[Note: All additional sections of our Honoring Our Journey set are at bottom of this page.]



Who am I? The answer to this question may seem obvious, yet in reality it is incredibly complex. Adolescents in today’s diverse society often struggle with the concept of identity as they wonder about who they are, who they want to be, how they want to represent themselves in a larger community and how they are represented. They begin to see themselves as unique individuals with a desire to belong.

This introductory unit will encourage students ages to think critically about issues of identity while supporting student learning in a safe and nurturing environment. As students explore their own identity and family and community cultures, they will be able to empathize more fully with the ethnic communities that are included in this curriculum. Thus, it is hoped that all students will be able to “honor the journey” both similar and unique, of other students that make up their school and community, and perhaps learn more about their own backgrounds as well.

The Honoring Our Journey curriculum modules on Indian/South Asian Americans, Cambodian Americans, Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, and Vietnamese Americans will also deepen understandings about the diverse student populations in the Pacific Northwest. These subgroups of Asian Americans are selected because they are often missing from American history and social studies curriculum.

Subject Areas 

Social Studies, World Literature, Family and Oral History


  • Students will explore the concept of identity and identity formation.
  • Students will recognize similarities and differences between themselves and their classmates.
  • Students will recognize bias and stereotypes and understand their impact on identity formation and media representation of non-mainstream communities.
  • Students will understand that there are multiple perspectives and interpretations of events, and that certain voices are often absent from mainstream texts.
  • Students will be better prepared to study American ethnic communities and their relationships and interactions with the broader mainstream American population with sensitivity and empathy.


  • This unit will take 5 sessions to effectively complete, with each session lasting at least 45 minutes long.
  • The lessons can be used consecutively during a week or incorporated into existing curriculum once a week over 5 weeks.
  • Following this introductory unit, teachers may teach all of the units on: Cambodian Americans, Indian/South Asian Americans, Filipino Americans, Vietnamese Americans or select one or two units.

Standards Considered

Washington State Social Studies Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALR) and Grade Level Expectation (GLE), and Common Core are considered in selecting learning contents. According to EALRs, adolescent students are ready to deepen their understanding of the Earth and its peoples through the study of history, geography, politics, culture, and economic systems.

1.3: Understands the purposes and organization of international relationships and United States foreign policy.
1.4: Understands civic involvement.
2.1: Understands that people have to make choices between wants and needs and evaluate the outcomes of those choices.
2.4: Understands the economic issues and problems that all societies face.
3.2: Understands human interaction with the environment.
3.3: Understands the geographic context of global issues.
4.1: Understands historical chronology.
4.2: Understands and analyzes the causal factors that have shaped major events in history.
4.3: Understands that there are multiple perspectives and interpretations of historical events.
4.4: Uses history to understand the present and plan for the future.
5.1: Uses critical reasoning skills to analyze and evaluate positions.
5.2: Uses inquiry-based research.
5.4: Creates a product that uses social studies content to support a thesis and presents the product in an appropriate manner to a meaningful audience.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Social Studies-History are considered and included in the units.
I. Knowledge of Students:
Accomplished teachers understand the cognitive, physical, and social development of young people and the diversity among them, observe them insightfully, and use this information to guide their practice and to form constructive relationships with the students they teach.
II. Valuing Diversity:
Accomplished teachers understand that each student brings diverse perspectives to any experience. These teachers encourage all students to know and value themselves and others.
V. Promoting Social Understanding
Accomplished teachers promote in their students an understanding of how the social aspects of the human condition have evolved over time, the variations in societies that occur in different physical environments and cultural settings, and the emerging trends that seem likely to shape the future.
VI. Developing Civic Competence
Accomplished teachers develop in their students the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be responsible citizens of a constitutional democracy.
VII. Instructional Resources
Accomplished teachers select, adapt, and create rich and varied resources for social studies and history and use them productively.
VIII. Learning Environments:
Accomplished teachers create and foster for students dynamic learning environments characterized by trust, equity, risk taking, independence, and collaboration.
IX. Assessment
Accomplished teachers employ a variety of assessment methods to obtain useful information about student learning and development and assist students in reflecting on their own progress.
X. Reflection
Accomplished teachers reflect on their practice, on students’ performance, and on developments in their field to steadily extend their knowledge, improve their teaching, and refine their philosophy of education.
XI. Family Partnerships:
Accomplished teachers understand and value the distinctive role of parents and guardians, and they continually seek opportunities to build strong partnerships with them.
XII. Professional Contributions:
Accomplished teachers regularly work with others to foster the growth and development of their colleagues, their school, and their field.

Professional Certification Standards for teachers in Washington State are also considered and included in the units.
1. The knowledge and skills for effective teaching which ensures student learning by:
Using instructional strategies that make learning meaningful and show positive impact on student learning
Using a variety of assessment strategies and data to monitor and improve instruction
Designing and/or adapting challenging curriculum that is based on the diverse needs of each student
Demonstrating cultural sensitivity in teaching and in relationships with students, families, and community members
Informing, involving, and collaborating with families and community members as partners in each student’s educational process, including using information about student achievement and performance.
2. A successful candidate for the professional certificate shall demonstrate professional contributions to the improvement of the school, community, and the profession by:
Advocating for curriculum, instruction, and learning environments that meet the diverse needs of each student.

Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs)
After completing the unit, teachers may consider using the content of the presented curriculum to fulfill the Washington State Classroom-Based Assessment for grades 5-9th. The topics are listed in each unit.



HOJ Lesson 1: What is Identity?

HOJ Lesson 2: Name Poems

HOJ Lesson 3: Identity Collage

HOJ Lesson 4: Identity and the Media

HOJ Lesson 5: 5-Corner Model

Learn more and book your educational experiences here.