I love doing "This I Believe" essays with my students. Listening to the amazing radio clips from NPR from essayists all over the world is a wonderful experience for them. There is so much variety - humor, poignancy, incredible written detail that comes through aloud. Some of my students have even had their essays posted online by NPR - a wonderful culmination for them.
If you've never heard the series or taught this type of essay, be sure to check out the amazing resources at NPR. I've been so impressed by their efforts to create curriculum.
One of the resources available at the above link is the poster shown here, which you can download and print for your own classroom.