Identity Through Food
By Megan Sizoo
9th Grade English Teacher
Food can have a powerful impact on our identities. In freshman English at Clemente the theme of food and identity are being explored as we read Like Water for Chocolate. During this unit students have been discussing how food is used in the text and how food affects themselves and their identity. Identity is a term that sounds simplistic, but as we have engaged in discussion throughout this unit, students have been able to see just how complex their own identities are. After creating a list of ‘ingredients’ that make up their identities – such as Humboldt Park, football, dance, and various music artists – students have engaged in an IB summative task that includes creating a visual representation of their identity in the form of a cookbook. The freshmen have worked hard in class and at home to create a representation of themselves while also analyzing a character from the text.
Students are discussing important themes and topics such as how being a team can help teach problem solving and importance of working together. Some are also writing about how the lyrics of a song help them to process their emotions if they are feeling sad. Many students are discussing the importance of family and sharing images of those who are closest to them and the important role in their lives and how an individual can help to shape their identity. As an IB school, Clemente freshmen participate in rigorous academic activities that are both engaging and creative. Students have enjoyed being able to express their own identities in creative ways while also engaging in an in depth character analysis. By analyzing the characters from our anchor texts, students have been able to make connections between themselves and the story themes. It is important for students to not only read a text, but to be able to explore and interact with it, such as creating an identity cookbook.