Where I’m From

Today we read George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From” poem and explored how the places we come from impact our identities and help to shape us. We focused on how using details rooted in the five senses can make poems come alive and help to pull the reader into a scene. Below are some of the incredible pieces by Ms. Armstrong’s and Mr. Reinholdt’s 7th and 8th grade classes.

8th Grade Group 1


Where I’m From

Fernando M.

Where I’m from

the aroma of smoke fills the air

The old school car sits there so sad

with a brick in the middle of

the windshield.

The sound of crunching wrappers fills

our ears, the sound of bottles moving

from the wind echo through

the lonely streets.

The people arguing on the other side

of the house, the sounds of loud music

playing. Chief Keef covers the neighborhood

with his rhythms n beats.

The kids on they bikes racing

ona beat.

The sound of the police sirens ring

with beats from the streets.

I Come From

Laila F.

A long line of independent women

Where they do everything themselves.

Where my mom always makes red pozole,

where my grandma makes her own tortillas and tamales.

I smell the smoke of the salsa

I taste the spices

of the chile my Papi is making.

I feel my moms soft hair,

see the color she dyes her roots with.

I hear my brother blasting Slim Shady by Eminem

a song I grew up with.

I feel the ending of a sad book.


Where I Come From

Maya W.

I am from the scent of Fabuloso

every Sunday morning, from the

smell that roams the house of

my abuelita’s cooking, whether

it’s the smell of tortillas quemadas

or the spread of Goya seasoning

throughout the whole neighborhood of Pilsen,

that we smell from our traditional meals.

I am from the viejitas outside chismeando

about everyone but themselves,

Or the loud music coming from

the windows of the neighbors


Where I’m From

Jose P.

I’m from

a place where it’s dangerous

a place where it’s safe

where trains roar

and where dogs scream

this place is fun this place is boring

how the smell of pepian

absorbs the house

how the smoke flies

through the house

I’m from

the family that lays on the couch

how my cousins come every


how I hear the Febreeze spray

an hour a day

how the soft touch of

the blanket is

the same as my dog’s fur

and where rats live

and the trees come back

to life every year


I Come From

Erik V.

Born in Hialeah Hospital

raised in Miami, I come from a family of five

from the family that split when I was three

A family that decided to start over three years after

we split.

I am from the virtual world, the world that

kept me at ease at any time,

from a family who have been through too much.

I am from a school, a school that half my life was spent

dealing with hardships,

from a place in which peace was brought a little too late.


De Donde Soy

Paola E.

Café tajadas, arroz con pollo

yo soy de Ambrosio Plaza

tu amor ruido de ollas

mama siempre cantaba

al lavar los platos

con desengrasante y



En Case vemos a nuestros

vecinos amigos amigas

al escuchar musica de Dios

Dicen que soy muy tranquila

y que no hablo tanto. Así soy.

Los Carnavales son muy divertidos

espero ser mayor de edad para irme

a mi pais.


8th Grade- Group 2


Where Are We From?

Amorosa M.

I come from the smell of fries

alpastor, churros

Where you can taste the burgers

tacos and pizza from it’s aroma.

The sensation of pushing that old cold black gate which sounds

like the rocking chair my grandmother

will sit on and smile.

The man who teaches literature with his

funky colorful clothes, and from above

he is seen with a bold. yellow poking mohawk.

Oh! You see that red castle next to you

each time you pass to get your happy meal

from McDonalds.

When the sun says bye, the train goes

and comes to greet you loud enough

to wake you up in the mornings,

and not let you sleep at night.

I come from the parties that start

at 5pm and never end. The tios drinking

and playing while the cousins

run and laugh.

The tias tallking/ well chismiando and

then the loud bang from the door opening

your favorite tio walking in and


“Desde el principio como dijo Juan Manuel!”

While carrying cajas of drinks and a

loud speaker he is holding on his

shoulder playing old Spanish music.


I Come From

Judith M.

I come from a house

sometimes messy

other times smelling like Fabuloso

I come from a house

with loud music in the mornings

and nights.

I come from a house

where there is arroz y frijoles to eat,

a home

where I feel safe and happy

a home

where I like to spend time in


Welcome to Venezuela

Mateo C.


From where I’m from

people are fun and nice/ they give you chocolates and cocosetes

people are good cooks,

people are protectful from gangs with many many rules.

Where I’m from, every morning

you wake up to the delicious food

like arepas and empanadas de queso.


But where I’m from

people aren’t always nice

they don’t always give you

food, sometimes they take

your stuff, your blood, your life

Welcome to Venezuela.


I come From Mexico

Liliana G.

I come from Mexico

Though I live in Chicago

My heart remains

in Mexico.


The human sized gate

the fence between cousins

the dogs fighting

Grandmas cooking early in the morning

My friend next door to my cousin

My uncles corner store



Stephanie H.

I come from Pilsen

Where soft hands greet each other

everyday, with the question asked

“Y tu mama, como esta?” from people

The smell of Pollo Express lingers

in the air on 18th Street to the point that you

even taste it.

Art is everywhere you turn. Colorful art.

Mexican moms chismiando at every corner

The soft breeze with warmness


Where I’m From

Karen P.

Where I’m from

there are kids playing and screaming and

people walking their dogs.

The scent of detergent all around the neighbor’s home.

The sound of cats fighting at night and

neighbors playing their loud music.

How soft my two cats feel when I pet them.

The taste of fresh baked cookies

me and my sister baked

and how soft and warm the cookies are

when they are straight out of the oven.

All these things are connected with where I’m from.


7th Grade



Kai G.

Pilsen, I’m from a place with loud people

lots of cars driving around

and people having fun.

I’m from a place with brick walls

and stones and restaurants all around.

Where I’m from, there’s all kinds of food

tacos, pizza or even just junk

Where I’m from,

there’s family and friends

all around.


Where I’m From



I am from Pilsen, where the stray cats wander around.

I am from the scent of bread and conchas

going into my cup of milk.

I am from where the cars roam in

the streets and the grass blades move.

I am from those four blocks to get to Subway

and two blocks to Lia.

I am from my mom making pozole

and telling me to clean my room before I eat.

I am from where La Chona plays,

and the smell of Suavitel.


My Place in Chicago

Isabel H.

I come from Chicago

were each place you go is different

different air,

different people,

different languages.

But the memories that shaped

who I am is when I’m at

Arthur’s house. I feel safe there,

the people that shaped me

Arthur and Lia. I feel myself

around them.

Saturday, March 17, 2023,

me Arthur and Leah went

to the mall.  We had fun.  We went to the arcade.

Best day ever.



Demi R.

I come from…

from Pilsen where

alleys smell like alcohol

the smell of fresh paint from the murals on the sides of buildings

where everyone knows each other

where kids play

where the kids are growing up

Smelling the smell of weed

and the smell of tacos

and stepping in the steps of your parents.


Where I’m From!

Kawandas W.

I come from Chicago

I smell smoke from the trucks

I watch cars pass by

I hear people arguing and fussing

I smell toasty bread, eggs and bacon

I feel the warm breeze outside

I come from a tough childhood

I come from a rough neighborhood



Mya V. 

I come from hot summers

from loud music and hot peppers

I come from catching lightning bugs

in my grandma’s backyard.

I am from swimming classes at Harrison

I am from waking up to

smelling Fabuloso

I am from running to the ice cream truck




“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.