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Begin 2023 by Exploring Identity and Belonging with Facing History

Join an upcoming community event and utilize our multi-part lesson plans to jump into the study of identity and belonging.

So much of what Facing History strives to do is convey the importance of connection. How are we connected to our family, our school, our country? How are we connected to history?

To fully consider all the ways we fit into the world around us, we must examine our individuality, our relationships, and the communities of which we are a part. 

These connections allow us to develop our sense of belonging. The early bonds we form, such as with close family, play a powerful role in shaping our identity. As we start to grow up, and our world view widens, our sense of belonging can shift. We still have ties to our past, but we start to welcome in new people, places, and ideas that help define our character. Feeling belonging at any stage of life is vital: it is foundational for confidence, friendship, and a sense of safety. 

As we come to understand who we are, we also learn the stories and journeys of other people, and so our circle of belonging grows. 

This January we’re highlighting a few tools you can use to delve deeper into teaching and understanding identity and belonging.


Community Event - January 19, 2023 | 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. ET

We are Facing History: Personal Stories, Identities, and our Connected Past
A Community Conversation with Tiya Miles and Nicka Sewell-Smith, presented in partnership with Ancestry®.

Together we’ll explore how our personal histories inform our individual and collective identities, and learn about the systemic barriers which deny many Americans the opportunity to engage with their own histories. By addressing these barriers and investing in the personal histories missing from our shared narrative, we can build a stronger understanding of our connected past.

Learn more and register for this cost-free event here

Coming of Age in a Complex World

Designed for grades 6–12, this is a modular collection that centers students’ identities and lived experiences. With aligned professional development, this resource diversifies the range of stories classes read and creates space to explore complex ideas about self, society, and human behavior.

Our approach, which integrates intellectual inquiry with ethical reflection and emotional engagement, develops literacy and SEL skills, preparing students to participate in what the National Council of Teachers of English describes as “an increasingly digital, text-mediated, information-rich, and fast changing world.” Central to Coming of Age in a Complex World are classroom learning experiences which support a deep look into human behavior and moral dilemmas in literature and life, and which help young people to develop a sense of agency as they reflect on what it means to grow up in the world today. 

We completed the collection in December 2023 with the publication of the Becoming and Belonging Text Set.

Access the full collection here

Unit - My Part of the Story: Exploring Identity in the United States

Adolescence is a time when many young people grapple with issues of independence, trust, freedom, and responsibility. It is also a time when life centers around finding a sense of belonging in peer groups and cultivating mutual relationships. The materials in this six-lesson unit are designed to support and challenge students in their efforts to define their own identity and their relationship to society as a whole. By engaging your class in a study of the United States, young people see that they are integral to the story of the country. This resource empowers students to develop their own voices in both school and the world at large.  

Find the entire six-unit digital unit here or download the My Part of the Story: Exploring Identity in the United States pdf book.

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Looking for more related content? Facing History offers numerous other materials and guides for analyzing identity and belonging, such as the Identity Charts Teaching Strategy, Our Names and Our Place in the World Activity, and the Finding One's Voice Reading