Brighten up your room with this “I am” Art Project

A few weeks ago I was over at the amazing Runde’s Room, and I LOVED this project she posted where she incorporated poetry into an art lesson.  It reminded me of a self esteem-building “I am” poetry lesson that I had done in the past, and I decided I had to combine the two right away!  Thanks again to Jen for inspiring this idea!

“I am” Poetry Artclose-up-pics
In order to write their ‘I am’ poems and complete this art project, students normally have to come up with a lot of adjectives describing themselves.  But I often have students that have trouble coming up with enough adjectives, or they have poor self esteem and have trouble coming up with any nice words about themselves.  To solve this problem I start this lessons by doing this:
1. Give each student a plain white piece of computer or white construction paper, and have them write their first name in large letters in the middle, and circle it. (sorry I forgot to take a pic of this part!)
2. Explain that each student will pass their paper to the right every time I say PASS.
3. With each pass, students will have a new sheet of paper with a new classmates name.  They are to write whatever adjectives they can think of to describe this person.
4.  The rules are: they cannot write any adjective that are already on the paper, and everything has to be positive.
5.  After all of the papers have been passed around, the original students get their papers back.
And that’s it!  Be prepared for some excitement.  You would have thought it was Christmas the way these students were SO excited to read their adjectives.  They were lighting up, and laughing, and overall it was a GREAT self esteem booster!
On to the Art…
Now that the students have a full sheet of adjectives that describe them, they can choose their favorites, or add their own, and these words will serve as the words for the I AM poem that they will write.  Here are the steps for completing the art lesson:
1. Handout an 11×14 white piece of construction paper to each student.  Have them draw wavy lanes across the paper from left to right.  I left it up to them how many lines they wanted to draw, but let them know that they shouldn’t touch.
  2. Set up a painting station.  You could handout painting supplies to every student, but I found it much easier to set up a painting station where four or five students could paint at once.  While the rest of the class waited their turn, they kept busy by working on their October early finisher packets.
3.  Students paint in the wavy lines with blocks of bright colors.  The bright colors worked better than dark colors, which didn’t show the sharpie as well later.  Tip: Place some butcher paper on the floor around the room- Students can lay their paintings on them to let them dry.
P.S.  Students should not write in the words until AFTER the painting is done.  But I was using this example to show my class how the letters would look between the lines, and that’s why you see some words written on there before painting. 🙂
4. After the paint is dry, hand out a black sharpie to each student.  Students should use the sharpies to divide each section of paint with a nice smooth black line.  Then they use the sharpies to write in “I AM” poems.
Directions for writing the poems: Each should start with the words “I am..” then they fill in as many words as they have room for.  Then the last word should be their name!
And VOILA!  You now have bright and beautiful artwork to seriously brighten up your room!
pics-up-close-2 paintings-above-computers


  1. Hi there,
    Those are super cool and add so much color and dimension to your room. Very creative! I just found you – love your blog title. I’m your newest follower. Happy Halloween!
    Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After

  2. So fun! Hoping to do this on our next Fun Friday for our classroom community builder. My kids will love it! Did you use tempera paint?

    • Hello! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, we just used tempera paint and I tried to choose bright colors! If you post your results on your blog, come back and leave your link so I can see your final products!

  3. This is so awesome! I will be using this with my self-esteem girls group today!!

  4. I am a Speech Lang Pathologist, and I love incorporating affirmations into daily activities. I am currently teaching adjectives so this is perfect! Thanks for the idea!

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