What's Your Letter?

6 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

10 minutes

Turn and talk name



Students work in partners to ask and answer questions about their name.  Student A: What is your name?   Student B: My name is ___.   They will then switch roles.  


I model:  Jael, can you come up and help me?  What is your name?  Jael answers with "My name is Jael.  I continue: Now ask me what my name is.  What is the question we use to ask someone their name?  Jael asks me "What is your name?"  I answer: My name is Ms. Pearson.


Knee to Knee, Eye to Eye

This is a strategy where students sit with their knees touching as they look at each other.  It allows for maximum eye contact.

I direct: I want you to sit knee to knee and eye to eye with a partner and practice asking and answering the question about your name.  After one minute, we will switch partners and do it again with a different partner!  Any questions?

I have students start with someone who is sitting next to them on the carpet, so they simply turn and talk.  After one minute I say: Now turn to a partner that is on your other side, behind or in front of you and practice again!


This is a fun way for students to learn each other's names and practice asking and answering questions.  We see this skill throughout the Common Core Standards, across grade levels and content areas.  This is how I lay that foundation on which we will build throughout the year!

Interact with the text/concept

30 minutes

3rd Read- Text Dependent Questions

I reread the ending of Chrysanthemum (pp. 7-12)  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:


  •  How did Chrysanthemum walk to school on her second day? (slowly)


  • Which student continues to bother Chrysanthemum? (Victoria)


  • What did Chrysanthemum dream that night? (she really WAS a flower)


  • How does she feel about her name at the end of the story?  Why?


  • What do you think of your name?  Do you have a favorite name?


  • Chrysanthemum thinks her name is dreadful.  What do you think is dreadful?



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 walked to school slowly on her second day?  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

15 minutes

Chart student names -continued 


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 refer to the page in the story that tells us this piece of information.


I continue: Today we are going to continue to chart our namesunder 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 Isabel's name starts with?  I point to the 'I' on Kay's nametag.  If students do not know, I say: This is the letter I.  Everybody say i. (students repeat)


I refer to the chart and ask the student: Do you see your letter?  Your letter is 'I.'  I allow some wait time for Isabel to look for her letter I.  If she does not know I prompt: Let's sing to I!  We will sing the ABC song and stop when we get to I.  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 I.


I say: Let's write Isabel's name on our name chart under the letter I because that is her letter.  I write 'Isabe;' 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: Isabel has 6 letters in her name, so I am going to write the number 6 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.




Name song


If time allows, we sit in a circle and see how many names we can add to our song.  We have done this for several days now, so the students are becoming more familiar with the format and really enjoy it!