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Pathmaps: ID Me
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For: Upper School
Pathmaps Points: Values and Beliefs, Relationships, Self Knowledge

Summary: "ID me" is an activity designed to uncover and explore how pervasive and invasive stereotypes are for high school students. It is a process of acting toward others rather than acting out.

Materials: Sticky notes with labels already written on them, and a wide open space for students to stand in two concentric circles

This is an ACTING identity activity, however, it is not that the student will ACT like his or her label, but rather how he or she will act toward others. It may be used to launch a discussion of stereotypes; it requires that the class has already built a level of trust in order to explore more deeply the ideas and expressions that either enhance the sense of self or deplete it.

Attach an ID label to each student’s back.

Some ideas for labels:

Punk
Football player
Hippie
School Drop-Out
Straight A student
Soldier
Environmentalist
Rancher
Organic Farmer
Blonde
Mexican
Gangster
Biker
Skate Boarder
Partier
Nerd
Video/computer gamer
Rich
Poor
Teenager
Old person(70+)
Foreigner
American
Jock
Cheerleader
Homeless person
Feminist
Democrat
Republican
Skinny person
Fat person
Prep
Rodeo cowboy/girl
Goth
Emo
Mama’s Boy
Redneck
Snob

The students' role is to treat others as though they are the label that is on their back, NOT to guess their own label and act like it. After labels have been affixed, students can mingle or stand in two concentric circles. Each person needs to interact with at least 5 people, and each interaction consists of one or two comments from both people toward the other person, based solely on the label. Students should direct their comments toward the other people in the group only, and refrain from verbally reacting or responding to comments made to them. Ask students to not guess their label until the group comes back together to discuss.
After the students circulate or fishbowl, have them come back to a big circle.

Ask each student:
What do you think your label is and what told you that?
What did it feel like to be treated this way? Positive? Negative?
What was it like to not be able or allowed to respond to the comments made toward you?

For discussion:
What is a stereotype?
Where do they come from? (labels, associations, assumptions, generalizations)
Are they always bad or wrong?
How does this activity relate to what happens when you meet people for the first time?
How does this activity relate to making friends?

Activity: Share a time with the group that you have felt labeled or you have labeled someone else.
What can we do to change this cycle of labeling?

Closure: Turn to your neighbors and thank them and recognize one thing about them that is not related to how they look.

 

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