Who Am I?

This brief poem imparts a big message about our place in the world.

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Learning Objective

Students will understand main idea and identify examples of repetition in this short poem about being a small part of a larger whole.

Featured Skill

Main Idea

Key Skills

Main idea, repetition, interpreting text, word choice

Featured Skill

This article and lesson support the following standards:

Common Core anchor standards: R.1, R.2, R.5, W.3, SL.1
TEKS: 3.2, 3.5, 3.6, 3.18b, 3.29, 3.30

Teaching Materials

Activity Sheets

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Close Reading
Poetry Kit: Write Your Own Poem

Lesson plan

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Set a Purpose for Reading (10 minutes)
• Direct students to look at the illustration that accompanies the poem. Ask where it takes place, what the girl is doing, and how they think she feels.
• Read aloud the Main Idea bubble for the class. This poem, while short, carries a rather complex message. Explaining the poem’s main idea to students before they read it will help them better comprehend it.
• Ask a student to read the Repetition bubble for the class. Prepare students to look for examples of repetition in the poem. You can point out that repetition comes from the word repeat.

Close-Reading and Critical-Thinking Questions (15 minutes, activity sheet online)
• Which parts of nature speak to the narrator of this poem? (interpreting text) trees, sky, sea, grass, sand, rocks, wind, and rain
• What do these parts of nature ask the narrator? What do they tell her? (interpreting text) The trees, sky, sea, grass, sand, and rocks ask who she is. The wind and rain tell the narrator that she’s someone small . . . but a piece of it all.  
• Why do you think so many things ask her the same question? (repetition) This is the author’s way of emphasizing how important it is.
• What do the wind and rain mean when they tell the narrator she’s “someone small . . . but a piece of it all”? (main idea) She means that even though she’s just one small person, she’s an important part of nature, just like all the elements that are speaking to her.

Teaching Extras

Important questions

Felice Holman’s book of poems, Top of My Voice and Other Poems, is full of poems like “Who Am I?” that will leave your students asking important questions.

Using audio in the classroom

Are your students listening to the audio versions of our poems? This post, from our blog, Storyworks Ideabook, offers great ways to use audio in your classroom.

Additional nature-themed poems

Our Education Editor, Rebecca Leon, is a big fan of this book of beautiful nature-themed poems: The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination. We bet you’ll find lots more poems in it that speak to your students!

Poetic repetition

Since this poem relies on repetition, you can share examples of other poets who specialize in this technique, such as Shel Silverstein, Judith Viorst, and Jack Prelutsky.