Day 4: Do our names make us?

We began preparing to write our own memoirs by completing more brainstorming. Today, students (except 2nd) received their Weekly Syllabus.

  1. Do now: Which of these four statements best describes you? Answer on p. L2. Explain your answer in a paragraph using an example.
    1. I am my name.
    2. I am my body.
    3. I am my mind.
    4. I am my spirit.
  2. Binder check. As students worked, I checked to see that their binders were organized into five sections and that they had separate homework folders.
  3. Name chart head start. Students received their homework, a Name Chart (download here: My Name Chart). After seeing how many people defined themselves by their names versus their bodies, minds, or spirits, we began to explore how sometimes our name suits us, and sometimes it doesn’t. More specifically, we brainstormed the different memories, feelings, sights, sounds, thoughts, etc. that come along with each of our many names. We all have many names: our full name, our petnames, our home name, our name our friends call us. In the name chart students write down whatever they know, think, or feel about each of their names. Here is an example:

Students worked on their name charts for two minutes to get them hooked on the homework. Ideally, students should be able to connect their name to some element of their brainstorming from over the weekend, which we turned in.

4. “My Name” from The House on Mango Street. Students read this excerpt from the novel (which is in the style of a memoir): My Name Sandra Cisneros. We read as a class using expressive voices, discussing along the way whether changing one’s name can change one’s identity. In some classes we discussed the theme of the piece: You can change your family’s reputation in the future, but you cannot change their past.

5. Esperanza’s Name Chart. In small groups, students filled out a quote-response activity related to one topic in the piece: family, culture, generational divide, name as identity, gender roles, or the view of self.

HW: Finish My Name Chart for tomorrow.

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