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Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation
Lessons in Identity
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Lesson Resources

Explore Birth Date and Identity

Explore Culture and Identity

Explore Family and Identity

Explore Migration and Identify

Explore Values and Identity

Coming Soon:

Explore Gender and Identity


Who am I and where do I fit in?
Lesson ideas to explore identity with immigrant students


As a result of our discussions with Somali cultural representatives during the “Strengthening School-Community Connections” project, it became clear to us that teachers of newcomers, and more specifically teachers of Somali newcomers in junior and senior high settings, struggle with helping their students adjust to their new school and culture. We decided that if educators could help youth explore their identities, they could assist students to find their place in their new school, community, and country.


We compiled lessons, handouts and sentence frames (see sidebar at left) as a starting point for teachers who wish to explore identity with their students. The materials are not meant to be a cohesive unit plan, but rather a variety of activities, language structures, and discussion topics from which teachers can develop identity units that suit the needs of their own classes. They are designed for students at both high and low levels of language acquisition.

We divided the topic of identity into six areas:

  • Birthday/Name
  • Deep and Surface Culture
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Migration Experience
  • Values – Canadian Values / My Culture’s Values

The purpose of this project was to compile lessons, handouts, sentence frames and activities that fit into each of these categories. This compilation is not intended to be an exhaustive exploration of the topic of identity, but rather a starting point, and an invitation to other educators to consider their own ideas for helping newcomer youth explore their identity. We recognize that a significant missing piece is lessons that guide newcomer youth’s exploration of their own cultural identity. We hope that this will occur in the classroom through discussions with parents and students, and through the contribution of community representatives and elders who have been invited to the classroom.


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