This is ME & I Matter!

The more we know about ourselves, the more we are able to identify what matters to us and advocate for a better tomorrow.

Photo of Nicole Ayala
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                                                    This is ME & I Matter in a BOX

This is ME & I Matter box contents

* Camera/recording device
* Prompt suggestions to start conversations
* Pencils
* Paper
* Data

Student Quote on This is ME & I Matter

"I had no idea how much it meant to me. I hadn't thought about the effect it had on me until I had to. I guess that really thinking about it gave me something to fight for. It gave me a chance to look inside myself and discover my own passions as well as my own problems. I don't know if it made me more "human" talking about it but it definitely made me feel vulnerable and encouraged me to build myself up again in a stronger image. A louder, more passionate, more true image. It broke down walls of anger and resentment I never knew existed.  It helped me become proud of who I was. Brown is beautiful, and looking at this video, it's blatantly obvious. It makes me proud to be latino. Proud to have a voice. It definitely wasn't easy, telling people parts of yourself, people you might not even know. Who knows how they'll react. But if we can build up the courage to speak, others will listen."

Brian Flores Garcia
David Douglas High School Alum
Class of 2016

Coming soon:  This is ME and I Matter in BOX

A prototype that will show everything you need to implement/apply: This is Me & I Matter straight away

Overview: (What’s this idea about)

This idea is about developing self identity by empowering students to discover what they care about and take action.

Potential For Impact: (Why is this an idea that promotes continued growth?)

This idea promotes continued growth because it fostering a sense of self gives the video participate confidence in their choices, and improves resilience and academic achievement . Audience members are witness to the truth and vulnerability of the student experience as they see the world through someone else’s eyes. In that moment, they have learned how to be empathic.

Value Prop/Pitch: (How would you pitch this to other teachers in your school? Your principal? Etc)

In our diverse school setting it’s easy to look around and say, “I love our school’s diversity”. I question how much we or our students know about each other. It is hard to make space for these discussion in class, but it is an important part developmental stage for adolescents. Students who feel safe and are able to share who they are will feel valued and understood by their classmates and teachers. This can give students the confidence to raise their hand, speak up and be an active part of our school community.

How’d I get this idea off the ground?

Counselor(s), administrators or TOSAs can look at the school-wide disaggregated data to see where this is an achievement gap, attendance and/or behavior issues. At the most basic level classroom teachers could look at the data within their own classrooms.  For my school, the largest ethnic minority that showed an achievement gap was our Latino student population.

The team or teacher/counselor can decide where to prioritize their lesson based on current school offerings. At my school there was only one Latino club for 800 Latino students, so we decided to work with our after school program to create another support system for our students. Schools can incorporate this into their advisory lessons, classroom counseling curriculum or may build as a supplemental activity for social studies lessons, ELD instruction, etc.

How to get the student conversation started:

  • Empathy, what is it? How can we show it?
  • Drawing what is in your world and share

How you can get started:

Look at Data! Data helps inform us of what’s going on in our school.

  • Are we having behavior or bullying problems? This can help students get to know each other in a more meaningful       way.
  • Does your school have attendance issues? They may not feel like they belong and my encouraging them to share    who they are they can be seen, understood and belong by their peers and adults alike.
  • Achievement gaps? Systemic racism is real and learning how to talk to our students about who they are is the first    step in addressing those systemic issues.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Educators who decide to engage students in conversations about who they are have to accept the students experience as truth, be willing and open to listening and understand that their world view may be completely different from that of the student. It is important that adults be willing to share their story. If we want our students to be vulnerable, we will have to model it for them.

There are lots of resources for teachers to get more culturally competent.:

  • School counselors can access ASCA provides free webinars,
  • Teaching Tolerance has a wide variety of teaching tools and Courageous Conversations about
  • Race provides excellent resources in how to engage students in these difficult conversations.

Student got involved by signing up during a school-wide club fair. Our first meeting was also tied to Latino Heritage Month so we had a huge party! Adults in the room then shared their story about their experience being Latino. Your school, can refer students to a group, do it as a class or start your own after school club.

It sounds simple, but giving the time or space for the conversation is really important.

Materials to get this idea off the ground:

  • structured time to give the lesson(s).
  • Paper,
  • pencil, and
  • a recording device.

Quote from one of the students about the experience:


Original Post: 

Students can film themselves talking about how they identify culturally, what they like about their cultural background, something they do not like about their experience at high school and one thing they want our community to know about them. The video can be shown to the staff to help educate them about our student's culture, viewpoints and overall experiences. It can also be a part of school-wide advisory lesson. 

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. Do you love this idea?

Yes! I love this idea! - 100%


Join the conversation:

Photo of David Chester

The emphasis on the ego  (or the I) which this attitude provided is fundamental and it is one that most children naturally begin with, so I think it is over-emphasized here. The next stage of encouraging self-awareness is one of asking what about the rest of the world. "What is it that others need that I can help achieve?" should then be asked in preference to the "I" question.

As Hillel the Elder asked: "If I am not for myself, who is for me? And being for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, when?" Now is the right time to teach about altruism.

Photo of Nicole Ayala

I agree that we need to move the conversation and I know that many students of color don't have an opportunity to share their ethnic identity in a positive way. Students need to explore first their characteristics that defy societies stereotypes then figure out a way to create change for others. ME, YOU, US...

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