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The Stories of Us Curriculum

Storytelling x LINC Curriculum - Week 2

Objectives:

  • To question the unidimensional understanding of ‘home’ as a spot on a map and describe a more multidimensional picture of home and where we are from.
  • To give participants an opportunity to experiment with poetry as a form of writing. 

Session Flow:

  • Oral Storytelling Circle (full class, in small groups, or in partners)
    • Example Prompt: What is an early memory you have of your childhood?
  • Participants populate Home Mindmap with responses to I am from… Writing Prompts (Individual)
    • Participants can draw or write their responses to the I am from…Writing Prompts on their Home Mindmap.
  • Participants pick their 10 favourite responses to the prompts and make them into an I am from…Poem.
  • Participants share I am from… Poems (full class, in small groups, or in partners)

Activity Templates:

  • See I am from…Writing Prompts below
  • See Home Mindmap Template below
  • See I am from…Poem Template below
  • See Examples of I am from…Poems below

Facilitator Notes

  • Teachers should review all of the I am from…Writing Prompts with the group before allowing time for individual writing onto the Home Mindmap. As you are reviewing them, it is helpful to model responses to some of the prompts to give the students a sense of how they might answer them (e.g. I am from…the smell of fried onions cooking, I am from…the ocean breeze, I am from a place where men and women were treated differently, etc.)
    • Pre-exercise: Where possible, teachers may want to spend a preceding class reading through I am from…Poems of other newcomers (see below for examples), to prime the students for writing their own poems.
  • It is important to acknowledge that the idea of ‘home’ may not hold positive associations for all, at all times, and encourage students to express themselves without placing value judgements on their experiences.
  • In some classes, students find it helpful to partner up and discuss their answers to the prompts verbally before writing their responses. This form of sharing can be helpful in eliciting deeper responses as students build on each other’s ideas.
  • Students might experience some dissonance when writing their I am from…poem, in cases where the lines of the poem don’t make sense when taken literally. E.g. “I am from coconuts and pineapples” → Participant: “I’m not from those fruits, we just eat them back home.” In these instances, it is useful to explain to the students that poetry is different than prose and there are fewer rules around grammar and more freedom to express oneself artistically and with imagery.

Aura’s Poem

I am from a place where heat comes from the land, its people, and conflict.
I am from a protected home open wide to the sea breeze and the salty ocean calling me to swim.
I am from my mother’s delicious kitchen while reading to her from my English studies.
I am from a real community of family, neighbours, friends, where they would give you their shirt, if need be.
I am from where I pretended to speak French in front of an array of my brother’s books.
I am from here – where for many years I fought to make a home, create a family, but never completely belonged.
I am from my present home – a lovely cozy apartment where I relentlessly build what I’ve lost. 

Sarah’s Poem

I am from a place where people are happy and poor.
I am from coconut trees and river boats.
I am from rickshaw rides in the monsoon.
I am from anti-trust.
I am from heartbreaks.
I am from a place where I can’t walk alone in the streets after dark.
I am from sunrises that look beautiful no matter how many times I see them.
I am from my grandmother’s cooking <3

Gregory’s Poem

I am from a place that never accepted me.
I am from a quiet place that was often loud.

Sanah’s Poem

I am from planet earth.
I am from a prideful culture that I don’t always agree with.
I am from a faith that gets me through each day.
I am from loudness.
I am from two very complicated and interesting people.
I am from a home I hesitate to leave.
I am from a place where I’ve grown comfortable.
I am from a home where family comes first.

Jackleen’s Poem

I am from where the dreams are still green.
I am from the universe where I can love you.
I am from the planet of peace with no borders.
I am from the jained words and struggle to be free.
I am from where mothers are left alone waiting for phone calls from their children who are far away.
I am from my childhood garden.
I am from the future of words and action.
I am from my untold story.
I am from the stories of us.

