Building Identity

9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords & Concepts: 

Learners explore personal identity traits and discuss how a community is strengthened by similarities and differences among them. They each write a biographical poem using the provided template and their discussion notes. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • identify attributes and factors that shape personal identity.
  • discuss ways diverse interests and talents contribute to community identity.
  • learner copies of handouts below
  • community: a group of people with shared interests; a place where people with shared interests come together
  • identity: the characteristics and qualities of a person, considered collectively and regarded as essential to that person’s self-awareness


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Brainstorm on chart paper attributes of identity. Record their responses. (Examples: race, gender, national origin, immigration status, education, interests or hobbies, appearance, family, religion, personal experiences, and connections to community) 

    Discuss: What is a respectful way to be curious and learn about people's identities - outward and hidden - so we can know people and our community better?

  2. Distribute copies of the handout: Who Are You? How Do You Identify Yourself? and allow 5 minutes to fill it out about themselves (may be finished later).

  3. Referring to the brainstorm and handout, they each decide and write their most important identity traits in the wheel of the handout: Personal Character Components Wheel.

  4. With the wheels displayed in the room, walk around and read the other wheels to get to know one another's identities. As they compare their identities, they learn about the diverse interests and talents that make up the community. Bring the group back together and discuss.

    • What similarities did you find? How did you feel when you found a similarity with someone that you didn't know about before?
    • What are the benefits of having diverse people in a community?
    • What identity traits are unique to our community? 
    • How do we make our invisible identities show more visibly? Why would someone keep an identity hidden or bring one forward?
    • How can we bring forward and respect our diverse strengths and interests to make our community stronger?
  5. Optional: Use the biopoem handout to write a poem about their identity.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.