What's in a name?
Everyone has a name and every name has a story
The stories behind students’ names in Connie Merritt’s third grade class are as vibrant and unique as the infinite hues of the rainbow and the children are excited to share them!
“I am named after my grandmother,” said Palma.
“My parents wanted a name that is unique and strong,” said Kingsley.
“My name is a tree and a town,” said Aspen.
Name stories are the talk of the school this September at Meadow Pond—even Principal Ashlyn Field and Assistant Principal David Bournas-Ney have shared where their names come from with students on Meadow Pond Live.
an empowering message
Tell/Teach Us Your Name
At the heart of the conversation is the September All-School Read, Tell/Teach Us Your Name by Huda Essa. The book introduces a child with an unusual name — Kareemalayaseenadeen (Kareema-lay-yes-seen-a-deen)—which is constantly mispronounced, never said or shortened into something entirely different. She refers to it as an “ugly, terrible, weird and ridiculously long name.”
At that point in the story, as Merritt reads the book with her class, she refers to a Meadow Pond tool: the Moose Meter—a color chart for emotions. “How do you think Kareemalayaseenadeen is feeling?” she asks. “Blue,” the students reply. The color represents sadness.
creating personal pennants
Embracing the diversity of our names
When Kareemalayaseenadeen learns from her grandmother that her name means excellent guidance, she begins to live into its meaning by helping others to say it correctly. The students point to how the main character is feeling now. “Yellow!” “Green!” “She feels happy and proud.”
After reading the book, each student begins creating a pennant featuring their name and pictures that symbolize aspects of themselves. It's an all-school project. A chain of hundreds of pennants will hang in the hallways.
“Names are part of our identity,” Merrit reminds her class. “And what is identity?”
They know. “What makes you, you!”