This guide features pre-reading and after reading activities that align with The Big Book of I Ams, written by author, Robyn Allaby. Elementary learners will discover and create their own positive affirmations to help build life-long, positive mental health skills in themselves, and in others.
NB Curricular Connections
English Language Arts
- Strand: Interactions – Big Idea: Exchanges
- Strand: Reading – Big Idea: Reading Comprehension
- Strand: Representations – Big Idea: Composition
- Strand: Wellness – Big Idea: Healthy Lifestyle
What You’ll Need
- The Big Book of I Ams book (By: Robyn Allaby and Illustrated by: Vanshika Khaitan)
- Projector or Smart Board (for video)
- Small ball
- I Am cards (PDF attached)
- This Is Me Printable (PDF attached)
- Colouring Materials (markers, pencil crayons, etc.)
Discussion (PRE-READING): Before reading the book, discuss with students: What kinds of things do we feed plants, for them to grow and be healthy? Students may offer responses such as: light, water, nutrient-rich soil, fertilizer, etc. Together, watch a real-life garden come to life filmed by visual effects artist and filmmaker, Jamie Scott. He spent three years shooting the stunning springtime imagery in this continuous motion time-lapse video for National Geographic. Discuss: Were the things that we listed, evident in the plants in this video? In the same way we feed these important things to plants, what things do we need to feed our own brain so that we can grow and be healthy? (Love, good thoughts, positive affirmations, accurate information, knowledge of the world around us, positive self-talk, hope, dreams, etc.)
READ ALOUD – The Big Book of I Ams: Begin reading and pause on page 7 to add any other additional thoughts from the previous discussion (on what to feed our brains). Next, tell students that there will be many pages coming where I Am statements will be Have students place one fist on a knee. Have them put their thumb up if they feel like the I Am statement being read is a perfect match for them. Teacher’s note: ONLY encourage thumbs up. Gauge throughout the reading, students who are having a challenging time identifying with any of the I Am statements.
Discussion – Sharing Circle (AFTER READING): Gather students together in a circle. Using a ball, have students say 1 I Am statement about themselves and then roll the ball to another peer – until all students have shared.
This Is Me – I AM Self-Portrait Activity: (AFTER READING): Using the printables provided below, cut, and tape up the I Am statements found within the book around the classroom. Have students draw their own self-portrait, using pencils and colouring materials, on the I Am Self-Portrait printable below. Once students have finished their self-portrait, give them time to walk around the room and choose 5 I Am statements that they feel truly reflects themselves. They may also add statements that were not in the book. (Feel free to also add more artistic elements to this activity: self-portraits created with paint, recyclable materials, collage, Van Gogh style, etc.).
Peer Encouragement Activity: Place all students’ names individually on cue cards or sticky notes. Randomly distribute the names so that no learner gets their own name. Give 5-10 minutes for students to walk around the classroom, with the same I Am statements taped up, and write three “You Are” statements that the students SEES in the other student. Have students give the cards/notes back to you and then you hand them back to each student. Discuss: Were any of you surprised by what another peer sees in you? Are there things that others see in us, that we do not always see in ourselves? Why? Have students share.
Wrap-Up: Discuss: How would knowing and practicing my I Am statements be important for my future? Would there be clues and unique skills in who I know I am that could help guide what my future career path might be? What could some of my I Ams be telling me now?
- Using pages 36-37 in the book, have students create an alphabet of I Ams, individually or in small groups. Create an illustrated class ABC I Am book and read it to a younger class to share all about the power of positive self-talk.
- Create an I Am video to share with your school’s video announcements or assembly to encourage others to speak and use their own I Am statements in their daily routines.
- Create an I AM station in your classroom. Have I AM statements available, along with a mirror for students to practice.
Please see the attached PDF for several choices on how you and your learners can reflect upon today’s activity.