How Many Letters Does Your Name Have?

9 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT build name recognition, review author/illustrator and participate in text dependent questions for Chrysanthemum.

Big Idea

What's your name? Each of us has a name and our names make us special.

Prepare the Learner

15 minutes

Name Song

This is the fourth lesson in a series of twenty


We continue to practice learning each other's names by using this song.  You can watch the video with your students to practice the song, or you can just use this as  reference for you to teach the song!

As they learn each other's names and are fluent with the song, it can be done with the whole class, but I start by doing this with just half of my class during their early bird/late bird time slot.

I explain and set purpose: We know our names are very important.  As we learned yesterday in Chrysanthemum, our name tells a lot about who we are.  We are going to practice our name song again and see if we can add a few more people to our total number!


After we watch the video,  I say: Now let's try it with just a few of our students.  Let's sit in a circle so we can all see each other.  We sit in a circle on our carpet and try the song with just 5-6 students for today.  Let's start with the same names we did yesterday and try to add a few on!



Interact with the text/concept

30 minutes

2nd Read-Chrysanthemum

I reread the beginning of Chrysanthemum (pp. 1-7)  This is a very cumbersome book for second language learners, so I have to break the read up into manageable chunks.  If I do not do this, my students will have trouble gaining understanding because of the heavy language requirements.  

As I read,  I stop and check for understanding with text dependent questions at the following stopping points:


  •  What did Chrysanthemum’s parents think of her when she was born? (she was perfect)


  • How did Chrysanthemum feel about her name?  (she liked it, it was perfect)


  • How many letters are in her name?  (13)


  • How did she feel after her first day of school?  Why? (school was no place for her; the kids made fun of her name)


  • What made Chrysanthemum feel better after she got home from school?  (she had her favorite dinner and an evening filled with hugs and kisses and Parcheesi)


This is often my students' first experience with accountability for a read.  Therefore, my questions are focused on asking kids for the basics.  I generally have  students with very limited English, so my questions focus on the ‘right there’ information, or ‘literal’ level questions. 


I am sure to focus kids on the text and show them how we refer back to the text for the answer.





For the first question, for example, I prompt:   How do you know that Chrysanthemum’s parents think she was perfect when she was born?  What WORDS in the text tell us that?  I use highlighter tape to highlight the text in the big book so the kids can see that there are words in the text that give us that information. 


I use this same type of prompt for each question, challenging kids to give me the WORDS that give us the information.  Common Core stresses text dependency K-12, so it is important to stress it with the kids.




Picture support is a source of information and is also text dependency!  Use it!  I might also prompt: Is there anything in the picture that might help us answer that question?  What does the picture tell us?


Extend Understanding

30 minutes

Chart student names   


I connect to the reading: Boys and girls, who remembers how many letters are in Chrysanthemum's name?  The students counted them in the story! (13) 


I continue: Today we are going to chart our names under the letter that our name start with. Then we will count the letters in our names!

Because this lesson is done in the very beginning of the year, my students are still wearing nametags so that I can learn they names!  The nametags make this part of the lesson go much easier, so I make sure students are wearing them.


I call up a student(random) to stand in the front with me and the rest of the group is on the floor. I prompt and ask: Let's look at her name.  Does anyone know what letter this is that Kay's name starts with?  I point to the 'K' on Kay's nametag.  If students do not know, I say: This is the letter K.  Everybody say K. (students repeat)


I refer to the chart and ask the student: Do you see your letter?  Your letter is 'K.'  I allow some wait time for Kay to look for her letter K.  If she does not know I prompt: Let's sing to K!  We will sing the ABC song and stop when we get to K.  Ready?  I will touch the letters and you sing.  As students sing the ABC song, I track the letters on the chart and we stop at K.


I say: Let's write Kay's name on our name chart under the letter K because that is her letter.  I write 'Kay' and prompt: Now let's count how many letters in her name.  I touch, you count.  I touch each letter and count with the students.  I finish: Kay has 3 letters in her name, so I am going to write the number 3 next to her name.

I continue on in the same fashion with as many students as time allows for.  I will do this each day until the whole class is charted and counted. 



Math Connection

I will often use this in our math warm up to review counting and discuss LONGER and SHORTER, which is generally part of kindergarten math vocabulary and curriculum.