Friday, April 8, 2016

Respect: Ms. Birkett's Stereotype Exercise

Ms. Birkett’s English I honors class recently spent a week exploring the world of stereotypes and identities prior to reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Students were asked to read and/or watch and analyze specific poems, articles, and videos surrounding stereotypes that many people face. Then, they applied the literature to their own lives by creating identity charts and looked at how they define themselves - and how many of these factors they could or could not control. The class discussed how stereotypes, judgments, and assumptions are formed from a variety of different factors - including gender, age, height, weight, hair color, race, religion, interests, friend groups, location, social class, and so forth. To conclude the unit, students completed the stereotype vs. identity profile summative assessment, where they wrote the stereotypes they have personally faced on the outside a face’s profile, and how they truly identify themselves on the inside of the profile. Students were overwhelmingly open, accepting, and willing to share with their classmates; this assignment helped foster a positive and respectful classroom learning environment as well as prepare students for the stereotypes and discrimination found in Lee’s novel.

Essential questions: What are stereotypes and identities and what factors influence both? What stereotypes have I faced in my lifetime and how do they differ from my true identity? How greatly do stereotypes influence how I live my life?