Rationale: This activity allows students to begin to explore questions of self-identity and enables them to see what they have in common with others.

Objectives: To identify similarities and differences in the group.

Materials: Paper and pencil or marker for each student

Time: 30 minutes


  1. Ask students to draw a symbol to represent who they are. A symbol can be anything that characterizes the student, e.g. a ball for a basketball player, a tree for a nature lover.
  2. After they have finished, put the students in pairs and have them share with their partner what their symbol is and why they selected it.
  3. Ask if any volunteers want to share their symbol with the whole class. You may want to have everyone in the class share their symbol if you have time.
  4. Lead a class discussion using some or all of the questions that follow.
    • How did you decide on your symbol? Was this decision easy or difficult?
    • What patterns did you see in the groups’ symbols?
    • What role do symbols play in your life? How do you use symbols with your friends and family?
    • How can identifying similarities in a group foster positive relationships and help manage conflict?

Adapted from Exercise 1.4, Creating a Culture of Peace in the English Language Classroom by Alison Milofsky (United States Institute of Peace). 

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