Identity charts are a graphic tool that can help students consider the many factors that shape who we are as individuals and as communities. Use identity charts to deepen students’ understanding of themselves, groups, nations, and historical and literary figures. Sharing their own identity charts with peers can help students build relationships and break down stereotypes. In this way, identity charts can be used as an effective classroom community-building tool.
Before creating identity charts, you might have the class brainstorm categories we each consider when thinking about the question, “Who am I?”—categories such as our role in a family (e.g., daughter, sister, mother), our hobbies and interests (e.g., guitar player, football fan), our background (e.g., religion, race, nationality, hometown, place of birth), and our physical characteristics. If it doesn't come up in discussion as you generate your group list of categories, prompt students with questions that help them think about the following ideas:
It is often helpful to show students a completed identity chart before they create one of their own (see example section below).
Alternatively, you could begin this activity by having students create identity charts for themselves. If you plan to have them share their identity charts with a partner or in groups, it is important that they know in advance. Any students who don't feel comfortable sharing their identity charts can elaborate on one or two facets of their identity but keep their charts private. After discussing their charts, students can create a list of the categories they have used to describe themselves and then apply this same list of categories as a guide when creating identity charts for other people or groups.