• The idea for this project is modeled after the "This I believe " series from National Public Radio (see link below if interested in learning more).  The lesson came from the 21st Century Literacy Strategies Class.  Summarizing and synthesizing are difficult concepts for many students .  Using a graphic organizer while listening to three sample essays, facilitated the process of pulling the important information from the text and coming to a conclusion based on the information presented as well as prior knowledge. 
    SOL 9.3 The student will read and analyze a variety of literature.
    SOL 9.4 The student will read and analyze a variety of informational materials.
    2011-2012 Digital Storytelling 
    This I Believe by Amber Tornetta
    This I Believe by Kelly Burrows

    This I Believe by AR Bowers

    Getty Ronquillo
    I believe that if you try hard on tests you will get good grades. My mom was depressed when she saw my test grades. If I want to pass I have to try my best and hard in my entire test! When I used to take a lot of tests, I always got bad grades because I never really tried hard to get good grades. I was sick of getting bad grades somehow in my head I really needed to try hard on the next quiz. The next final test I had to take, I definitely needed to try my best. And when I got my test back I got a better score than my entire test from the past. In 5th grade I tried my best on all of my quizzes and got mostly A’s and B’s. Now I do this all the time whenever they hand me a quiz! This I believe.

    I believe people have a second chance in life. When I was in eighth grade I was expelled for gang affiliation and having a knife on school property. Back then I wasn’t really into school, always getting in trouble. My mom didn’t know what she was going to do with me and I wasn’t sure either. She told me if she didn’t think of what to do with me, she would send me to military school to straighten my life out. My family was going through a hard time so we had been getting help by an organization called House of Mercy. My mom went to them to see if they could help me. The director asked me questions about what I wanted to do with my life.” Many things” I said. She told me how are you going to do those things if you don’t go to school? The director told me they wanted to talk to my mom for a little wail. The director called me and told me they would home school me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to go in the wrong direction. They said they would help me put my life back together. I spent a year and a half being home schooled and during that time I fixed my life. This I believe.    

     Jose's This I Believe

    I believe in Ghost. When I was a pre teen I had an experience at my house that I still live in right now. I used to hear people walking around the house and I would hear breathing. I thought it was just me hearing stuff but I was wrong my little brother was the one that heard the sound and saw stuff. I was so scared to be in my house by myself because all the things that were happing in my house. When my brother and I would tell my mom she would say you guys are crazy. One night my brother was sleeping in his room and at that time my big brother shared a room with him. He was crying like he was getting killed. I was scared because he came to my mom’s room crying. I was sleeping with her and my other little brother. I woke up and I was like what’s going on then my mom said nothing he had a bad dream. So I tried to go back to sleep and when I was trying to go to bed I felt the bed shaking. I thought it’s just my brother crying so I didn’t pay attention. Then the other morning my mom told me what happen that my little brother felt his bed shaking and he saw a puppet turning his head around and around. That’s why he went to the bed room crying. Then my mom said that when my brother fell asleep she turned around and heard a noise that sounded like a grunt. She started to pray and turned on all the lights. It was the scariest thing in my life. Then it stopped for a days at a time. We were coming back from buying food and my big brother said “look up in the window can you see a figure of a face?”We looked and saw the face. “My mom stated that the window was probably dirty and it was nothing to worry about”. She went to clean the window but it didn’t come off. My brothers and I were so scared to go inside the house. My family called people to come pray in our house. The church people came over that night because no one wanted to go in the house. As they were praying, the TV in the room turned off.   When they finished it suddenly came back on. I just started to cry. After they prayed in the house, we started to have church at my house. Everything changed. Now I go to church three times a week. Sometimes I get scared when I hear noises but I know that God is with me. He is going to protect me but yes I know there are ghosts. I do believe in ghost no matter what people say because I have been through that experience. This I believe…

    This I Believe

         By: Ahad Qamar

        I believe that anything you put your mind too, you can accomplish with no tribulations as long as you can stay strong as a person and have credence in yourself, having confidence in yourself is the most key thing you need to surmount a goal. I have personally came across many situations that I have had to do deal with I’ve had to think hard about them but I eventually end up overcoming them, every time that has happened to me I have gotten stronger as a person, Everyone has at least been in that predicament once in their lives, but not everyone knows how to deal with them. Believing in your self is one of the first steps to success. If you don't have confidence in yourself, it will be difficult to succeed in anything.
    This I Believe by Luis Hernandez
    This I believe  By Ana Estrada
    Ana E.

