Cultural Identity Tree
- Reflect on different parts of their identity, such as major accomplishments, hopes and dreams, and important traditions
- Create and share a cultural identity tree, and learn more about others’ identity, perspective, and past experiences
According to research, students who are able to identify more developmental assets (e.g., caring and supportive relationships, positive values, and self-esteem) are more likely to report outcomes related to wellbeing, such as academic success, physical and mental health, and resilience. Educators should guide students to practice self-awareness and mindfulness as they identify and share different aspects of their identity, and reflect on assets that foster feelings of pride, gratitude, and comfort.
To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Art materials (e.g., pens, pencils, markers, crayons, and paint)
- "Cultural Identity Tree" handout
- Engage students in a discussion about identity. You might explain: "Our identity makes us “us”. It includes who we are, who others say we are, and who we hope to be. It also includes who we are at home, at school, and in our community! Our identity is made up of our culture, experiences, beliefs, personality, hobbies, and so much more. What else do you think our identity includes?”
- Distribute a copy of the “Cultural Identity Tree” handout to each student, and ask them to create their own cultural identity tree that depicts different parts of their identity. Students should start by drawing a tree, and then follow the instructions to add major accomplishments, hopes and dreams, strengths, values, and other aspects of their identity.
- Invite students to share their cultural identity trees with each other, and engage them in a reflection by asking the following questions:
• How is our identity shaped by the way we see ourselves, as well as how others see us? How is it shaped by our family and community?
• As you look at your cultural identity tree, what stands out to you? What feelings do you notice?
• What parts of your cultural identity tree spark feelings of pride, gratitude, and comfort? How can you strengthen or use these personal resources even more?
• What parts of your identity might be surprising to others?
• Describe the experience of sharing your cultural identity tree with your classmates. What was something interesting or surprising that you discovered about someone else? How did this experience make you feel?
Examples of Cultural Identity Trees
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.