“Have I Told You?” - A Lesson About Gifts & Talents
Lake Bluff Elementary School

The lesson was completed during a class discussion about citizenship. Prior to this lesson, citizenship was defined as being patriotic (supporting the troops, honoring veterans, the importance of voting and political action/responsibility). This lesson is meant for older students that are able to look beyond citizenship as patriotism and process abstract information.

Students will expand their knowledge of citizenship to include: an individual uses his/her gifts and talents to the benefit of others.
Students will reflect upon their lives and begin thinking of their strong gifts and talents.
Students will write and draw a picture with a clear message.
“Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters” by Barack Obama (Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition, 2010)
Paper for small posters
Black thin marker
Colored pencils/markers/crayons
1. Redefine what “citizenship” means to the students, thereby activating prior knowledge.
2. After holding a brief discussion about what citizenship is, introduce the students to the picture book Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama.
3. Read the book by President Obama out loud to the students.
4. Have a discussion with the class following the book.
a. What did you think of the book? (gather general comments)
b. How does this book tie in to citizenship? (the book introduces the reader to famous Americans that provided something to the country by using a personality trait. People like Georgia O’Keefe (creative and her art), Jackie Robinson (brave, first African American professional baseball player)
c. If you look at each drawing, the illustrator drew each famous person as a young child before them as an adult (showing that even as a young person, they had these traits of creativity, bravery, etc.)
d. Do you think these people knew, as a child, that they would do these amazing things? (no) Instead they simply did what they loved and felt. They used their traits and followed their passions. They became amazing individuals because they did what they loved and used the gifts and talents that came naturally to them.
5. Have each student reflect on their own gifts and talents
a. First, follow the form of the book. Each student should write their own “page” following the question (Have I told you that you are ________?) inserting a trait they have. Then, write a paragraph in the third person, explaining how they will follow their gifts and talents and do something wonderful. (become an artist, a dancer, a professional athlete, a business owner)
b. Using the black marker, have the student write their question on the top of the poster page and then copy an edited version of the paragraph on the bottom.
c. In between the writing, have the students draw a picture of themselves doing the activity described in the paragraph using the colored pencils/markers/crayons.
6. After students complete their posters, share the posters/pictures and display them on a bulletin board or wall.
Looking at the creative posters created by each student.