I have borrowed an activity (from an unknown author) that has worked well in my classes. The activity is called “I AM,” and its goals are to offer students an opportunity to get to know one another and to gain increased self-awareness. The only materials needed are paper and pencil for each participant. It helps if the paper is the same color.

Now the process:

1. The facilitator distributes paper and pencils and asks each participant to write five true statements beginning with the words “I am…”  None of the sentences may include information about the person’s appearance (height, weight, sex, race, etc.).  Example: I am an optimistic person. I am an Easterner by birth but a Westerner by choice.  I am the mother of two children. I am a great listener.

2. Tell students not to write their names on the paper but that others will eventually find out who wrote the sentences.

3. When finished, students place their papers face down on a desk or chair placed in the middle of the group.

4. One student selects a paper at random and reads it to the entire group. (Student should not read his/her own.)

5. After the student has read the sentences, the group members guess who wrote them and discuss why they think so.

6. After the group has had ample opportunity to guess which member wrote the sentences, the author identifies himself or herself.

7. Steps 4 through 6 are repeated until all papers have been read and all authors identified.

8. The facilitator leads the group in discussing questions such as:

  •  How did you decide what type of information to write about yourself?
  •  Was it difficult to come up with five sentences beginning with “I am”?
  •  How much did you really tell us about yourself?
  •  What have you learned about yourself?
  •  What have you learned about other members of the group?
  •  Do you feel that other members really disclosed much about themselves?
  •  Have your feelings changed toward any member of the group? Yourself? In what way?

 This is a powerful activity and I think your classes will enjoy it.

 –Frank Szymanski, Director of Athletics, Chesapeake College, MD 

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