You are "you" but how exactly is "you" defined? Through the past week, fifth graders dove into this complex question and began to explore who they are as a part of their unit on identity and diversity. They began their study by brainstorming what factors encompass identity. Through this, they quickly observed how everyone holds a unique identity makeup stemming from multiple influences. They noted physical traits, but also looked at features we do not see on the surface and may not know about our peers.
Once they created their definition of identity, they used the story Harvesting Hope by Kathleen Krull to understand how individuals can map their own stories. They began to understand how to map identities while learning about the main character of the book César Chávez and viewing an identity map model. Soon after, they began mapping their own identities using words and visuals.
As students created their maps, they represented their families, cultures, languages, backgrounds, and future dreams in their own unique designs. This project allowed them to begin the lifelong process of self-identifying and self-reflection. Ultimately this gave them a tool for working to negotiate their identities within the world as a whole. It additionally allowed them to connect with peers and explore the identities of others. They noted connections as well as differences to gain a greater understanding of their peers. Many students were able to learn new things about each other that they might not have known before. These new findings allowed new connections to be built and contribute to growing a classroom community. As they move through the next weeks of their identity and diversity unit, they will look back to these identity maps to understand how their perspectives of the world are shaped.