                     I believe that a true friend is there for you no matter what happens. They should accept you without criticism and they should know how to give good constructive criticism in return.

    I know it is hard to receive constructive criticism from a friend. You start thinking that they hate you or that they want to make you miserable just because they point out the flaws that you have. If a person is too afraid to constructively criticize you then, in my opinion, they are not much of a good friend. To tell you the truth, how many of us have true friends or when that friend is really your friend?

    I have a friend named Brisey I met here back when I was in 9th Grade. We have always been friends. I always have told her everything and she always has trusted me too. I have been really good friends with her. A lot of people have tried to make us to stop talking but we still work things out, and we keep it 100% with each other. I always thought that there aren’t true friends in this world but when I met her, I realized not to judge a person by the way they act or look and to get to know them first.


    Essence Thompson


    I believe in Jesus, I believed in Jesus ever since I was 3 years old. My mother is a minister. I went to church every Sunday in still continue to go till this day. I was (Baptist) not catholic, at the age of 5. I’ve been singing in the church choir since I was 7, I have 5 bothers in  7 sisters including me, in we were basically the choir. I remember when I was younger in I use to go in the back with the little kids, I was like I don’t like going back there to color I want to learn. It’s weird, because I knew what every word meant in the bible. I was always happy when It was Sunday I would wake up earlier then everybody in say “GET UP” it’s Sunday. An I would go play church music on the computer. I believe in Jesus not because my mom told me I had to, but because I wanted to give my life to Christ for him. Every night before I go to sleep and when I eat, I pray to him. He turned my life around big time, in that’s why I have so much belief in him.

    Essence's This I Believe
    This I Believe by: Debra Owens

    This I believe

    I believe that people should not judge others because if you have something to say to that person, then they should say it to that person. Not say things behind their backs. When people talk about other people behind their backs, it hurts unless it is something nice and true about that person. If it is something mean and true then that person will hurt and usually go after that person who ever started that rumor. I think that people should talk to each other about situations even if it really bad.

    Why do people even do things like this? They don’t want to confront their friends so they talk about them to other people so the public can know about the situation. Instead of letting the public know, I think its right to just confront the situation.

                I was in a situation where my old friends in middle school made fun of me because I was big. I got so mad that I went up to them and talked to them but they all acted like they didn’t know what I was talking about. That rumor went on and on for about a week and the whole entire school laughed at me because they believed that rumor. I was so mad, upset, and crying every day. I tried talking to my friends but they just ignoring me. Finally I told my Aunt and when I told her, she got mad also. My Aunt took me to school that day and can with me to the principal’s office.

              That day did not go well like the other days I have had. After their discipline, they never made fun of me again. The rest of the school year though I was alone but I was able to do things that I wanted to and not what other people did.


    This I Believe by: Mary Farson


              I believe God has everything happen for a reason. Whether or not we understand the reason, at the time of the crisis, it’s all part of God’s greater plan for us in life.

    Every event we experience shapes us into who we are individually. Situations, both good and bad, play key roles in balancing our lives with the lives of others, in this world. Good events give us joy and happiness while bad events give us compassion and jobs. If nothing bad ever occurred, the human world wouldn’t exist because humans are imperfect and sinful. Imagine how boring life would be if nothing went wrong; we’d be like robots, pre-programmed and not alive. 

