‘Bibi’ Lesson 1: What Makes Us Who We Are?

In this first lesson in a series of three, students will explore how people are comprised of personal and social identities.
Grade Level

  • Explain how a person’s identity can consist of various personal and social identities. 
Essential Questions
  • What makes us who we are?


Social Identity [soh-shuh l ahy-den-ti-tee] identity characteristics that affect how others interact with you and you interact with others. These can include race, gender, age and other characteristics. 

Personal Identity [pur-suh-nl ahy-den-ti-tee] identity characteristics you would give yourself. These can include traits, behaviors, beliefs, values and other characteristics that make you who you are. 

Visible Identity Characteristics [viz-uh-buhl ahy-den-ti-tee kar-ik-tuh-ris-tiks] identity characteristics that are readily seen by others.

Invisible Identity Characteristics [in-viz-uh-buhl ahy-den-ti-tee kar-ik-tuh-ris-tiks] identity characteristics are not readily seen by others.

Adapted from Teaching Tolerance PD Café “Digging Deep Into the Social Justice Standards: Identity”


  1. Begin by introducing the idea that we are made up of many social and personal identities by giving a teacher example. 
    • On a piece of chart paper that will be used in Lesson 2, draw an inner/outer circle diagram. 
    • Ask students what identity characteristics strangers might attribute to you if they saw you in public. Guide the class to list identities in the outer circle. Explain to students that these identities can be considered social identities. They affect how others interact with you and how you interact with others. These can include race, gender, age and other characteristics. Because these characteristics are readily perceived by others, they can be considered visible. However, social identity can also include other characteristics that are invisible, such as sexual orientation, religion, immigration status and others. Add to the outer circle additional identities as applicable. 
    • Explain that personal identity is made up of identity characteristics that a person would attribute to themselves. These can include traits, behaviors, beliefs, values and others. List your personal identities in the inner circle. 
  2. After introducing these concepts, communicate the essential question and objective. 
  3. Now that students have seen an example of an identity circle, explain that they will create their own. 
    • Tell students to list their own social and personal identities on the inner/outer circle diagram handout. To ensure all students feel safe and comfortable, be sure to explain to students that they do not need to include all of their identity characteristics. Remind students that identity can be sensitive because it can influence how people interact with us and how we interact with others.
    • Once students are finished, ask if anyone feels comfortable sharing their diagram with the class. Reassure students that they do not have to share unless they feel safe and comfortable. If certain students do want to share, have them read aloud their diagrams. 
    • Thank any volunteers and ask students to keep this circle diagram activity in mind during the next task. 
  4. Have students watch “Bibi” and take notes for a jigsaw discussion. 
    • Explain to students that they will now watch “Bibi,” a film that includes themes about identity. As they watch, they should take notes on the social and personal identity characteristics of one character. 
    • Put students into groups of three and assign each student a different character: (1) Ernesto, the father, (2) Bibi, the son, or (3) Licha, Ernesto’s girlfriend. Distribute the Identities Handout to each student. Before watching the film, model how to take notes. For example, one character in the film, Licha, speaks Spanish and English. So in the language row, we can write “bilingual—Spanish and English” inside Licha’s column. Explain to students that as they take notes, much of what they write will be based on assumptions, especially since we do not know these characters personally. Furthermore, students might have to leave certain rows blank since the viewer does not have enough information. 
    • Begin watching the film and have students take notes. 
  5. Next, have students jigsaw their notes to their group. Then discuss their answers as a class.
    • Explain to students that they will take turns sharing their notes. As they listen to the other group members, they will complete the rest of the table by taking notes on what is shared. 
    • Once all groups have finished, have one student for each character write their answers on the board. As they write, have the class monitor the answers and recommend whether or not anything be changed or added. Tell students they will share their recommendations and reasons why after all group members have finished writing the answers.  
    • After they finish writing, have students stay at the board to call on classmates to share recommendations and reasons why. Have students write any additions alongside original answers. 
  6. Once answers are shared, lead a whole-class discussion based on the following questions. 
    • Based on your own inner/outer circle diagram, were you able to relate to any of the characters? Answers will vary but should be focused on student-specific connections. Students might speak to how these connections allowed them to immediately understand familiar identities and be open to understanding different identities.
    • Were there any identity characteristics that were less visible than others? Students might cite Bibi’s sexual orientation and bilingualism. Until Bibi came out, his sexual orientation was invisible to his father. Students might explain how the invisibility allowed Bibi to control how and when he came out. Once this identity was no longer invisible, Bibi and Ernesto experienced estrangement. 
    • What identity characteristics did we assume that could actually be incorrect assumptions? Much of what we write on the table could be an incorrect assumption. For example, students might assume that Licha is straight since she is dating Ernesto, but she never states her sexual orientation. This would be an invisible identity characteristic that is never made apparent to the viewer. 
    • If Ernesto and Bibi had talked about personal and social identities do you think it would have changed their relationship at all? How so? Answers will vary. Students might say that things could have been different, especially since Ernesto’s understanding did actually change over time. Perhaps more discussion could have prevented estrangement for such a long period of time. 
    • What other observations can be made about the film’s exploration of identity?  Student answers will vary but should be focused on student-specific observations. 
  7. Exit Ticket: have students answer the essential question with a think-pair-share discussion. 
    • On a scrap piece of paper, ask students to answer the essential question. What makes us who we are? Ask students to incorporate vocabulary and cite examples from the film or their circle diagrams. 
    • Have students take turns sharing out responses in the same groups as before. 
    • Extend share out to the whole class. Call on pairs to share answers. 

Alignment to Common Core State Standards



Written by S. Nevarez