Identification Button Making
Students are given paper cutout circles and given the following prompt: “If you could visually represent your identity using something other than your name what would you include? What would tell your story?” They are asked to create a pin-on button that shows who they are and to include as many elements of their identity as they feel comfortable sharing. The instructor then takes the paper circle and makes it into a button pin. After each student has completed their button they share with the class what images they used to represent themselves.
Alternatively, students could create stickers or name plates given the same instructions.
What is the Objective?
To create a visual representation of one’s personal identity; to collect knowledge on the identity of classroom members in order to foster community-building.
ULLG: Cultural understanding and effective communication
CCSS: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Why is This Important?
It is important when crafting a classroom culture for students’ individual identities to be represented. In order for a teacher to best serve their students, they need to have some understanding of who their students are. Students should should feel free in their classroom culture to express their identities and bring their outside lives, knowledge, and literacies into the classroom.
This activity is a part of the Diversity in the Making workshop as part of the Beyond Insights workshop series. This workshop seeks to offer all students participating a chance to understand the uniqueness of their own and others’ Diversity. Students engage in an assortment of creative, collaborative projects, ranging across a variety of media to surface their commonly shared struggles, languages and cultural assets.
The workshop’s guiding question is:
How do we come to create together a classroom and a school climate where all of us matter and are valued equally?
What Do I Need?
Markers, paper circle cut-outs, button-making machine with plastic laminate and metal backings.
This activity was created and run as a part of the Beyond Insights workshop series. The series, done in partnership with the Creative Exploratory at Michigan State University, brings 100 Lansing 6th graders to MSU’s campus one day a week for five weeks to encourage students to explore creativity, innovation, arts, and culture. The experience also encourages students to interact with the local university community and consider college as an option after high school. Students work with MSU Faculty, Creative Exploratory Fellows, the MSU Writing Center, and the MSU Center for Language Teaching Advancement in order to build a holistic understanding of creativity through design and communication, storytelling in writing and video, culture and identity, and digital media. All of the activities were created and run by preservice teachers and MSU faculty with the input of the students’ classroom teachers. More information about the workshop can be found at the link below.