Strategies for Empowering Students


  • To promote the students' awareness and appreciation of who they are
  • To help students reflect on their self-worth
  • To enhance students' self-esteem

  • Enhancement of vocabulary skills
  • Development of thinking skills
  • Development of writing and reading skills
  • Encouragement to use synonyms and homonyms
  • Development of metacognitive skills
Integration of Content/Subject Areas

  • Language Arts
  • Character Building
  • Social Studies
  • Career Education

Students will use prior knowledge, metacognitive skills, vocabulary knowledge, and creative thinking to complete the following activity. It can be done individually, in pairs, or as cooperative teams.

Each student will print his or her name vertically down the left-hand side of a sheet of lined paper, writing each letter separately. The student will try to think of a self-descriptive word or phrase that matches each letter of their name.

Students are to write a descriptive paragraph or story about themselves, using the words or phrases they have selected and any others they can think of as they are writing their paragraphs. The students are to share their writing selections with the class.


My name is Miguel. I am an intelligent young man with a magnificent mind. My friends like me because I am a very unselfish person, who is always willing and eager to help others. I am also an extremely eager and ambitious leader, who can follow as well as lead. I am brave and gutsy. I am not afraid to try new things and go to new and different places.

This activity is an excellent homework assignment for involving parents in their children's schoolwork.


  • How did students use their knowledge and metacognitive skills?

  • How did students demonstrate pride and self-esteem?

  • Did students exhibit an improvement in writing skills? How?

  • How did this activity help students increase their vocabulary skills?


Excerpted from Beyond Rhetoric and Rainbows: A Journey to the Place Where Learning Lives ©1996 University of Illinois Extension.