Why Hybrid Identity is Such an Important Topic to Teach in Heritage Spanish Class

In the Ascendencia Year Three Curriculum we teach about hybrid identity. This topis is so important to touch on, because most of our heritage Spanish students live between two cultures. Their dual cultural experience being both a Latino/a and an American teenager is a beautiful thing for some but can be confusing for others. Part of being a teenager is discovering more about yourself and increasing your confidence to let others know your true self.  It is such an honor to help students embrace their identity, as it relates to both sides of their identity, in this unit.

Heritage Spanish students have heard the phrase “ni de aquí, ni de allá” but in the Hybrid Identity unit we showcase the positive aspects of living between two cultures.

To begin this unit, students complete this los dos lados de mi vida worksheet.

hybrid identity two hands latino flag american flag heritage spanish class

On one hand they draw their Latino flag and on the other hand they draw the American flag. Students write in ten activities or beliefs on each hand that relate to the lived cultural experience of both sides of themselves. Students enjoy this lesson and the worksheets they create make for great class decorations that display which countries are represented in the class.

Lesson Plan for Los Dos Lados de mi Vida

Teaching objective: Students will discuss and illustrate the parts of their life that are considered Latino, and additionally the parts of their life that are considered American.  

Inquiry question: Which activities and beliefs in my life are considered Latino? Which are considered American? 


  • Access to Youtube to show the videos linked below
  • Los dos lados de mi vida worksheet
  • Post-it notes
  • Example Worksheet

Lesson plan:
1. Start class by showing part of the linked video. Show the first 33 seconds and then pause to skip an inappropriate phrase. Start it again at 0:37 seconds and conclude at 1:41.


2. Divide students into groups (it’s important to end up with an even number of groups, so some groups may have an extra person to make it work, but know that 4-5 students per group is ideal). My classroom is set up in pods, and this works to my advantage for this game. If your room is rows or columns, split each group into different areas of the room as best as possible. Secrecy amongst each group is important. ***If your students do not yet know each other very well, this could prove to be a challenging game for them, but know that the game is still worth doing. It will end up acting as a sort of ice-breaker in helping students learn each other’s names.

     a. Pass out post-it notes. Ask students to write down something on their post-it that would get their “Latino card” revoked. Have them share within their group.

     b. Next, ask each group to mix up their post-it notes within their group. Each student should put a post-it note on themselves that is not the one they originally wrote.

     c. Now, pair up two groups to square off against each other. Each group needs an official “group post-it note,” on which they will be officially submitting their written answers/guesses (this helps to minimize shouting, noise levels, and giving away answers via students cracking from being shouted and pointed at).

     d. Each group will submit one guess/post-it note by writing down which student from the other group, in their opinion, most likely wrote each post-it note.

     e. When it is one group’s turn to guess, they must confer as a group and assign each person to a post-it note before submitting their official “group post-it note” as a group.

     f. The group who gets the most correct wins the match. The match is the match, and not part of a grander tournament.

     g. So after round 1, award winning groups a prize of your choosing. If any desks were moved to accommodate the game, now would be a great time to realign your classroom.

     h. Show this four minute video (there are two mild swear words. You can decide where you want to start and stop the video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZkbTzdNCW0

     i. Have students talk with a small group or a partner about their thoughts on the phrase “ni de aquí ni de allá”.

     j. Ask the groups if anyone would like to share their answer with the class.

     k. Pass out the worksheet Los dos lados de mi vida. Students will write or draw activities or beliefs that represent their Latino life and their American life. They should use crayons or markers to color them in as well. This works well as an in-class activity, but if students do not finish and you do not want to allocate more class time, the rest of the activity can be assigned as a form of light homework.

Hybrid Identity Google Doc Assignment

Another lesson in the Hybrid Identity unit that students have a lot of fun with is the Mi Vida Híbrida Google Doc Assignment.

In this lesson, students compare the two sides of their life- their Latino life and their American life. Students insert images and text into a Google Doc of their favorite things for both sides of their culture. This works best if the teacher directly assigns the Google Doc using their Learning Management System.

Here is what teachers are saying about this lesson:

“My students love using this resource. Make them aware of their abundance and talents because of the cultural assimilations.” – Martiza V.

“Loved the simplicity of this activity yet it allowed students to really think about their culture and what they most identify with. I loved how they were able to compare all these items that perhaps they had not stopped to think of before. They really enjoyed the activity and being able to share and compare their answers with classmates. I will continue to use this activity.” – Kimberly H.

La Cultura Visible y La Cultura Invisible

In this project, students discover the difference between visible culture and invisible culture using the iceberg model. If you aren’t familiar with the cultural iceberg, you can check out this video.

cultural iceberg heritage spanish class american flag andl atino flag


  • identify visible and invisible culture for Latinos and Americans.
  • brainstorm in groups about visible and invisible cultural practices
  • reflect on both Latino and American cultural practices
  • create a poster with their group
  • present the poster to the class

“AMAZING exploration of and explanation of culture for advanced students! I used it for Spanish 5, with a few heritage learners in the class.” -Laura 

La Sociedad y Yo

In the last part of the Hybrid Identity unit, we dive into the topics of generalizations, stereotypes, and discrimination.

Teaching Objectives:

  • Students will define the terms “stereotype,” and “generalization.” Students will be asked to reflect on which stereotypes and generalizations they hold, knowingly or unknowingly.
  • Students will define the term “discrimination.” Students will reflect on the discrimination they experience. Students will describe positive character traits of people they personally know from other races and cultures.
  • Students will watch a TedTalk and reflect on how to overcome stereotypes by looking within. Students will create a personal sentence that discredits a stereotype and reinforces a personal truth about their unique personhood.
  • Students will create a poster depicting and bringing to life their personal sentence.
  • Students will fill in missing lyrics to the song, “Soy yo,” by Bomba Estereo. Students will categorize examples of generalization, stereotypes, and discrimination.
  • Students will draw a picture to represent how society sees them versus how they see themselves. Students will write a poem about their feelings that demonstrates code-switching.

Inquiry Questions:

  • What is a stereotype? What is a generalization? What stereotypes exist in the United States concerning different races?
  • How do you feel after listing out all of the negative stereotypes of other races, in class yesterday? Have you personally experienced discrimination due to stereotypes? What are positive character traits of people you know personally from other races cultures?
  • What are the stereotypes within the Latino community about certain Latin American countries? How much do stereotypes affect you? How can you overcome stereotypes? What are soft-skills? What soft-skills do you have? How do you positively contribute to society? What truly defines you as a person?
  • How do you personally differ from stereotypes about Latinos?
  • What differentiates a generalization, a stereotype, and discrimination?
  • How does society see you? How do you see yourself?

Students will:

  • take notes
  • memorize definitions for the three unit terms
  • create a poster about how they break stereotypes
  • draw a picture and write a poem using code-switching about how society sees them vs. how they see themselves
  • categorize different situations into the three unit terms.
  • listen to a song and fill in the missing lyrics
  • discuss the stereotypes they have heard of in regards to race
  • learn how to overcome stereotypes

Los dos lados de mi vida (FREE)
Mi vida híbrida (members only)
La cultura visible e invisible (members only)
La sociedad y yo (members only)

Gain access to the rest of this unit by joining the Ascendencia Year Three Membership or the Ascendencia All Access Membership. 



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Why Hybrid Identity is Such an Important Topic to Teach in Heritage Spanish Class