Two young students stand at the front of the classroom displaying objects while the teacher smiles at them.

Develop Literacy Skills and Civic Competency: Plan an Identity Artifact Museum Activity

Identity cannot be found or fabricated but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go.

– Doug Cooper


“Do Something” performance tasks ask students to demonstrate their anti-bias awareness and civic competency by applying their literacy and social justice knowledge in an authentic real-world context.

Identity is a core foundation of anti-bias education. Students should see elements of their identities reflected in their classrooms and schools.

The below activity provides students with the resources, time, and strategies necessary to reflect upon and better understand aspects of their own identities and those of others.

ACTIVITY: Identity Artifact Museum

Students create a display of artifacts to represent aspects of their identities.

Estimated time: 2-3 weeks
Suggested Grade Level: K-2

PURPOSE

Students begin to understand the many aspects and layers of their identities in a healthy and positive way. Young children in particular need to learn that all the elements making up an individual are valuable. An identity artifacts museum allows students to explore who they are. They also learn about and appreciate their classmate’s identities.

STEPS

 

Assess for materials and resources students can use to create their identity artifacts. If possible, coordinate with an art teacher. Consider securing the following:

  • Recycled materials
  • Clay
  • Colored pencils
  • Paints
  • Magazines

Review themes or topics from the central text that connect to identity.

Brainstorm and review aspects of identity with students, including social identifiers/identity group descriptors outlined by the Framework for Anti-bias Education such as:

  • Ability/disability
  • Culture
  • Family structure
  • Gender
  • Language
  • National origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Socioeconomic status

Have students brainstorm different aspects of their own identities.

Model the process of creating an artifact to represent an identity aspect (e.g., a cross, a four– leaf clover, etc.). Have students prepare decorations and illustrations that connect to bulletin board themes and topics.

Allow students time to work on their identity artifacts. Students can create artifacts to represent a single aspect of their identity or multiple aspects. As a class, plan how the bulletin board will be arranged.

Have students write descriptions about how one or more of their artifacts represent(s) their identity.

DISPLAY

1. Display the artifacts and their accompanying descriptions in a “museum” format.

2. Facilitate a “gallery walk” through the museum

  • Students walk around and first look at artifacts quietly.
  • Students can leave comments on sticky notes or deliver them orally.

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