Lesson 3: Identity Collage

Exploring Individual Identity



  • Students will explore and represent their identity through collage



  • Have students bring in newspaper clippings, magazines, photos, small items, etc. that they feel reflect aspects of their identity (assignment from Lesson Two).
  • Provide stiff poster paper for each student
  • Glue sticks, Elmer’s Glue and/or tape
  • Markers



Students will create pieces of art to express, as best as possible, how they see themselves and how others perceive them. This assignment allows students the opportunity for self-analysis and self-expression. Often times, teachers find it difficult to assess student artwork. However, having a clear rubric and sharing the rubric with the students will make it easier to assess student artwork objectively.


Note to Teacher: A collage (From the French: coller, to glue) is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. This term was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art. A collage may include newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored or hand-made papers, portions of other artwork, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of groundbreaking novelty.


After discussing what a collage is, introduce the rubric to students so that they will know how their collage will be evaluated when they are finished. Once the students are finished, have them team up with a peer and assess each other’s collage according to the questions from the rubric, as well as individually answer the Self Assessment questions.



  • What can you say about the artist’s identity by looking at the collage?
  • Is the idea she wanted to show easy to see or understand?
  • Did she show enough details to express what she had in mind?
  • What moods does the finished product express?
  • Could she make some part(s) more interesting or more expressive? How?




Self Assessment:

  • Are you satisfied with your artwork? Explain.
  • Did you enjoy making your artwork and why or why not?
  • What have you learned about yourself in the process of doing this artwork?
  • What have you learned about identity for others from this lesson?


Students can present their finished projects to the class and discuss them. Each student should share an evaluation of his or her own artwork.



Extension Activity: Identity and Culture


Provide the following definitions of “culture” to the students:


“Culture consists of the behavior patterns, symbols, institutions, values, and other human-made components of society.” (Banks, 1997, p. 62)



Culture consists of “organized activities one engages in to obtain possessions, recognition, power, satisfaction or other socially approved goals.” (Trueba, Jacobs, and Kirton, 1990, p. 12)


Have students think about their name poems and their identity collages and try to make connections to their own cultures. The following questions can be a starting point and also a guide for a written assignment for students to delve deeper into the relationships between home culture and mainstream American culture and the effects of culture on their identity formation and self image:

  • What tangible or visible aspects of your home culture are a part of your identity collage or name poems, if any? (Examples of tangible culture would be food, collectibles, artifacts or toys, clothing, body adornment, etc.)
  • What invisible aspects of your home culture are a part of your identity? (Examples of invisible culture would be beliefs and values, gender roles, rituals or celebration rites, etc.).
  • What aspects of your identity comes from outside the home such as from school, society, media, etc?
  • How do these different aspects of your identity work together or conflict?
  • How do these differences or similarities of culture affect your image of yourself and your self-esteem?



Banks, James A. (1997). Teaching Strategies for Ethnic Studies. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.


Trueba, H.T., Jacobs, L., & Kirton, E. (1990). Cultural conflict and adaptation: The case of the Hmong children in American society. New York, NY: The Falmer Press.


Learn more and book your educational experiences here.