by Jacqueline Woodson

Photo by Tiffany A. Bloomfield

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: There You Are

Step 1

Say, “Think of a time where you felt really good about or proud of yourself. What made you feel that way? And why weren’t you feeling that way prior to that moment?”

Step 2

Have your students read “Absolute” by Jacqueline Woodson. When you’re done, briefly discuss the point of the poem and whom she is trying to praise/elevate.

Step 3

Say, “Take a bit of time to think a bit more about the discussion we held early, one in which you were to come up with a time in which you felt good about or proud of yourself. Then write down everything you remember about that moment and the different ways you felt a certain way. Take 10 minutes to brainstorm.”

Step 4

Have your students write a poem like “Absolute” in which they express their feelings of pride, self-worth, and jubilation, all of which stemmed from a specific memory or experience. Then ask them to extend that anecdote so it serves as a motivational cry for others who may not possess the same level of self-esteem or worth as they did in that moment.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are figurative language, syntax, structure, imagery, diction, tone, and selection of detail.

Step 2

Show your students the following video. Then have a brief discussion about the message behind the short clip.

Step 3

Read “Absolute” with Jacqueline Woodson. Then briefly discuss how the poem echoes the sentiment of that from the video.

Step 4

Have your students open the following document and go over the introduction and directions with them. In this assignment, your students will have to choose two lines from the poem and create a motivational poster for each of them while also discussing how the lines serve to reinforce the meaning of the work as a whole.

Step 5

After your students have had enough time to work, allow them to share their work with one another. Make sure that they justify or explain their choices with the rest of the class.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Aging
  • Appreciation
  • Body / Body Image
  • Children / Youth
  • Community / Culture
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Gender / Gender Identity / Gender Expression / Sexism
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Race / Ethnicity / Racism

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone