My Cultural Identity Essay: A Guide to Writing about Who You are
A cultural identity essay is a paper that you write exploring and explaining how your place of upbringing, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, and family dynamics among other factors created your identity as a person. Even facts such as what activities you took part in as a child can be part of your cultural identity. Your culture identity is ultimately the group of people that you feel that you identify with. The thought process behind this is known as cultural identity theory. To get a better idea of this, take a look at this single paragraph blurb of information that you might see in a culture identity essay. After reading, you can easily write my paper and feel comfortable getting grades as high as you can imagine.
I was born in rural Missouri, but my family moved to St. Louis before I was a year old. My mother is 100 percent Irish and comes from a family that identifies very strongly with Irish culture. My father is Middle Eastern, but was adopted by an English family who moved to the United States when he was 5. We lived in a pretty big house in a subdivision. My parents had two more kids after me, they were both boys as well. My father wasn't religious, but my mom was a practicing Catholic. She went to mass every week. My brothers and I both had first communion and were confirmed, but stopped going to church as teenagers. We weren't really encouraged to play sports because our parents thought we should focus on our studies. They really emphasized math and science. I did well in these classes, but I didn't enjoy them. In high school, I became active in music and theater. Most of my friends were also into that as well. I earned a scholarship to study engineering on the East Coast, but I dropped out as a sophomore. I returned home to study music, needless to say my parents were disappointed. My brothers both pursued careers in technical fields. One is a mechanical engineer and the other is a software engineer. I am close with my family, but we do not have much in common. My circle of friends is fairly varied when it comes to race, ethnicity, religion, and economic background, but it consists almost entirely of people who are artists, musicians, writers, or people involved in those industries.
Keep in mind that your essay may look nothing like this. In our example, the writers choice of career, talents, and interests influenced his cultural identity more than his religious, ethnic background, or family values did. This may not be the case for you. Remember that when you are writing your paper there are no wrong answers. You just have to ask yourself insightful questions and keep the theory of cultural identity in mind as you write. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How did the foods I ate as a child influence my identity
- Did I look different from the kids I went to school with? How did that impact me?
- Did birth order influence who I am as an adult?
- Does my life today match the life I was raised in?
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- Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable for each student
- Who Am I? Example Essay printable for each student
- Expository Essay Rubric printable for each student
- Lesson Exit Survey printable for each student
- Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable for each student
- Optional: projector
1. Write following student task on the board or have it projected for students to view.
Write a well-organized autobiographical essay that tells all about you. Title the piece ‘Who Am I?’ or create your own title. Include details on your:
- Likes and Dislikes
- Goals and Aspirations
- Life-changing Experiences
2. Either make one copy of the Who Am I? Example Essay printable for each student or create your own essay. The latter is recommended to serve as a means of better connecting with your students. If you decide to create your own autobiographical essay, you may want to complete a copy of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable and display it using a projector. Otherwise, display the blank the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable for the class to view together.
3. Print copies of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable, Who Am I? Example Essay printable, Expository Essay Rubric printable, Lesson Exit Survey printable, and Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable for each student.
Step 1: Have students answer the following: What is one word or phrase that you would use to describe yourself? What person or experience do you think made you that way?
Step 2: Inform students that you will be reading a brief piece that will allow them to learn a bit more about you. Read aloud your model autobiographical essay.
Step 3: Reveal and explain the task to students (listed in the "Set Up and Prepare" section above). Distribute the Writing to Inform rubric printables, the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? and Who Am I? Example Essay printables to the students.
Step 4: Review the rubric with the class and make sure that all students understand the requirements of the task. Display a copy of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable on a projector. Then explain how to complete each section of the organizer.
Step 5: Have students complete the first two sections of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable.
Step 6: Students will fill in the remainder of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable independently.
Step 7: After completing the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable, students should use the information to write an essay draft using the Who Am I? Example Essay printable as a model.
- Set students up in partnerships and have them conduct peer revising and editing.
- Plan a publishing party to celebrate student writing. If possible, invite parents and staff. Post student writing throughout the room and allow time for guests to peruse. Allow a few students to orally present their pieces.
Students will ask parents, older siblings, and other members of their household the following question: "How do you feel that living with you influences me?" Instruct students to use the responses of their family members to add details to their "Who Am I" essays.
- Students use completed graphic organizers to write the first draft of their "Who Am I" essays.
- Students use thesauruses to revise their first drafts to make essays more engaging.
Use the Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable to assess student writing.
- Create autobiographical essays
- Use appropriate adjectives to describe themselves
- Use a graphic organizer to plan their written pieces
Students complete the Lesson Exit Survey printable at the conclusion of the lesson.