Pre-Assessment Activity

Who Am I?

Self Identification: This reading activity helps students develop positive self-esteem while remaining sensitive and empathetic to the identity expression of their peers.


1.LD-D.1. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussion, including raising one’s hand, waiting one’s turn, speaking one at a time, and listening politely to the ideas of others.

1.LD-Q.3. Describe familiar objects, people, and events and their attributes with specific words and phrases.

RI.1.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently. 

RF.1.4  a) Read on-level text with purpose and understanding.

b) Read on-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings 


Yangsook Choi, Yangsook “The Name Jar” (New York, NY: Dragon Fly, 2003).

Warm Up

-Prior to any discussion on Civil Rights, have the students complete the "K" portion of their individual KWL chart listing what they already know about Civil Rights.

-Explain to students that just as a portrait is a picture of a person, self-portraits are pictures that artists do of themselves. Artists often use self-portraits to show how they feel about themselves in relation to society.

-Show students the images of self-portraits by well-known artists, all of whom are also people of color.

-Ask students to think about which details in the portrait stand out to them and what ideas the artist might have been trying to get across in their work.  

New Material

self concept

self esteem

self worth


1. Ask students to work independently to make lists of things they would like to show about themselves through self-portraits. These might be individual characteristics, or they might be stereotype-fighting features with regard to a particular identity group they feel that they belong to. Give students the chance to share their lists with friends and talk about how they might use a self-portrait to show these messages or ideas.

2. For the rest of the period, give each student paper, a small mirror (Note: Groups of students can also share a mirror if you do not have access to many of them), and colored pencils, paints or the art supplies of your choice. Allow them to work on self-portraits that show themselves, including aspects of them that are important for them to communicate.

3. Give students time to share their work at the end of the period, even if it is a work in progress. Make sure to find time for students to complete these activist self-portraits, and display them in your classroom or school.


Use a Venn Diagram to compare/contrast student Portraits

Closure and Reflection

Identifying personal features and characteristics can be done using art and language. Both are tools of expression that can be utilized to reflect and express who you are.