What’s in a Name?

mynamewashusseinName: Bianca Piergallini

Institution: Whitehall City Schools

Title of proposed program: What’s in a Name?

Audience: Grades 6-8

Books used: Literature that addresses the theme of names/naming (preferably books that represent a variety of cultures around the world, e.g., Hannah is My Name (Yang), My Name is Bilal (Mobin-Uddin), My Name is Jorge (Medina), My Name Is Sangoel (Williams & Mohammed), My Name is Yoon (Recorvits), My Name Was Hussein (Kyuchukov), The Name Jar (Choi)
Materials needed:
Chart paper, markers

Before the Lesson: • Facilitate a discussion with students on the topic, “What is a Picture Book?” • Study the aesthetics of picture books (explain important features of these texts) • Show students how they “work” • Provide various examples of books for students to browse Procedures: • Assign students to small groups and give each group a choice of the picture book that they wish to read/analyze. • Ask students in each group to play a role: Reader (who will read the book aloud to the rest of the group), Writer (who will write the thoughts of the group on the chart paper), and Speaker (who will share the thoughts of the group with the rest of the class). • While students are reading their respective texts, post potential discussion questions on the board for them to address on their chart paper after reading. Some sample questions include: 1. Why was the character’s name important to him or her? What actions/words showed the importance? 2. What conflict arose because of the character’s name? How was the conflict resolved? 3. How would you have reacted to the conflict? 4. What cultural variations (differences from your own culture) did you identify in the text? Similarities? 5. What is the “story” of your name? • Have the speaker for each group share some of the main points of the group’s discussion with the entire class. Encourage other students to build off of these points for a more in-depth discussion. Extension: There are several directions in which this lesson can continue, for example, a writing lesson (a personal narrative) can stem from the discussion of question #5 (What is the story of your name?). There is also a connection to Social Studies, where students can research the cultural history of their name.


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