Mariana’s Poem

I am from a wonderful city full of charms.
I am from a city blessed by God.
I am from a city whose natural beauty is exceptional.
I am from a city that has Christ, the Redeemer, with his open arms blessing everyone from all places.
I am from a city I used to like.
I am from a city destroyed by the greed of politicians.
I am from a city destroyed by the violence of drug dealers.
I am from a besieged city.
I am from a city which could be the best in the world.
I am from Rio de Janeiro, a city destroyed by human beings.

Carina’s Poem

I am from an ancient world filled with many meticulously designed gardens, stone bridges, and pagodas.
I am from an elegant arched entrance to my home of birth.
I am from Ping Tan, which is a type of storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect.
I am from lots of unforgettable surprises my mom gave me.
I am from my childhood paradise, the Suzhou university, where I painted from nature.
I am from the sweet-scented osmanthus in autumn and lotus in the summer.
I am from the smell of noodles with hot red or white soup and fresh meat mooncakes.
I am from “someday this pain will be useful to you.” From a big heart as my parents have.
I am from “Sailor Moon”, “Doraemon”, and Disneyland where I am deeply attracted to these roguish charming characters.
I am from silent screams and re-written dreams which give me resilience to move forward.

Sanaa’s Poem

I am from a big place in my eyes.
I am from a sweet family.
I am from a country which is the cradle of civilization.
I am from mornings that are full of life.
I am from green land, but bad people have broken it.
I am from a family that has now been spread around the world.
I am from a country that became a story around the world.
I am from strong children who are not afraid of the helicopters that flew over Syria.
I am from the luck that has brought me here.
I am from hopes of going back home.

Shivi’s Poem

I am from a country called “Golden Bird”, before the British came and took our gold and Kohinoor diamond. The diamond is now part of the British Crown Jewels.
I am from my forefathers who taught us to resolve our conflicts with words, not weapons.
I am from 18 official languages, 114 languages, 216 mother tongues, and 900 dialects.
I am from a diverse country, a fact that is visibly prominent in its climate, people, culture, cinema, cuisine, music, dance, and art.
I am from a place where guests are gods.
I am from Indian weddings, which are a celebration of union, not only of the bride and groom, but also of two families, maybe two cultures or religions too.
I am from herbs and spices which are famous around the world.
I am from a tradition of touching elders’ feet and receiving their blessings.
I am from the young and old living in harmony in a joint family system, which teaches the value of sharing, caring, and tolerance.
I am from where people believe in karma, previous births, and that charity should be anonymous.

Tuba’s Poem

I am from a city which has seven hills.
I am from a city that spans two continents.
I am from a city that has been home to many civilizations.
I am from an admirable city which has magnificent Boshphorus bridges.
I am from a city which has inspired many writers and poets.
I am from a city in which the first shopping city in the world was founded.
I am from a city which had the first church in history.
I am from a city where you can find fascinating restaurants at every corner.
I am from a city where museums, churches, palaces, mosques, bazaars, and synagogues stand side-by-side.
I am from a place that is a symbol of tolerance and the fraternity of religions.
I am from the hometown of cats.
I am from a big and loving family of more than 45 people.

Jinny’s Poem

I am from an open and energetic city called Shanghai. People call her the “Magic Capital.”
I am from a busy city. People are almost never walking on the road, but running on their way.
I am from a city which has its special local language. However, as the city has become more multicultural, more and more kids have lost their ability to speak the local Shanghai language.
I am from a crowded city. Sometimes I miss its noise. Sometimes I feel happy to have escaped from it.
I am from a city with a lot of opportunities, but sometimes you need to give up a big part of your personal time and space in order to have a good career.
I am from an intellectual old lady, my grandma. She told me that great spouses are excellent partners – one is a broom, and the other is a dustpan.
I am from a lovely family. My parents showed me that you can overcome any difficulty with someone who really loves you.
I am from an honest family. My parents told me to be a virtuous and independent woman. Thanks to them, I know my way.

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