Exploring Labels and Social Identities
Age/Experience Level: All ages/experiences.
Things to Prep & Tools Needed: Students in a circle so they can see one another.
Time: 5 minutes – 25 minutes, depending on group size.
- Overview: Players sit in a circle and complete the statement “I am…” as fully as possible without stopping. When they pause, the next player picks it up immediately. For example, someone might say, “I am a daughter, writer, reader, friend, tutor, painter, actor, student, cousin, dancer, collector…” and then when they pause the next player speaks in a similar way.
- Objectives: This activity invites students to engage with the labels that we choose for ourselves. Labels that we call ourselves are not a bad thing; they help us form connections and share our lives with other people.
- About the Activity: There should be no pressure for students to openly identify with any LGBTQ+ identities in this time, or other more sensitive identities, though the space is open if they choose to do so.
- Follow-Up/Extensions: This can be a warm-up activity leading into talking more about LGBTQIA identities. Every letter in LGBTQIA stands for a label of an identity. These labels are all valid ways to express oneself, and there can be many more. These labels are a part of who people are, but they are likely to have many other labels they identify as also. This can lead into the concept of talking about “intersectionality” and how multiple identities of a person can interact in unique ways.
“What Do We Already Know?”
Building Collective Knowledge
Age/Experience Level: Any age/experience level, select terms accordingly.
Things to Prep & Tools Needed: 5 sticky notes per term for each student.
A list of potential terms to use with this exercise include: Gender, Transgender, Cisgender, Nonbinary, Intersex, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Asexual, Intersectionality. (These terms are further defined on our “Gender Neutral Language and Vocabulary for Educators” Handout.)
Time: 15 – 20 minutes, depending on number of terms and length of the follow-up conversation.
- Overview: Facilitator writes a few terms on the board or around the classroom on large sheets of paper. Students get 5 sticky notes each per term and a pen or pencil. Students write what they know about each term and the notes are collected and placed with their correlating term. As a classroom, led by the instructor, evaluate together what the group already knows about each term. You may find you want to update or questions certain cards. You may also move cards around as appropriate or introduce new terms as needed.
- Objectives: This exercise allows the knowledge of a classroom to be examined without judgement of individual ideas. The facilitator is able to point out misconceptions and to fill in gaps in knowledge through discussion or additional materials.
- About the Activity: This activity can be used for discussing vocabulary of many kinds, not just LGBTQ+ identities. It can be used at the beginning of a lesson to gauge students’ initial understandings of these concepts, or it can be used at the end of a lesson or after an About Face performance to review what students have learned.
- Follow-Up/Extensions: If there are terms the class seems particularly confused by, further research on that topic would be helpful. About Face’s education page offers other resources for further exploring terms, such as a Youtube playlist with videos that engage these identities. If this activity takes place before a visit from an About Face Outreach show, you can take note of questions and direct them to the Outreach cast at their talkback.