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Lesson 1: Self Identity


Purpose: Students will reflect on their identities and develop understanding of cultural differences. (self-awareness, social awareness, social engagement)

LIA Themes: Cultural Enrichment

Setting the Stage

Display the quote on the board and have students respond to one of the prompts as they get in their seats. 

OPTIONAL: Play culturally relevant music as students enter the class.

OPTIONAL: Lead students in a midline crossing activity. Use Educational Kinesiology document to find useful resources. 

45-90 minute lesson


Students will

  • Offer cultural knowledge as an asset to teachers (1.1.C.)
  • Research their personal heritage to identify and validate their biculturalism (2.3.C)
  • Identify personal positive attributes, marketable skills, and talents. (3.1.B)
  • Acquire and reflect on the cultural traditions passed down to them (4.2.A)
  • Share ideas about their own and others’ lived experiences (WIDA ELD SI.4-12.Narrate)
  • Generate questions about different perspectives (WIDA ELD SI.4-12.Argue)


Lesson 1 Self Identity

R.01 Slide Deck

Review objectives of the lesson with students (slide #5)
As students take their seats

Students will respond to the prompt in their journal / daily worksheet. Prompt suggestions:

  • What stands out about this quote?
  • What is something unique about you?
  • In your own words – what does this mean?

Provide 2-5 minutes for students to write their reflections. Display a timer on the board if able. 

OPTIONAL: Ask students to share reflections. They can pair-share, group-share in tables, or volunteer responses to the class. 

For virtual class: 

  • Use a FlipGrid, LMS discussion board, or other platform to collect student responses. 
  • Allow for students to use the chat, a discussion board, or unmute their microphones to share their responses with the class. 


R.01 Slide Deck
Lesson steps

  • (I do) Ask students to think of identity factors that someone might have (slide #6)
  • (We do) Watch The Cultural Iceberg (slide #7)
  • (I do, We do) Explain the Cultural Iceberg (slide #8) and have students provide additional “deep culture” characteristics. 
  • (We do, You do) Have students write down some of their visible and invisible factors (Surface and Deep Cultural Factors worksheet)

Reflection: WHAT? | SO WHAT? | NOW WHAT? (slide #10)

Initiate a brief discussion using the questions below: 

  • What? What were your thoughts and feelings as you participated in this activity? (Self-Awareness)
  • So what? Why do you think it is important to consider the cultural iceberg? (Social Awareness)
  • Now what? What will you do with what you learned about surface and deep culture today? (Responsible Decision-Making)

Lesson closure 

  • (You do)  Students will write words they would use to describe themselves. (Slide #11)
    OPTION: Have students share examples out loud 

SEL EXTENSION: ask students to consider which factors have influenced or shaped their identity and how they interact with others. 

  • (You do) (slide #12)Distribute blank frame printout to students. Offer stickers, arts and crafts, magazines to cut out and place on the frame. 

Virtual Class Adaptations:  

  • Conduct the lesson on an established LMS or use tools such as FlipGrid, Canvas, Miro, Google Classroom, or other interactive platform. 
  • Create a padlet and allow students to type their culture sentence into the padlet. 
  • Invite students to use the chat option to share their responses. 


Students respond to one of the following prompts

  1. How can the cultural iceberg help you understand people better?
  2. How can the cultural iceberg help you understand yourself better? 

EXTENSION: have students respond to both prompts. 

In Person Class Assessment Options:

  • Write responses on a sticky note and place them in a designated space in the classroom. 
  • Write in a journal / daily worksheet. 
  • Share out loud/with their groups

Virtual Class Assessment Options:

  • Discussion assignment on LMS.
  • Virtual board such as jamboard, miro, Zoom Whiteboard, or…
  • Create a video on Flipgrid or Canvas and answer the questions from the LIA Reflection sheet (English / Spanish)



  • Present the activities in the order that best fits your class. Take as long as you need to develop meaningful reflections from students. 
  • Conduct the lesson in Spanish or have a student(s) translate the slides. 


  • Vocabulary support. See R.01 Vocabulary Slide Deck 
  • Students enhance vocabulary by using a search engine or thesaurus to find synonyms for their descriptive words. 
  • Students present their frames to the class or in small groups. 
  • Conduct a Socratic Seminar or small group discussions on the following prompts. There are no right or wrong answers, and it is important to provide a safe space for students to answer honestly.  
    • Ask for examples of classroom community and school community. How are they similar or different? 
    • What are some of the surface culture things (like rules, school motto, mascot, name etc) and what are some of the deep culture things (ways of being, history). 
    • How can we build community in our school?
  • Conduct research on Jennifer Lopez. 



Identity Surface Culture Deep Culture

Competencies and Skills

21st Century Skills Skills for Learning and Life
Critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, social skills Self-Awareness, Self-Identity, Social Awareness, Social Engagement

Lesson Materials 

R.01 Slide Deck

blank frame printout

Surface and Deep Cultural Factors worksheet