive to students who are not living with or in contact with parents and other blood relatives. Use words such as “caretakers” and “guardians” as well as family. Also give students the option of writing about role models in their lives – people from history or community members with whom they identify. As we are one human family, we “come from” these people, too. YOUR STORYTELLER This lesson plan and student handout is meant to be used in conjunction with the audio download and text of the story by Linda Gorham "I Am Somebody". Linda Gorham is a Chicago-based professional storyteller. Linda is available for school performances and adult groups. Go to: www.lindagorham © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 1 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  2. 2. I AM SOMEBODY MATERIALS NEEDED 1. Audio and text of Linda Gorham’s piece “I Am Somebody” (There are slight differences between the written text and the spoken version of this story. It is preferable to listen to the story, using the text as a way to remember story details while working in class. The MP3 track and the text are protected by copyright and are exclusively for educational use only.) 2. Student Handout: Create Your Own “I Am Somebody” Story Poem PURPOSE The purpose of this lesson is to: • Build pride in students for their family and background • Connect home life and classroom activities • Model how times of struggle become sources of strength • Appreciate the diversity and background of the other students • Gain practice in writing by creating poems and stories STANDARDS OF LEARNING While School Standards differ from state to state, some standardized goals this lesson plan covers are: Social Emotional Learning Standards • Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success • Use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships Language Arts Learning Standards • Read with understanding and fluency • Write to communicate for a variety of purposes. • Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations • Use the language arts to acquire, assess and communicate information Social Science Learning Standards • Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of the state, the United States and other nations • Connect past events to present realities © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 2 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  3. 3. I AM SOMEBODY INSTRUCTIONS 1. Listen to or read Linda’s Story Poem 2. Ask: a) What relatives did Linda remember? b) Her family overcame a number of challenges including prejudice against interracial marriage, discrimination in the military and a mother who died in childbirth. How did these hardships become a source of pride and strength for Linda? c) What images or pictures did she create that you can still remember? Why did they “stick” for you? d) Linda used humor such as describing cutting into fried chicken with a fork and burping up cod liver oil. How does the use of humor affect the tone of the Story Poem and our connection to it? 3. Have students fill out the handout Create Your Own “I Am Somebody” Story Poem. Tell them to write quickly using short phrases. They don’t have to worry about whole sentences, grammar or punctuation. Remind them that they are brainstorming - the idea is to create a quantity of responses, doing their best not to judge their first thoughts. To make it fun, time the students giving them five minutes to remember as many sensory details and anecdotes as possible. 4. Have students read whatever parts of their lists they’d like as well as share one or two of their anecdotes and challenges. As they share, ask them to move from general statements to the specific. For example, if they talk about their grandmother’s flowers ask, “What kind of flowers?” They might answer, “Daffodils.” Remark, “Oh, that’s more specific. I can see daffodils.” If they say “Magazine”, ask, “What magazine? What was the title?” Tell the students that whenever they can cause a movie to run in their audience’s imagination (in this case a sense-surround movie with tastes, smells, textures, sights and sounds) their Story Poem becomes that much more engaging and memorable. (If need be, you can do another round of 5 minute brainstorming. Or this can be a two session class where they go home and ask the people they live with for memories or page through an old scrapbook for more images.) 5. Ask students to write their Story Poem starting and ending with the phrase “I Am Somebody”. They should have the phrase “I Am Somebody” at least five more times throughout their poem. (These Story Poems will most likely be shorter than Linda’s piece – approximately 1-2 pages) © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 3 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  4. 4. I AM SOMEBODY 6. Students share their Story Poems. Have the students read with no comments from anyone afterwards. Simply state, “Okay, let’s take a moment to let that Story Poem sink in. When did a movie start to run in your minds? When could you see, taste, smell, touch or hear an object and see or hear a person? When did you feel moved or felt like you could identify? When were you curious and wanted to hear more?” Then, the next person reads. 7. After all the students have read, ask, “What images stood out most for you and were easiest to remember? Why?” “How did these attributes or experiences of peoples’ families, caretakers or role models affect the reader’s sense of pride in him or herself?” 8. Have students rewrite their Story Poems. Tell them it’s okay to “borrow” ideas from things they heard in other students’ pieces as long as they make the images and examples their own. For example, someone’s story about what their family ate or an obstacle a relative overcame may trigger a similar memory in their mind but it would be written with their own specific sensory details and experiences. 9. Individual students read their Story Poem and the class does a short feedback on each piece. It is highly recommended that the feedback stay on the positive only, “What images or stories stood out for you? What did you like? What did you identify with? What moved you?” The sequence of instruction, then, is: • Brainstorm images and anecdotes • Read lists out loud • Brainstorm images and anecdotes again • Write Story Poems • Read Story Poems and debrief them as a group • Students rewrite their Story Poems • Students read their Story Poems again • Debrief individually LESSON EXTENSIONS Create an art and literary exhibit. Students scan family, caretaker and/or role models photos or cut out pictures from magazines and make a collage. Their Story Poems are mounted in the middle of the photos or the scanned photos are used as a frame around the poems. (Or students can create Power Point slide presentations with their poems taped or read live.) Have students create similar “I Am Somebody” Story Poems around the theme of their neighborhoods or their school. © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 4 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  5. 5. I AM SOMEBODY CONCLUSION By inviting stories and images of students’ homes and families into the classroom, our students receive the message that who they are matters. Feeling cared for themselves is the prerequisite to teaching and expecting them to care for each other and, ultimately, to become involved and caring citizens who value the rich diversity of this country. RESOURCES For an article on writing exercises that will make exploring poetry and narrative with teens painless go to: http://classroom-activities.suite101.com/article.cfm/writing_exercises_that_teenagers_will_enjoy The American Library Association has a list of resources on teaching poetry and narrative plus contests that your students can enter. Go to: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/teenreading/trw/trw2003/resources.cfm © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 5 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  6. 6. I AM SOMEBODY STUDENT HANDOUT Story Transcript Note: While the transcripts of the stories follow the main narrative points and meaning of the stories as they are spoken by the storyteller, there are some differences between the written text below and the spoken versions. Storytelling is a living art and changes from telling to telling. This text is a guide. ________________________________________________________________________ I Am Somebody 2009 By Storyteller Linda Gorham I am somebody . . . I am the daughter of a man who insisted that dinner be served at six o’clock sharp. He also required that each family member had a proper place setting – fork, knife and spoon – whether they were needed or not. On weekends, my father would wake us up by singing revelry. He believed children should get up early, eat a good breakfast, and be productive every day. And, in his mind, the job of a child was to get good grades, to go to college, and ultimately to have a secure career. And very oddly, my father believed that pizza and fried chicken should be eaten with a knife and fork. If you have ever tried eating a fried chicken wing with a knife and a fork, you may understand what my family calls the great 1969-fried chicken rebellion – but that’s another story. My father told me his proudest day was when I turned 18 and he took me to vote in my first national election. We had to get up early to be there well before the polls opened at 7:00 AM. We were first in line as he always was. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he stepped aside to let me, his oldest daughter vote first. I’ve never missed an election since. © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 6 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  7. 7. I AM SOMEBODY I am somebody . . . I am the daughter of a light-skinned African American woman and a dark skinned African American man. They married in 1949. Today most of us understand that Black people come in all shades and all colors. Back then many thought my parents’ union was an interracial marriage – something that was very rare and very taboo at the time. It was many years before I realized how hard it was for them, especially my mother when she went out with her three brown-skinned daughters. I was an adult before I realized her distain for people who judged her without ever getting to know her. I am somebody . . . I am the daughter of a career Army officer. My father was proud to be among five African Americans in the 1946 graduation class from Officers Candidate School. That pride turned to utter disappointment when he learned that the five new Black officers were not allowed to attend the graduation party because it was going to be held in a “white only” officers club. I am somebody . . . I am the daughter of a woman who believed that two of the important keys to a successful marriage were having soft feet and long hair. I’ve been married twenty-eight years – all of them with soft feet. Only two or three of them with long hair but it hardly mattered. Our marriage is strong. My husband John has a great outlook on life and the most contagious laugh in the world. Plus he’s a wonderful man and a fantastic father. I’m proud to say we have two fine sons who are full of integrity, intelligence, wit and potential. I can’t wait to see how they take on the world. I am somebody . . . I am the niece of a man who won two gold medals in track in the 1952 Olympics – the 200-meter relay and the 400-meter relay. Four years later, my uncle returned to win a silver medal in the 200-meter relay. He was the first and the only African American man to have a gala ticker-tape parade in Jersey City, New Jersey. I am somebody . . . © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 7 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  8. 8. I AM SOMEBODY I am the niece of a woman who was an esteemed, tireless and much loved educator. When she retired, in her honor, an entire wing of a new high school was named after her. I am somebody . . . I am the granddaughter of a feisty, matriarchal woman. She held a family together by instilling strong morals and values, and . . . during the one year my sisters and I lived with her, she made us take a teaspoon of cod liver oil twice a week in the wintertime. If you’ve never tasted cod liver oil, let me tell you, I rather chew on the head of a 4 day old fish. Swallowing it is horrific. The worse part was that it keeps coming back all day as horrible burps. I am somebody . . . I am the granddaughter of a Georgia man who had a white father and a black mother. His mother died in childbirth. His father was the man who owned the land his family was forced to work and live on. It was not a consensual relationship. We are grateful to the mostly caring aunts and friends who raised him. And we know that as a teenager he left Georgia and migrated north to start a new life where he became a wonderful father and grandfather. I am somebody . . . I am the granddaughter of another man about whom I don’t know much because he died young. But I do know that he saved up to take his large family to the circus. As they stood among the crowds waiting to get in, he excitedly held his family’s tickets high in the air. The tickets were snatched. They never saw the circus. But it’s okay . . . now I have a story to tell about him. I am somebody . . . I am the great-granddaughter of a full blooded Mohawk Indian who I’m told, wore a feather in her long straight jet black hair. I am the product of a family who had extreme intelligence, potential, creativity and wit. My family did amazing things often under difficult circumstances. But they were limited in their opportunities because they grew up where they were judged, not by the extent of their knowledge, but by the color of their skin. © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 8 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  9. 