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Personality Name Tent

Discover the origins of names and naming ceremonies. Express individuality with each name discovery as you create a unique nameplate.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Organize students into small groups. Invite group to research the origin and meaning of student names to see if each it began with a specific culture or contains some meaning. Encourage students to check out friends’ and families’ names, too. Family members can be asked about the origins of names unique to a family. Encourage students to invent meaning that describes personalities, or combine the meanings of similar names from cultures that are represented.
    2. Students investigate naming ceremonies in different cultures. For example, in the Balinese Hindu-Buddhist tradition, children are formally named at their first birthday. When are children named in other cultures and faith traditions? Why are these times chosen? Once students know about the origins of their names, invite them each to create a bright nameplate.
    3. Students begin by folding double-sided Crayola Neon Color Explosion® Paper in half, either horizontally or vertically. This starts the name tent. With Neon Color Explosion Markers, students write their names in big, bold shapes and colors. Remind students to leave room for fun cutouts and pictures.
    4. Each student should think about a shape that expresses his name’s personality. Is it a smooth swirl or an angled rectangle? Students draw several simple shapes down from the fold, such as an animal tail or a pointed triangle. Make sure the shapes are enclosed.
    5. Students unfold their name tents and cut out only the shapes that are in front, making certain not to cut along the folds. Fold shapes up so they stick out from the fold. Students continue decorating their name tents with additional cutouts.
    6. Each student opens up his tent and draws on the inside. Ask students to notice how the designs are revealed through the cutout shapes.
    7. With classmates, students create a naming ceremony for themselves. Present name tents to each other.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Describe the unique features of one's nuclear and extended families.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resource includes: The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

    Working in small groups, students to investigate naming ceremonies from Africa, North America, and Europe. Students organize their research into a ceremony presentation which includes simple costumes and props created out of recycled materials.

    In small groups, students present their name findings to classmates. This can be done orally or as an electronic format.

    Students learn about native North American cultures and their naming rituals. Students analyze their names and select descriptive animal names for themselves (such as "running Bear").


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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