This year in after school, we've made a conscious effort to weave more diversity, equity, and inclusion work into our everyday routines and practices. We are very fortunate to have this blog as a platform to share all the wonderful projects and activities that are happening after school but also as a platform to expand those practices.
We started an identity-based article series earlier this year called "I am..." For these articles, I interview a student from each of the grades we see in PM (K-4), and I ask them about their identity. They complete the sentence "I am..." with different descriptors that they think best represent who they are.
To start off, I ask the student if they know what the word identity means. This particular third grader said, "Identity is what you're made of. It can be your genes or just who you are. For example, I identify as a girl."
After that extremely thoughtful and insightful response, she began writing down her list of descriptors. She wrote down many things very quickly. She knows herself well and knows the hobbies and the qualities that she feels really describe her best. Her answers ranged from "I am a dancer" to "I am a builder" to "I like ice cream."
Once she felt like she was done writing, I asked her, "If I covered up your name, would other people who know you know it's you?" She said her brother, her parents, and her friends would definitely know. She said her teachers, her classmates, and her soccer team would probably know too. She said, "Everyone knows that she's a singer, dancer, and actor. Everyone knows that's who I am."
I also asked, "For someone who doesn't know who you are, do you think they would imagine someone like you if they read your answers?" And she said she thinks so. She also said that since these are her favorite things to do, it says a lot about her.
She was proud of her answers and proud to share who she was on a piece of paper. She's a complex person, but we talked about how it can feel great to have so many hobbies and so many things you're interested in. We enjoyed our conversation together, and she said she enjoyed this activity. Once we had wrapped up our discussion, she even said, "You don't realize how many things you are until you write it down!"
We hope you enjoyed this installment of the "I am..." article series! Stay tuned for our last two articles in this series when we feature a first grader and a fourth grader.