“Who am I?” is a question on the minds of many adolescents. This activity helps students clarify important elements of their identities by writing a poem about themselves or about a historical or literary figure. Bio-poems help students get beyond the aspects of identity that are often more obvious and familiar (such as ethnicity, gender, and age) by asking them to focus on factors that shape identity, such as experiences, relationships, hopes, and interests. By providing a structure for students to think more critically about an individual’s traits, experiences, and character, bio-poems are a way for students to demonstrate what they know about historical or literary figures. Having students share their bio-poems is a great way to build peer relationships and foster a cohesive classroom community.
You can adapt this format to include other items, such as important moments, heroes, beliefs, and special sayings or words.
Through a mask-making activity, students learn that they can conceal or reveal aspects of their identity.