A We Belong Poem Template for Classrooms

My biggest hopes for We Belong are that it gets used to spark good discussions and to create community.

So I’ve created a template for you to use with your students to write a classroom or family poem. I used this template at the book launch and on some recent author visits with K‑1 classes. We used it as a quick activity in those instances, but I think it’s worth a deeper dive. Even in a 10-minute draft, students shared things like, “I have PKU,” and “I don’t have as many toys as most of my friends have.” It was so powerful to affirm to kids that we all have things that make us feel like we don’t belong. Saying them aloud makes them feel a little less big and embarrassing. Repeating the things that make kids feel less than or other in the context of a poem this celebrates how much we all belong felt like I was just giving a giant hug to every kid who needed one. No, it felt like we were all giving each other a giant hug. It was just like a wave of acceptance rolling around the room. I was so grateful for the chance to share with kids that they are worthy and wonderful no matter what things make them feel different. I like the idea of calling a group poem, “The Voices of Our Classroom,” or “Voices from [X] Elementary’s 1st Grade,” etc.

I did this exercise with a group of adults at the online launch celebration for We Belong, too. I just invited folks to put their entries into the chat box. Because time was so short, I picked the first three I saw. I would have loved to have actually included everyone’s. I think that would have been so powerful. But it was still lovely to pick just a few things from each category and then to read this together, with everyone chiming in on the, “This is where we belong!”

A We Belong poem

We’re brave and we’re strong.
This is where we belong.

I have freckles.
I have an overbite.
I have a long nose.

We’re kind and we’re strong.
This is where we belong.

I have a tender heart.
I love jazz.
I’m a good listener.

We’re smart and we’re strong.
This is where we belong.

Many of my friends play pickleball, and I don’t.
I was bullied.
I have a mental illness.

We’re kind and we’re strong–
When we’re right.
When we’re wrong.
And here, in this space,
This is where we belong!

This could be an individual writing activity, as well. Just replace the “we” with “I” and guide your students through some prewriting and drafting. I think students might write some really beautiful lines, and I’d love to share them. If you end up with a collaborative or individual poem that I’d be allowed to share here on my site and in my e‑letter for teachers, please email me!

Below are links to the downloadable versions, both We and I, and with and without the little directions/examples. Enjoy!


[My Classroom Connections posts share a way to connect one of my books or poems to a classroom topic–often something timely that you might be covering in the next month or so. Please share this post if you have educator friends who might be interested–thanks!]

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