1. Home
  2. Whole Selves I
  3. Unit 2: Knowing Yourself

Unit 2: Knowing Yourself


Throughout the Knowing Yourself unit, students will have an opportunity to further explore their personal interests, abilities, character, and feelings. This unit has compiled lessons that offer guided self-discovery activities specifically designed to build upon the skills and confidences identified in I Matter. Knowing Yourself highlights the beauty found in having differences, and works to encourage students to embrace their individuality. Also included is an introduction to self-advocacy and decision-making, each of which is covered in later units. This series continues to help students find their strengths, voices, and confidence.

Unit Objective:

To promote self-discovery, including understanding personal differences, likes, wants, and needs in order to introduce the skills needed for future planning, self-advocacy, and decision-making.

Standards Met:

  • MEH1.8.31 Explain the benefits of living in a diverse society. 
  • SH1.5.12 Describe personal characteristics related to sexual expression, sexual identity, and gender that make people different from one another.
  • SH1.5.13 Summarize why it is wrong to tease or bully others based on gender expression and roles.
  • MEH4.5.6 Demonstrate how to effectively communicate support for others.
  • MEH4.2.1 Demonstrate how to effectively communicate needs, wants, and feelings in healthy ways. 
  • MEH1.8.4 Explain appropriate ways to express needs, wants, emotions, and feelings.
  • PHW5.2.3 Explain the potential positive and negative outcomes from personal health or wellness-related decisions. 

Objective Outcomes:

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • List three ways in which they are unique.
  • Define diversity and identify it as something that is positive.
  • Identify a fear of difference as a reason why people tease, harass, or bully others.
  • Explain how societal expectations differ based on gender roles.
  • Identify three examples of how others might influence their understanding of gender roles.
  • Give an example of how they can move beyond common social expectations based on binary gender norms.
  • Identify or visually represent at least two personal character traits and at least two personal physical traits.
  • Compliment peers in a respectful manner.
  • List at least three things that make them happy.
  • Identify at least two of their own physical, emotional, and learning needs.
  • Identify one possible outcome of various choices.
  • Synthesize what they have learned about themselves throughout the Knowing Yourself unit into a written record.
NOTE: Prior to teaching the first lesson, send home the “Letter Home/Unit Vocabulary and Definitions” with each student.

Unit Outline:

Unit Pre-Assessment
20 Minutes
Lesson One – Everyone is Different
30 – 60 Minutes
Students learn that being different is something to celebrate
Lesson Two – Gender Differences and Expectations
30 – 60 Minutes
Students learn that it is okay to be themselves regardless of gender expectations
Lesson Three – Physical Traits and Character Traits
30 – 60 Minutes
Students learn the difference between character traits and physical traits
Lesson Four – What Makes Me Happy?
30 – 60 Minutes
Students learn and talk about the things that make them happy
Lesson Five – My Needs and How to Meet Them
30 – 60 Minutes
Students learn about emotional, learning, and physical needs
Lesson Six- Introduction to Self-Advocacy
30 – 60 Minutes
Students are introduced to Self-Advocacy and learn how to advocate for their needs
Lesson Seven – Introduction to Decision-Making
30 – 60 Minutes
Students will explore decisions they make every day
Lesson Eight – What I’ve Learned 
30 – 60 Minutes
Students will be able to synthesize what they have learned about themselves in a written record
Unit Post- Assessment
20 Minutes


Unit Vocabulary and Definitions:

Autobiography: writing your own story about yourself
Biography: a true story of someone’s life
Character Traits: qualities of your personality, such as being a hard worker or being funny
Compliment: when you say something nice about someone
Decision: a choice that is made after carefully thinking about it
Differences: ways in which people or things are not the same
Diversity: a range of different things
Emotional Needs: things you have to have in order to manage your feelings
Gender Expression: how someone shows their gender to others through behavior, clothing, voice, hair, or in other ways
Gender Identity: someone’s sense of themselves as male, female, a blend, both, or neither
Gender Expectations: widely held beliefs about the ways in which people should behave based on their gender
Happy: feeling good and enjoying daily activities
Learning Needs: things you have to have in order to do well academically
Needs: things you have to have
Physical Needs: things you have to have to help your body
Physical Traits: qualities of your physical body, such as height and hair color
Self-Advocacy: speaking up for yourself
Unique: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else

Things to Consider:

In Lesson Two: Gender Differences and Expectations we cover gender identity and include a brief discussion of non-traditional gender identities. While many educators may feel that this topic is unnecessary or overly complex, in our 15 years of teaching students with disabilities of all kinds we have come to realize that gender identity, for some students, is at the core of profound anxiety and behavior issues. If a student is questioning their gender or experiencing distress related to their gender, it is essential that they know that this experience is shared by others, is normal, and that they can talk about it with a trusted adult. 

Unit Materials

  • Pre/Post Assessment
    Assessment Worksheet
    Teacher Rating Scale
    Accommodation for Teacher Rating Scale
  • Lesson Materials
  • Lesson 1: Everyone is different
    • Student Friendly Objectives
    • How Am I Different? Worksheet / Modified Worksheet
    • Exit Ticket
  • Lesson 2: Gender Differences and Expectations
    • Student Friendly Objectives
    • Everyone is Different Poster
    • Gender Expectations Sorting Cards
    • Exit Ticket
      Supplemental Materials
      • Expectations PowerPoint and Presenter Notes
  • Lesson 3: Physical Traits and Character Traits
    • Student Friendly Objectives
    • Trait Labels
    • Trait Cards
    • Compliment Card
    • Exit Ticket
  • Lesson 4: What Makes Me Happy?
    • Student Friendly Objectives
    • What Makes Me Happy? Worksheet
    • Exit Ticket
  • Lesson 5: My Needs and How to Meet Them
    • Student Friendly Objectives
    • Having Needs PowerPoint and Presenter Notes
    • My Needs Inventory Worksheet
    • Exit Ticket
      Supplemental Materials
      • Situation Cards
      • Different Needs PowerPoint and Presenter Notes
  • Lesson 6: Introduction to Self-Advocacy
    • Student Friendly Objectives
    • Self-Advocacy PowerPoint and Presenter Notes
    • Why Self-Advocacy is Important Essay Template
    • Exit Ticket
      Supplemental Materials
      • Steps of Self-Advocacy Poster
      • Steps of Self-Advocacy Worksheet
  • Lesson 7: Introduction to Decision-Making
    • Student Friendly Objectives
    • Decision Making PowerPoint and Presenter Notes
    • Would You Rather? Materials
    • Exit Ticket
  • Lesson 8: What I’ve Learned
    • Student Friendly Objectives
    • Autobiography Presentation Script
    • Exit Ticket

Letter Home/Unit Vocabulary and Definitions