Lesson #4: Celebrate students' names

Alma and How She Got Her Name

There are lots of ways you can celebrate students' names in your classroom. Here are some ideas to help you get started! This topic is part of the Learning Students' Names professional learning module from Colorín Colorado.

Note: Information under Lesson Content, Assigned Reading, and Assigned Video is included in the related module quiz.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for this topic are:

  • Learn about strategies and activities that celebrate students' names
  • Discover new books and resources that celebrate students' names


  • Have you ever done an activity related to name, including as a child? If so, what do you remember about it?
  • Do you have any special mementos or representations of your name? Why are they special to you?

Lesson Content

What You Need to Know

One way to welcome and celebrate students' names in the classroom is by doing name activities. These can give students a chance to express themselves, share more about themselves, and celebrate their identity. You can also use creative ways to display students' names in the classroom or hallways.

Tips for Educators

Classroom Activities

Assign a multimedia, art, or written project in which students share:

Consider different ways to share these projects within the classroom, beyond the classroom, and with families.


The following books focus on names:

Choose a book or group of books to read with students from these lists. Look for name-related themes across the titles, as well as unique experiences and perspectives in each book. Provide students with opportunities to share related experiences. (Keep in mind that picture book can serve as mentor texts for older students.) In addition, discussion guides may be available for some books.

Assigned Video: Alma and How She Got Her Name

Read the guiding question below and watch the related videos.

Guiding questions:

Author and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal talks about the story behind her award-winning book Alma and How She Got Her Name.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

These questions can be used in self-reflection, written reflection, or discussion activities.

  • What is an idea from this section that you could use in your classroom or share with a colleague?
  • How might you use these resources in family engagement?
  • What additional ideas do you have that aren't on this list?

Discussion Prompt

  • Read the following reflection from Colorín Colorado Director Lydia Breiseth. What connections can you make to the experience she shares?

"When I was a child, I was always on the lookout for something with my name on it. Whenever we stopped at a gas station or souvenir shop, I checked the little license plates and key chains to see if I could find it. But since my name wasn't common, I never found it. (I often checked for my sisters' names, and theirs weren't there either!) But over the years, I remember getting two special customized souvenirs while on vacation. One was a clear pendant with a red rose etched into it and my name carved below it. Another was a pink heart with my name inscribed. Even though they are both now broken, I still have them."

Extension Activities

Extension activities may be used in training, for assignments, or for learning artifacts that can be submitted for credit to professional learning programs.

Book Club

  • Choose a book from the above booklists for a book club read to share with a group of colleagues or as a read-aloud/featured book for your classroom. Include name-related questions in your discussion questions.

Model Lesson

  • Develop a lesson plan that features one of the books on the above booklists. Identify key themes and vocabulary, as well as how you will teach them within the lesson. (You can use our ELL Strategy Library for ideas!) How is the topic of names featured? What is a name-related activity you could include in the lesson?

Recommended Resources

For more great resources, see the following:

To learn more about how to get students names right, see our related resource gallery, as well as our easy-to-share resources from Colorín on the Go.