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.
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.
NB Career Connections
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?
Cross Curricular Outcomes
GCO 2: Students will develop positive mental health.
GCO 3: Students will apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to establish and maintain healthy relationships.
GCO 4: Students will develop knowledge of self and explore the world of work.
GCO 1: Students will speak and listen to explore, extend, clarify, and reflect on their thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences.
GCO 2: Students will be able to communicate information and ideas effectively and and to respond personally and critically.
GCO 3: Students will be expected to select, read, and view with understanding a range of lliterature, information, media, and visual texts
GCO 8: Students will be expected to use writing and other forms of representation to explore, clarify, and reflect on their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and learnings; and to use their imaginations.
GCO 1: Students will develop the skills required for scientific and technological inquiries, for solving problems, for communicating scientific ideas and results, for working collaboratively, and for making informed decisions (scientific literacy).
Concepts: Plant Needs
GCO 2: Students will be expected to create and/or present, collaboratively, and independently, expressive products in the arts for a range of audiences and purposes.