This part of the unit can be taught at any time during the year preferably as part of the language arts, reading, or social studies curriculum.
A. Looking at images
This part of the unit will start by exposing to the concept of self-image. A self portrait such as "You don't look porrorican" by Miguel Trelles a Puerto Rican artist (available at: http://feld.hartfort.edu/auca/150/Default.htm) can be used to prompt a discussion about how we perceive ourselves and how that may be in contrast with what others think. The definition and the importance of self image will begin by having students construct in group discussion their own definition of self image and how it influences our own behavior. As part of this discussion students will come up with characteristics they think describe themselves (Who am I?) and will share it with other peers in a 3 to 4 small group discussion. The discussion should focus on each individual member at first and following they will have to come up with a definition on self-concept. To create the definition each group will take into consideration all members' understandings of this concept.
Once the definition is constructed by each small group the following session should included a 10 - 20 minutes lecture on self image and the importance for the development of one's identity. The lecture should also include some information about society and how it shapes its members and specifically about American society and the array of ethnic groups. In discussing this manner I will consult the words of Ogbu, a sociologist who has posed a description on how people become minorities in American society and how this impacts their performance in school and as members of the society.
It is important to expose students to this concepts to give them a sense on how sociologists define the concept of minority and the impact one's reputation in society may have in our self concept. Finally, it is important for students to discuss how all of this may impact their development of identity. An essay on "Who am I?" will be composed. Included in the essays they answer the following questions: "Am I an American and if so how I describe myself as such?, Am I a minority and if so how I describe myself as such?, Do I have to be part of any group of people to be me? Why yes, or Why not?
B. More images
Another activity will be to find images in the internet (such as http://feld.hartfort.edu/auca/150/Default.htm) or books in the library created by Puerto Rican artists such as Miguel Trelles, Imna Arroyo, etc. (it is possible for students who preferred to find African American artist to do so). Images should somehow resemble or reflect self-concept of a group or an individual. The discussions on this work will include our own recollections of self. One activity that may enhance these discussions is creating self-portraits or using a photo as a prompt to describe themselves using poetry.
C. What happens when the U. S. is home?
a book by Nicolasa Mohr will be introduced to the group. To begin we will do some shared reading starting with the teacher reading some excerpt from the book that may be deemed relevant to the discussion of self-concept. Then small group teams will read chapters and discuss them. Each group will have an oral presentation on their chapters; the rest of the group will contribute to the discussion by asking questions and adding comments that may shed further light on the concept of identity. Students at this point will be encouraged to start working on their final projects collecting oral histories from their families about how they arrived to the United States or to New Haven. This is an activity that can be good for both recent immigrants as well as for students who are second or third generation immigrants. For those students who are not aware of being immigrants unless they are Native Americans this should proof to be an interesting search. If they are Native Americans this should be an opportunity to showcase their culture and how are their traditions kept by elders and others in their community.