"My Mission, Our Mission" Identity Patch

Students will complete a biographical activity using information unique to the student’s culture and interests
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About This Strategy

In this strategy, students create a personal identity mission patch in order to develop a visual representation of their interests and cultural uniqueness. The identity mission patch can be used by the teacher as a means of getting to know students and to build a caring community within the class at the beginning of the school year. 

Implementation Steps

  1. In order to support students to develop their own personal identity mission patch, have them complete a biographical inventory like “Bio-Poem”, included in the resource section below. 

    • If necessary, consider modifying this step to include more culturally relevant questions like those found in the “Some Questions to Ask About Culture” resource linked below.

    • Model completing the Bio-Poem (or teacher’s preferred biographical inventory) form as the teacher.  Be sure to include those culturally relevant questions and answers in the modeling, as completing the entire inventory may be too time consuming.

  2. Explain to students that they will be using information from the Bio-Poem to develop an Identity Mission Patch.  Introduce Mission Patches to the students using the Mission Patch video linked below. Also, show students the teacher example of a mission patch and ask what the students think the patch says about the teacher.

  3. Have students develop a mission patch that will represent them.  Give the students time to make a rough draft of their drawing before they produce the final version.  Students should:

    • Decide on the shape of their mission patch.

    • Decide what images will represent the information given for the Bio-Poem categories chosen.

    • Decide on the background colors of their mission patch.

    • Include first and last names within the mission patch.

    • Include culturally significant images in their patch.

    • Be sure to adhere to work quality and coloring guideline expectations.

  4. Have students write a short paragraph describing all the elements of their patch and their meanings as to how they relate to them.

  5. Students should discuss their mission patch with their family's so as to give insight to the family about connections being made in the classroom.

  6. Have students present the mission patch they made to the class in order to teach the class about themselves.

  7. Highlight at least one unique piece of information or image from each student by choosing an image from each student’s identity patch. Then put all of the selected images representing each student into a mission patch for each class and print in color to display throughout the school year.

Teacher Tips

  • Develop a Mission Patch to introduce the teacher to the new students and introduce the project to the students. 

  • Using the strategy for pre-writers will give an opportunity to involve family.

    • Send the Bio-Poem document home and ask parents to discuss, record, and begin to draw student information to help the pre-writers represent their words.

    •  Complete the strategy in the classroom having students introduce themselves to the class with their mission patch.

  • Mission patches can be used as an assessment tool for any content area.  Students will represent characteristics or information about a topic using images that can help explain a topic.  For example, a simple electrical circuit could be represented by:

      • Triangular shape represents three components of a simple electrical circuit

      • Red background represents danger or energy

      • Images that represent the different components of a simple circuit

          • Light bulb, motor, fan, speaker, etc. as the load

          • Wire, metal strip, aluminum foil, etc. as the conductor

          • Battery, cell, potato, etc. as the energy source

      • Write a summary that explains the mission patch

    • Science:  Space mission, Types of forces, Types of heat, Electrical circuits, etc.

    • ELA:  Character identification, plot summary, to identify characteristics of different types of writing, etc.

    • Math:  Geometrical shape characteristics, to identify characteristics of different types of shapes, etc.

    • Social Studies:  Leader or population identification, to identity important details of significant historical events, to identify characteristics of different types, regions, etc.

Identity Patches in Distance or Blended Learning

It is important to show students that their individual identities are important to the classroom as a whole.  Using tech tools to help students create identity patches in a blended classroom is a great way to honor students’ backgrounds and create class community.

  1. As stated in the strategy, allow students an opportunity to first write about themselves by creating a bio poem or by answering questions about their identity and culture. They will use imagery from this poem or questionnaire to create their patches. 

  2. Choose a digital platform that students can use to create an identity patch. Students could create one identity slide using Google Slides or PowerPoint to pull in pictures and other symbols that represent their identity. 

  3. If students prefer to draw digitally, they can use Jamboard through Google or Ziteboard.

  4. Allow students an opportunity to share their patches with the class. If time is an issue, each student can share about one of the symbols on the patch.

  5. Make the completed digital patches available for the class to view online. Perhaps create a shared folder or post the links on one Google Document.

  6. Periodically, it could be helpful to have students go into the folder, select another student’s patch, and share what they learned about their classmate by reviewing the patch.