history of a name

This week, my 6th grade class began working in their writer’s notebooks. During the first week of school, we wrote “Where I’m From” poems, which turned out beautifully. Now I want to get them into the habit of writing daily. I started with Aimee Buckner’s history of a name activity. I had not used this before, and I can’t believe how well it worked!

Both of my classes wrote for 20 minutes, completely uninterrupted. When they shared, I learned so much. I pride in the voices of students explaining the Jewish tradition of naming a child after a deceased family member. I learned who hated their name and who thought it was “ok”. Some students wrote about ancestors who came to this country and changed their last name (or had it changed for them) at Ellis Island. Some talked about famous relatives. Some talked about the pride they take in their Hebrew name or Confirmation name. Others talked about who named them or what their name almost became. No matter what they wrote about, they all wrote. And they were all dying to share! It was a great activity to start the year off with!

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