Be the Change; Citizenship/Civic Engagement; Cultures
Students engage in a variety of activities that enable them to explore how their identity makes them part of their community.
One 45-Minute Class Period
The learner will:
define the word identity.
identify attributes and factors that shape personal identity.
describe how community influences identity.
compare and discuss benefits of diverse interests and talents that contribute to community identity.
community: a group of peoplewith shared interests; a placewhere people with sharedinterests come together
responsibility: duty or obligationto satisfactorily perform orcomplete a task (assigned bysomeone, or created by one’sown promise or circumstances)that one must fulfill, and whichhas a consequent penalty forfailure
identity: the characteristicsand qualities of a person,considered collectively andregarded as essential to thatperson’s self-awareness
trait: a distinguishing feature,as of a person’s character
character traits: the features,such as morals and reputationthat make up a person’spersonality
chart paper, markers
writing paper, pencils
3 x 5 index cards
chart paper or handout with vocabulary prepared in advance
student copies of Handout 1: Who Are You? How Do You Identify Yourself?
student copies of Handout 2: Personal Character Components Wheel
student copies of Handout 3: How to Write a Bio poem
Write the word identity on chart paper and ask students what parts of a person's life make up his or her identity. Write student responses on chart paper. Some possible responses include the following: interests or hobbies, family, religion, character traits, personality, ethnicity, and community. Ask students how their specific community influences who they are. To help students understand how a community affects identity, have them picture how someone from a small town in Alaska might have a different perspective than someone from a large city on the East Coast.
Explain to students that they will be exploring their identities by thinking about and listing their character traits. Hand out the index cards and ask students to write one fact about themselves, a fact a classmate cannot tell by looking at them. Collect the cards and read the cards to the class one at a time and ask the class who they think the fact belongs to. After reading all of the cards, ask students to list things they have in common with their classmates.
Distribute copies of Handout 1: Who Are You? How Do You Identify Yourself? Give students 5 minutes to fill it out about themselves.
Then have them select the traits from the handout that are most important to them and place them in Handout 2: Personal Character Components Wheel.
Tell students to walk around the room and compare their wheels with others, looking for someone whose wheel is just like theirs. As they compare their identities, they learn about the diverse interests and talents that make up the classroom community. Bring the group back together and discuss.
Are any two people in a community exactly alike?
What similarities did you find? How did you feel when you found a similarity with someone that you didn't know about before?
What are the benefits of having diverse people in a community?
What identity traits are unique to our community? (e.g., loyalty to local sports team)
How can we use our diverse strengths and interests to make our community stronger?
Introduce Handout 3: How to Write a Biopoem. Tell students to write a poem, following the step-by-step instructions that describes who they are. They may refer to the first two handouts for ideas as well as the observations from the discussion.
Pair students to share their bio poems. The pairs give feedback and editing help on their bio poem drafts.
Students write a final copy of their bio poems. (This may be completed as homework, and it may include an illustration.)
Knowing your identity helps you to better influence your community in a positive way. Understanding that people have different identities helps us to appreciate the differences that are needed in forming a successful community.
Students take home their completed copy of Handout 1 and use it to guide a family discussion about the traits of family member’s identities. They may discuss how theirfamily traits and interests influence how they contribute to the community in which theylive.
Art/Writing: Have students create a caricaturein their own likeness, usingtheir bio poems and charactertraits to write about their identity. For example, “I am very emotional and mycaricature cries rivers of tears.These tears flow into the dirtyrivers and streams with freshwater." Or "I talk a lot, and mybreath is like a cleansing wind.” Students name their caricaturewith a super hero, video gameor cartoon name.
Reflection: (click to view)
Hand out blank paper and have students respond in writing to thequestions:
What were you most surprised about in your observationsof other students' wheels?
What were you least surprised about?
How does your identity make you a part of your community?”
Think about the past few years in your life, or think about your entire life. Come up withsome ideas for your draft bio poem. When you have a bio poem that represents you, edit and finalizeit so that you have something written for every line. Try to keep each to one line only.
For lines 1 through 10 of the bio poem, follow the steps below. Each step should be one
line in the poem.
[line 1] Write your first name
[line 2] List three or four adjectives that describe you
[line 3] Write some important relationships you have in your life (e.g., daughter of . . . ,
friend of . . . )
[line 4] List two or three things, people, or ideas that you love
[line 5] List three feelings you have experienced
[line 6] List three fears you have experienced
[line 7] Write down some of your accomplishments (e.g., who won . . . who performed . . .
who learned . . .)
[line 8] Write two or three things you want to see happen or want to experience
[line 9] List the town or area (borough) of your residence