I then read the story Chrysanthemum and we take some time to share about similar experience we may have had with our names. I have them complete a worksheet brainstorming what they might already know about their name and where it came from. You can get a copy here.
Their homework that night (the very first homework assignment of the school year) is to interview their parents about their name. You can also snag a copy of this one here. When they return with their homework I give them some time to find the meaning of their name using books and this website. They love this part!
Then we spend a ton of time talking about writing. I share a sample paragraph I wrote about my name and ask the students to think about how their name stories could be put into a paragraph. We carefully read the story and I have them write certain sentences in their heads as we read. We call this Brain Writing....you'll never believe this, but they really like writing in their heads much more than they do on paper :) We all begin with the same sentence to start our paragraphs "My name is....." I really think having this first sentence down on paper helps so many of them move forward in writing. Sometimes that first sentence is the hardest one to write.
Of course we do a second draft because we ALWAYS edit! After they edit with a friend they write their final draft!!! How cute is this one?!?!
If you haven't used Tagxedo, you just have to. It's so simple, and you can totally customize your cloud....which fourth graders love....this is, by far, their very favorite part of this entire project. Another bonus....they make a super cute bulletin board!!! I had hoped to have a super cute picture of our bulletin board, but it's not ready yet....going in this afternoon to put it together!
Other books I use during our week long name study:
Hope some of you can use this back to school activity and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear how your students like it!!!