Who We Are: Identity in First Grade
First Graders explore themes of identity through a biological and anthropological lens, asking, “What makes me me?”
By Molly Treadway, First Grade Head Teacher
We have begun a new unit for Project Time. For this unit we are anthropologists, studying something we already know a lot about: ourselves! We began with a conversation about what a student might need to feel safe studying themselves. Here is what we came up with:
Students are grappling with the questions: “What makes us, us?”, “What makes me, me and you, you?” Students had many interesting ideas:
We then focused on our outsides – what you can tell about us just from looking at us. We started by looking closely at our skin color. Inspired by the books The Colors of Us by Karen Katz and All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger, we mixed our unique skin shade using powders that represent the different pigments present in our skin.
Students followed a skin “recipe”:
Color testing: There’s no way to make a color that is exactly ours, so we just tried to get “ish.”
We then thought about our skin: what is its function? (Answers: to protect us; hold us in; keep us safe.) How did we get our color? (Answers: the sun; our parents; how warm or cold a place our birth ancestors came from; how active the melanin in our skin is.) Finally, students wrote about their own skin, using books and the world around us, and chose a name for their unique shade.
At home, students engage in conversations about their family’s identity:
- What makes your family unique?
- What things did your family inherit from your ancestors – birth or chosen?
- What are traditions, celebrations or ways of treating each other that are special to you?
Posted January 17, 2018