Marsha Waldman


This audio file includes excerpts of essays recorded by many of my students.

This I Believe is an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. Over 60,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, are archived here on our website, heard on public radio, chronicled through our books and television programming, and featured in weekly podcasts. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow.”

From their website:

This I Believe

Lesson Plans


Driving to school, I pondered my next challenge as an English teacher: how can I have my students respond to Night, Elie Wiesel’s memoir of the Holocaust? It was spring and my eighth graders would soon be moving up. We needed a response that was uplifting and suitable to this crossroad in their lives. “This I Believe” came on the radio, and I knew immediately that this was the right project at the right time.

The This I Believe project drew on my expertise as an Instructional Technology Specialist as well as my skills as an English teacher. On the This I Believe Foundation website I found a gold mine of lesson ideas that would help my students explore and identify their own core beliefs.

First, students visited the website and listened to archived TIB personal essays. Breaking into small groups, I gave them dozens of quotes and aphorisms to consider, asking each group to find one they all could agree on.  Then, each student had to tell the story that led to that belief. This exercise helped the students to write essays that were vivid and concrete. More privately, in their journals, they reflected on their core values and on the events in their lives that had shaped them. Back in class, we discussed the structure of the essay and then began a cycle of writing and conferences.

In the computer lab, I introduced students to GarageBand, which they used to record their essays. Some added music and images. We published their work to the school intranet and they proudly shared their work with classmates and friends. At end of school celebrations, each student was given a CD with their classmates’ essays, a unique keepsake of their days together.


Helping students express their core beliefs.