              God uses bad events to unite people together and bring them closer to him. Think about it, after a tragedy happens don’t you usually see and hear about people praying for each other, helping others, working together to benefit everyone as a whole. From life’s unimaginable events we learn more than just important information about how to prevent a reoccurrence; we realize how most of our worries, problems, and complaints, prior to the incident, were small and pointless in comparison to the big scheme of things.

    Jobs are also created based off these every day disasters; doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, military forces, and so on, are all careers based on public safety; then we have other political leadership jobs, such as the president and mayors who are responsible for organizing these first response teams and knowing how to affectively use them.

    I believe God has a plan for each and every one of us, sometimes our plans might not match up with his but in the end God has everything workout for the best of us. He’ll never put something we can’t handle in our life’s path. This is what I believe.
    Shayan Tasneem

       I believe to never give up on life and that any mistakes or faults you’ve made in life can be reflected in a positive way by gaining more knowledge. I believe in this statement because in the past I had a really careless state of mind, I was not bothered about focusing on my schoolwork which made repeat the 8th grade.  After getting held back once my focus on school concentrated more, but then I started  getting into trouble outside of school, plotting on different ways to get money and skipping school every now and then. My parents were concerned why I would go out every day and sometimes coming home at late night. Eventually my acts caught up with me and I got snitched on, and I am currently on probation. When I was placed on probation my parents were mad, disappointed, and angry as well and that made me realize to be more careful on who I trust and aware of the consequences from the decisions I make and to really think through the actions that I make in the future. This I believe.


    Rachel Pratt

    I believe in Peace. I believe that people can lead separate lives and coexist, whether their beliefs are completely different or the exactly the same. In my hometown kids are threatened by each other’s differences, split in two they ridicule each other because their different lifestyle choices. These kids would beat the hell out of each other or even kill given the chance. Although they dress and act differently from each other they look the same to me. Whenever I’m reminded of the violent mentality of my peers it just strengthens my belief and reminds me of how important peace is. I like to think that we are all capable of accepting others for who they are, without correction. I believe people can recognize others right to their own beliefs, accept this and move on together in peace. This I believe.

    My belief is in God. The reason I believe in God is because I have been through so much. I feel that he is watching down on me all my decisions. One of them is when I had to choose between soccer and track I looked to God for some help. I also believe because I have gotten in trouble a lot and it seems like God has given me second chances for a new start. No matter how much goes on in life God is always by my side pushing to make a better life.


    I believe in freedom, freedom of the mind, freedom of life and freedom of expression.  Imagine this, you and your friends are up all night driving around ,laughing ,and having a great time going anywhere the road will take you no drugs, no alcohol just complete and utter bliss. Then your best friend announces the sun will be coming up soon and all of you should watch it rise, when she says that ideas start fluttering in from everyone; Bass Rock! Bears Den! “Let’s go to Happy Creek” another friend yells and, suddenly that’s the best idea a perfect place to watch the sun rise. So you all drive up the mountain and it’s like your chasing the sun like your running out of time to see its beauty, but since you’re on the mountain it’s kind of exciting the twists and turns and curves you take to get there; trees brushing against the wind no one else’s is awake so it just you and your friends music blasting and everyone having fun, when there it is the exit to happy creek. You all get so ecstatic none of you can contain it. Everyone is bursting with enthusiasm, and when you finally get there you make it just in time the sun is popping out of the clouds. The pinks, purples, oranges, and yellows somehow all mesh together, to create an ominous moment of magnificence. The fog rolling over the creek with its stillness just over whelms you, and you walk out of the car consumed by the moment and in a split second you’re in the creek swimming to the middle for a better view. I think calmness no stress and being surrounded by the people you love and care for is the most blissful time in my life this moment is one I will remember forever without fail. This and many other carefree times brought me to just the beginning of what I call life. I try to live on what I like to think of as the “edge.” I don’t ever want to slow down even though I know I’ll have to eventually. I want to be who I am and I don’t want to be dragged down by what society sees fit. I think everyone should have the right to feel what they want and do what they feel, with some boundaries of course. At 18 some either shape up or get crazy, it’s at this age when doors open but at the same time so many close. The word “life” changes and you can either join the crowd of suits on Wall Street or run free with the “hippies” in the woods. If you’re like me you’re stuck in between, but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing because who wants to be conformed to society’s professionalism or to the boho fashion trendy hippies we all know today. I like my life as it is, with all of the dysfunction that comes with it. So when I grow up I know I might have to get an office job but I hope I stay true to myself and the wondrous life I lead.


