Masks, True Identity & Healthy Relationships

It all started with a give away! Twisted Boards was giving away 3-D boards resembling masks. All I had to do was share back how I used them in my class. My students are still talking about this lesson…to me, to their peers and to other teachers! Since completing this lesson and project, I’ve seen a significant difference in my students as well. Many are coming out of their shells, volunteering to go first in oral presentations, sharing more about themselves and more importantly connecting the concepts to other lessons! Read on to see how I incorporated these masks/boards into my curriculum.


  • Present students with the Intro Activity PPT slide below and ask them to title the picture.  Students then share and discuss their titles.
  • Provide each student with a copy of the poem “Faces of Me” by Verne Becker (see below) and complete the following:
    • Read the title–Titles offer clues to meaning, what does this title tell you?  How does the title connect to “real life”?
    • Read silently–Underline or circle any unknown words and try to think about the main idea or message of the poem.
    • Share unknown words and define them as a class.
    • Listen as I read the poem aloud–As I read, think about whether knowing the words changes the meaning of the poem for you? Discuss and answer any questions.



  • Assign students the corresponding poem questions –see attachment below. As a class we discuss some of these and others I am the only one to read. (It’s up to you to decide how much to discuss since you know your students best.)
  • We then discuss the following questions: Why do we wear masks?  Be honest…we’ve all done it!  (to gain acceptance with peers/social groups, to hide excitement, happiness, vulnerability, to hide the truth, hardships, past experiences, fear, anger, sadness, depression, pain, to deceive or manipulate)
  • At this point, I share my own personal mask story.  This really resonated with my students to know that even as adults, there are times the mask is worn and it showed a very personal, human side of me beyond the “teacher” they see every day.
  • I ask students to name some situations where we might wear the masks more often. If we wear them in front of everyone or if there are times we don’t and what makes those different.  We also discuss the pros/cons to wearing masks.
  • This is where the 3-D boards came in… I asked students to create a 3-D mask using the Twisted Boards and dry erase markers that reflects the image they each show to society.  They had to be neat and creative. Title their mask, making sure it reflected what they created. Students then had to write a brief summary, at least two solid paragraphs, explaining their mask and the internal feelings/thoughts they were hiding from in Google Docs (this part was only shared with me).  Students then shared the mask and title (only) with the class. Some students chose to share more, but that was entirely up to them.
  • After students shared the masks, I tried to get them to make connections by asking them the following questions: How can wearing masks hinder our relationships with family, friends and dating partners?  Healthy relationships should allow and encourage you to be real…authentic and true to yourself.  Why?  We discussed the following in regard to this, but you may have a different approach…
    • Self-love–we must love and accept ourselves “as is”.  Sure we have the ability to change some things, but we must accept those things that cannot be changed.
    • Our beliefs about ourselves impact our personal relationships and experiences.  For example, abusers often wear a mask initially in new relationships.  After a period of time, they begin to drop the mask and their true colors show which can be positive or negative such as an abusive relationship.  Another example is many young people turn to sex or try to get pregnant to feel loved and accepted.
  • Finally, as an exit slip, students had to answer this prompt on Google Classroom:  What are 3 specific things you can begin doing daily to help remove the “masks” you wear?



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