Teacher Review For This I Believe

A great source for essays on values.

Larry J.
Classroom teacher
El Diamante High School
Visalia, CA
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My Grades 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning, Arts
My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 4
Pedagogy 4
Support 3
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Homework
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
For my AP Comp class, I usually start the year by having students write a 'This I Believe' essay. It serves to expose them to the idea of a values-driven life, and it also helps me to get to know them better. I usually start by having them follow along while the audio plays for five or six of the essays. From there, I send them off to find more essays that seem close to their own ideas. I have them analyze each essay for form to help guide them through the creation of their own essays.
My Take
This is always one of my favorite essays of the year. I learn so much about my students right off the bat, and the sheer variety of essays available here helps them to see that the five-paragraph essay is only one of many, many possible forms. The essays on this website serve as a bridge to greater freedom of expression. They also help students understand how crucial values are as we are confronted with important decisions in life. As a teaching tool, I find this website easy to navigate, and the wide array of topics ensure that my students will find something that speaks to them. In particular, I like that I can download individual audio files, as I've had a few lessons hindered by internet problems. One final note: I've had a number of students submit their essays to the site, and all have been accepted for their archives. I don't know if that's because my students wrote great essays, or they are just very accommodating. However, the resulting ego boost for my students was quite motivating.