Engaged uniformed male student engages in classroom discussion.
Lesson

Making Myself Proud

Students will read and analyze a poem that focuses on what it means to practice celebrating identity, both by loving who you are and by imagining who you can be.

Published:

At a Glance

Lesson

Language

English — US

Subject

  • English & Language Arts

Grade

6–7

Duration

One 50-min class period
  • Culture & Identity

Overview

About This Lesson

In this lesson, students will think about what it means to take pride in who you are, who you are becoming, and where you belong. The resources and activities in this lesson invite close reading and opportunities for students to consider how poetry can captivate an audience and inspire change.

How do we become who we want to be in the world?

  • What is self-image and why is it important?
  • How do I take pride in who I am and who I might become?

Develop a Sense of Civic Agency

  • Recognize that their decisions matter, impact others, and shape their communities and the world. 
  • Develop the tools, efficacy, and voice to envision and enact positive changes in their personal lives, communities, and world.

This lesson is designed to fit into One 50-min class period and includes the following materials, available in English and Spanish:

  • Reading: ”You Get Proud by Practicing” by Laura Hershey
  • Handout: “You Get Proud by Practicing” Connection Questions

Preparing to Teach

A Note to Teachers

Before teaching this lesson, please review the following information to help guide your preparation process.

The first activity in this lesson uses the Project Zero thinking routine Who Am I? Explore, Connect, Identify, Belong. Project Zero offers the following important context for this thinking routine: “It is not unusual for people, systems, objects or ideas to be judged or given labels without others really knowing much about them. This routine encourages students to reserve judgment, take time to find out more about what they see and/or hear, and explore more deeply and broadly other people, and develop greater understanding of similarities and differences.”

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Lesson Plan

Activities

Begin class by having students engage with the Project Zero thinking routine Who Am I? Explore, Connect, Identify, Belong. Have students respond to the following prompts in their journals. Let them know that they will not be sharing what they write.

  • Explore: Who am I? How has my identity developed?
  • Connect: Who am I connected to, and how do those people support me?
  • Identify: If I wanted others to know who I am, what would identify me? Does everyone have more than one identity?
  • Belong: Where do I think I belong? 
  • Introduce disability rights activist Laura Hershey by playing the opening minutes of the Poetry Foundation’s You Get Proud by Practicing podcast episode, which includes Hershey reading an excerpt from her poem. Play the podcast from 00:00 to 02:17. Then distribute copies of the You Get Proud by Practicing reading for students to read and discuss.
  • Read the poem out loud yourself or together as a class. This is a long poem, so choose the best Read Aloud strategy to meet your unique classroom needs. 
  • Invite students to make personal connections to the text by rereading the poem to themselves and choosing a favorite line for a journal reflection. The following prompt can help get them started. Then have them share their ideas in a quick pair-share. 

 The line that stands out to me is _______________ because . . . 

  • . . . of something about who I am. (What in particular?)
  • . . . it reflects human nature or how people are in the world. (What human characteristics or ways of being?)
  • . . . of how the poet expressed the idea. (What does the poet do that makes you feel this way?) 1
  • 1David Perkins, Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 2014), 126.

After students have had time to reflect on the poem and share their ideas, divide the class into small groups. Pass out the “You Get Proud by Practicing” Connection Questions handout and give groups time to respond to the two questions together. Then discuss the second question as a class.

Close the lesson by asking students to reread their Explore, Connect, Identify, and Belong journal response from the beginning of class. Then ask them to reflect on one of the following prompts in a private journal entry:

  • What is one way you are going to practice being proud? 
  • Freewrite about or sketch what is on your mind or in your heart. 

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