Building Names

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to recognize letters and how they are used to make familiar words.

Big Idea

Students use their name as a base to recognize different letters fonts.


15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

The students then clear their space and walk to take a seat on their assigned spot on the rug.

I sit at the front of the rug with the SMARTBoard on with my name (Joanne) made in different languages. I do this by going to Google translator, typing my name into the translation box and then clicking on a variety of different languages. I copy and paste the results into a word document which I then open on the SMARTBoard for the students to see. 


     Joanne      ジョアン         조앤                জোয়ান         Джоанн

    English     Japanese       Korean        Bengali         Russian


I ask the students to raise their hand if they recognize any of the letters on the board. Of course students raise their hand to tell me the letters in the first name and also the letters in the names of the countries listed below. I use the Fair Sticks to select students to make sure each student that has raised their hand gets an opportunity to tell me a letter they know. “Louise, tell me one letter you know on the board.”

Once everyone who wanted to share has had a chance to tell me a letter, I tell the students that the word above each country name is the same word – Joanne. I explain that in many countries the letters of the alphabet do not look like our own.

I tell the students that we are now going to read a book about a little girl who moves from Korea to America and the trouble she has with her name. 


35 minutes

“This story is called The Name Jar. It is written by Yangsook Choi. If she wrote the words what is she called?” Hopefully someone will raise their hand and tell you she is the author of the book. If not, make sure you explain to the students that the person who writes the words in a story is called the author.

While reading the book I like to point out the symbol which represents Unhei’s name and the pronunciation of her name.

During the reading of the book I will often stop and ask the students to reflect on how they think Unhei is feeling. I also ask the students if they can think of another name they would rather be called.

As a group we discuss what it must be like to have a Name Master select your name for you.


When the book is over I tell the students that they are now going to go over to their tables and use a variety of magazines, food flyers and advertisements to find the letters that make up their name. I display a variety of different ways to make the letter a on the board. I do this by making a word document earlier in the day and then opening it and displaying it on the SMARTBoard.


I ask the students to tell me what letter this is. Next I ask them to tell me if they all look the same.

“You are right. These letters do not look the same, but they are all the letter a."

"When you go through the magazines and flyers looking for the letters in your name you will find many different ways to make the letter. You can pick which ever style letter you like. Today I do not mind if you put an upper case letter in the middle of your name. Would we do that regularly?”

“You are right Bryan. We would not do that regularly. Where would we use an uppercase letter?”

“Yes Louise, you are right; at the beginning of our name.”         


Before beginning the activity remember to have the supplies ready at the tables to cut down on loss of instruction time. You will need to have pieces of blank paper, scissors, glue, pencils, crayons and the multimedia materials ready for the students to cut apart.   


When I am ready to send the students over to the work area, I like to remind them to take pride in their work by cutting and gluing carefully so other people can understand their work.

Now I send the students back to their seats a few at a time to maintain a safe environment in my classroom.

Allow the students about 15 minutes to complete the task.

Students working 

It is important that students recognize different fonts because they will read many different types of text. Recognizing the different fonts will help the students better able to decode words and comprehend what they are reading.   


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot. Please bring your work with you whether you have finished or not.”

Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students that their “exit slip” to get their snack is to share with the class the letters in their name that they found. 

Student Sample 1                             Students Sample 2                                      Student Sample 3


5 minutes

I call the students over to see me one at a time during a busy time such as integrated work stations or free choice center time.

I show the student a variety of different fonts of letters. I ask the student to use a tracking finger to go across the page and name as many of the letters as he/she can. Font Assessment 

I take note of what the student says and place a copy of the results in the student’s portfolio. 


Have the students match up pairs of letters of varying fonts. For example,    A a