9. I AM SOMEBODY They and I are related to and descended from people called: African American Black Afro-American Negro Colored And Slave. I don’t know all of their stories, but I have learned many. I feel their pain, their struggles, their angst, and their fierce determination to survive, sometimes against all odds. I am grateful that they survived, grew strong, and left a legacy of which I am proud. And ironically, I am also the multi-generational granddaughter of Richard M. Stockton, proud signer of the Declaration of Independence, the very document that should have forbid slavery. I am somebody . . . © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 9 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  10. 10. I AM SOMEBODY STUDENT HANDOUT Create Your Own “I Am Somebody” Story Poem We all have family members, caretakers or other role models with whom we identify. We are related through blood or experience, even if that experience is only that we have heard or read about these people. Feeling connected to others, knowing that we come from people who have individual quirks, habits, beliefs and challenges, lets us know that we, too, are complex and unique. Whatever we consider our home and our family - whether it’s one person or one dozen, whether it’s stable or temporary or whether it’s a happy story or a difficult one - whenever we claim the humor and strength of our past for ourselves we have the opportunity to develop a sense of pride in who we are today. We come to appreciate how extraordinary we are! There is no one else on earth with your combination of inherited and chosen qualities and circumstances. You are somebody! SEE your home/family faces. What relatives or caretakers did you grow up with? Do you have siblings? What are your relatives’ or caretakers’ names? What do they look like? Who are some relatives or caretakers you don’t see anymore? © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 10 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  11. 11. I AM SOMEBODY HEAR your family/home language. What are the phrases you always heard growing up – the praises, the warnings, and the complaints? What were the sounds of your house/apartment growing up? What music was played? What sounds did you hear outside in the yard or the empty lot next door? Was there the sound of a train in the distance? A tree scratching against your bedroom window? A creaky floor? SMELL your home’s cooking or flowers or pets. Smell can really trigger memory. Can you remember the smell of a medicine you didn’t like or a toy you loved? Did people in your family or in your environment always wear a certain perfume or cologne? TASTE your home’s food. What are your everyday foods and your foods for special gatherings or holidays? What do the people you live with or visit snack on? Did you ever eat or taste something you shouldn’t? How did the people who took care of you react? TOUCH home objects. What is the texture of the couch or chair you sit in the most? Does one of your parents have a favorite chair? What does your mattress or cushions or floor you sleep on feel like? Does your grandmother have extra soft skin? Did your Dad used to hug you as a child and you remember the feel of his beard or stubble on your skin? © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 11 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  12. 12. I AM SOMEBODY What values or beliefs did your parents or caretakers hold? Did they have spoken or unspoken rules? What about you – what values or beliefs do you hold? What feelings do you experience? Fill in the blank: I am inspired when: I am scared when: I am happy (or sad) when: I am scared when: I struggle with: I believe: I think: What in your family, culture or environments are you most proud? I am proud of: I am proud to be from people who have: © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 12 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com
  13. 13. I AM SOMEBODY What anecdotes do you know about the challenges your caretakers faced? What obstacles did they have to overcome? What achievements – large or small – did they accomplish? Fill in the blank: I am the son/daughter/sister/brother/niece/nephew of _________ who: How did these people in your past and present help to produce the person you are today? Because of them I: Instructions: 1. Using some of the ideas from this brainstorm of the sights, smells, textures, tastes and sounds, stories and challenges of your unique background write your own Story Poem beginning with the phrase “I Am Somebody”. 2. Repeat the phrase “I Am Somebody” at least five more times throughout your poem. Using this repetitive phrase will give your Story Poem momentum and form. 3. After the phrase “I Am Somebody” write, “I am…” and fill in the sentence. Examples from Linda’s Story Poem are: “I am the daughter of a woman…” “I am the daughter of a man…” “I am the granddaughter of man who…” You can add other relationships such as “I am the brother of…” “I am the neighbor of…” “I am the descendant of…” “I am the one who identifies with…” or “I am the one who is inspired by…” Then, go on to describe an image of this person, a belief they held and/or an anecdote of an accomplishment this person achieved or a challenge they faced. 4. State what you are proud of and how these people from your past and present relate to the person you are today. 5. End with the phrase “I Am Somebody”. © 2010 RaceBridges For Schools. This lesson plan is part of an initiative for educators called RaceBridges For Schools, 13 which seeks to provide tools for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities. This lesson plan may be freely used, reproduced and distributed for educational purposes as long as this copyright information is displayed intact. Story excerpts copyrighted by Linda Gorham (www.LindaGorham.com) used with permission. Info: www.racebridgesforschools.com

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