Grades 3-5
Grades 6-8
Social Studies

My Identity: Open Mic

Read a set of identity poems written by authors from different backgrounds, and then ask students to write and share their own poetry.

Activity Partner
Total time estimate:
Activity Objectives
  • Students will read poetry written by authors from different backgrounds, which depict how they perceive themselves and factors that influence their identity
  • Then, students will write their own identity poem by choosing what to share about themselves and experimenting with different literary tools and techniques
  • Finally, students will listen to their classmates' poetry, and learn more about their background, experiences, and perspectives

This activity supports the development of the following social-emotional skills: self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.


Ask students to read examples of poems revolving around the theme of identity and discuss the questions below in pairs or groups. You might choose to focus on a set of poems as a class, or have groups/pairs tackle different poems and then share their reflections with the class.

  • What did you learn about the authors’ identities through their poems? What are their values, fears, passions, joys, sources of pride, goals, etc.? 
  • How do they view themselves? How do they view the world?
  • What factors influence how these poets understand their identity (e.g., family, personal values, community, experiences, friends, ethnicity, culture, etc.)?
  • What literary tools are they using to describe their identity? What messages do these tools convey about their identity?
  • Do you see any elements of yourself/your identity in the poems you read?
  • Did these poems make you think differently about your own identity or that of others?
  • What parts of your identity would you share in your own poem?

Poetry examples:

Note: for more poems, reading guides, and lesson plans, visit or


Have students write their own poems about their identities. Challenge them to use some of the literary tools they observed in the poems they read, and encourage them to get creative!


Hold an Open Mic event and invite students to read their poems aloud or perform them in front of the class. You might also choose to hold a larger event with other classes or organize a virtual Open Mic event with your Empatico partner class! Alternatively, ask students to record themselves reading or performing their poems, and collect their videos through a digital tool (e.g., Flipgrid or Wakelet) to share with parents or your partner class.

This activity was created in partnership with CommonLit.

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