    I believe that god can give you chances


          I believe that god can give me chances like his opening doors for me and he can give me more chances. I want to play for Football Club Barcelona is the best team ever in the whole world. Messi is the best player in the whole world right now. God gave Lionel Messi a big chance to play for Barcelona. When he was a little boy he had a big problem that he could not grow, because his legs were asleep that’s why he could not grow. People know that he is a good player so Football Club Barcelona paid for Lionel Messi in the hospital to help him grow. God give a big chance to him. I want to get a big chance like how Lionel Messi got a big chance from God. My whole family likes Barcelona and they want me to play for Barcelona. My dream, it’s a big dream that I want God to give me for my life since I was a little boy. My mom would be so happy and sad if one day I could play for that team. I’m form El Salvador. I’m a good player and a can take any player down. I have all the skills to play soccer and play for a good team. My parents are really proud of me because I’m a good soccer player. My future is to play on a soccer team that will pay me. God is the only one that can help, by opening this door for me.
    Chris Jones

    I believe in better days.

    Though you may have some tough times, there always manage to be better days. It takes some time to see, and it may be clouded by a fog of sadness, anger, or even depression but they manage to be there.

    I’ve gone through my set of tough times. Family issues, medical problems, social problems. All of them, I got through. Why? Well, back then I really didn’t know what I believed, and I truly didn’t care. I tended to just shrug off most or all of the hate or insults thrown at me. I knew my flaws, and no one could insult me over them. Throughout all this, my mother was going through money problems, trying to keep us under a roof, keep us fed. We held out.

    Whether it takes a year or more, they come. All you have to do is wave through your harder times. It’s easier said than done, but seeing it done is better than not at all. This is coming to the point of 2 of my friends who couldn’t pull through it. They didn’t get to theirs, and I still don’t understand why. Now we’ll never know.

    It’s hard for me to understand what they went through because I never paid attention to what I myself went through. I watched and can recount details now, but I still don’t truthfully understand it. I never cared about the things people said about me because I didn’t [and still truly don’t] have the ability. I’d appreciate helpful comments or humor, but trivial matters don’t come through as something worthwhile in my head. Just as most middle school and high school life come with; drama. It throws a wave at you; Hormones and popularity.

    They all effect most people so heavily that they lose it if they fall down that ‘popularity ladder’. It goes to the point of hatred, and it throws a wall in front of people’s lives. Have an entire school calling you out because of a hairstyle, then try to tell me it isn’t true. It’s pretty ridiculous, and I LAUGHED at my entire school because of it. I officially laughed, wholeheartedly. Whenever someone would try and insult me, I could laugh at it. I laughed because they feebly attempted to lower my self-esteem by calling me a homosexual, or tossing insults about my hair or my weight, as I used to be big. It didn’t work because A.) I know I’m not a homosexual and B.) Who gives a shit what my hair looks like? It’s hair. Get over it.

    Aesthetics and trivial bits that people care so much about, I will never understand. Maybe because I never had them much, and don’t really need them. The only trivial thing I partake in is video games. I can honestly say I’m glad I didn’t have a need for them, because I’m happy where I am now, still without them. I’m happy with my lot in life, I’ve got friends, I’ve got what I need and I don’t want anything else.

    I’ll always manage to pull through the big wave of hatred that life likes to throw at people because though I can’t see better times coming, I know they’re there somewhere.

Last Modified on December 19, 2013