Students write at their desks.

Identity and Storytelling Assessment Ideas

Create a culminating experience for your students that helps them draw new connections between the concepts and ideas presented in this text set, themselves, and the world today.


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At a Glance



English — US


  • English & Language Arts




One 50-min class period
  • Culture & Identity


About This Assessment

Over the course of the Identity and Storytelling text set, students have studied personal stories of identity and belonging, learned about the concepts of narrative and social identity, and reflected on the many factors that make them the complex and unique individuals that they are. 

The following short summative assessment ideas invite students to revisit their journal reflections, texts, and handouts in order to synthesize key ideas about the complexity of identity and to draw new connections between the texts, themselves, and the world. These assessment ideas are starting places from which you can create a culminating experience that feels authentic and relevant for your context.

Essential Questions

  • What makes me, me?
  • What story do I want to tell about who I am and what matters to me?

Preparing to Teach

A Note to Teachers

Before you plan your assessment, please review the following guidance to tailor the experience to your students’ contexts and needs.

If you are teaching this text set early in the academic year, it is important to remember that it takes time to build a climate of trust and respect in a classroom. While it may be tempting to have students write, read aloud, and/or publish personal narratives, like those from AJ, Lauren, Zöe, and Adiah, that explore social identity, or to share their “soul stories” like Winona and Priya, they may not be ready for this level of vulnerability with you and with each other. 

When choosing a summative experience for this text set, whether from the list below or of your own design, it is important to know your students, to avoid asking anything of them that you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing alongside them, and to provide them with choices about the stories they tell, how they tell them, and what they do and don’t share.

Each assessment is designed for one to two class periods.


This assessment invites students to review their journal entries, identity charts, and handouts in order to reflect on new understanding and questions, both individually and with each other. In the first class period or for homework, give students time to prepare for the Socratic Seminar. Start by reading the text set’s essential question out loud, and then invite students to review their journals and other materials from this text set and to identify three to five moments that stand out in some way: 

  • A place where they arrived at a new, different, or deeper understanding about the essential question
  • A place that explored a question they are still grappling with 
  • A place that raised new questions for them
  • A place they would want to revise because their thinking about the topic has changed
  • A place where they had an “ah-ha” moment about themselves or their world

Then conduct a Socratic Seminar in which students discuss the essential question and pose new questions that have arisen for them. Their discussions should be rooted in the texts and students’ lived experiences as they explore together what makes each one of them a unique individual with an important story to tell and how they can create welcoming spaces for each other to share “soul” stories that matter.

This assessment uses images and short personal statements to help students communicate aspects of their identity and learn about one another. Start by sharing the images that accompany the readings AJ from Washington, DC and Lauren from Providence, RI and explain that they come from a book called Tell Me Who You Are by Winona Gao and Priya Vulchi, whom they learned about in the TED Talk Lessons of Cultural Intimacy. Have students discuss how each page helps them answer the essential question for that author. You can use a strategy like See, Think, Wonder to help students slow down and process each page. Then discuss the following question in pairs or small groups: Look at the name, location, image, and quotations. What do you learn about the story each young person wants to tell about themselves?

Let students know that they will be creating their own pages with a photo or artistic representation of themselves (collage, drawing, video) and four to six sentences that help explain who they are. To generate ideas for their pages, have students choose from the following sentence starters (and/or create their own) to respond to in their journals. They should list as many ideas as they can for the prompts they choose. 

  • I am . . .
  • I am from . . .
  • I support . . .
  • My favorite ______ is . . .
  • I can . . .
  • I can’t . . .
  • I am the only . . .
  • I like to . . .
  • I have . . .
  • I don’t like to . . .
  • I wish . . .
  • I listen to . . .
  • I watch . . .
  • I spend most of my time . . .
  • My role model is . . . 
  • I’m obsessed with . . .
  • I play . . .
  • People may not know that I . . .
  • My role model is . . .

As a class, decide how students will create their pages and let them know who will see their finished products. One option is to assemble a Google Slides presentation for which each student creates their own slide with their image and statements. Alternatively, you could use an online tool that allows them to upload text, images, and video. Or have each student create their own page as a Google Doc or on paper.

This assessment invites students to review their journal entries, identity charts, and handouts in order to reflect on new understanding and questions. Start by having them highlight or mark with sticky notes places where they see their understanding about identity deepen, change, or get challenged. Then, on an exit card that you create or on separate paper, ask students to choose one of the following prompts to respond to in a piece of writing, citing evidence from the text set, class discussions, and their own experiences to support their thinking.

  • What new, different, or deeper understanding do you have about the relationship between identity and storytelling—who we are, the stories we tell about ourselves, others, and the world around us? What makes you say that? 
  • Complete the sentence: For me, the most valuable idea from this unit is _______ because _______. 
  • Complete this idea: I used to think _________ about the concept of identity, but now I think _______. My thinking changed because . . .
  • Complete this idea: I used to think _________ about the importance of stories and storytelling, but now I think _______. My thinking changed because . . .


If you want to give students a choice as to how they demonstrate their understanding, you could have them create an audio or video recording instead of a written piece or represent their ideas graphically in a concept map.

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Facing History and Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

Using the strategies from Facing History is almost like an awakening.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif