Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's in a Name? (Middle School)

Jane Seevers


After the shared reading of CHRYSANTHEMUM by Kevin Henkes, the children will have fun learning concepts about reading and using their names!


The student knows the names of the letters of the alphabet, both upper and lower case.

The student knows the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.

The student alphabetizes words according to the initial letter.

The student counts up to 10 or more objects using verbal names and one-to-one correspondence.


-Henkes, Kevin, CHRYSANTHEMUM, The Trumpet Club,1991
-Each child’s name, printed on sentence strips
-Individual letter cards for each child’s name
-Large piece of bulletin board paper or poster board for name graph
-Sandwich bags, one for each child


1. Write two sets of each child’s name on sentence strips. Cut one set into individual letters and put into a baggie- one for each child.
2. Become familiar with , CHRYSANTHEMUM, by Kevin Henkes
3. Prepare poster board or bulletin board paper for graph.


1. Read, CHRYSANTHEMUM by Kevin Henkes. Discuss the book with the children asking questions and talking about the different names in the book. Ask if someone in the group ever wanted to change his name and if so what would he change it to. Find out if anyone was named after someone special (grandparent, mother, father, etc).
2. Play any or all of the following phonemic awareness games with the children as time and interest permit.

Game #1:
1. Say a child’s name and clap the syllables.
2. Have the children repeat the name with you, clapping the beats (syllables) as they say the name. Explain that some names, like Beth and Dawn have only one beat while other names like Johnny and Kendra have two beats. Some names have even more beats, like Samantha. Decide which names have the same number of beats and have those children stand up together while everyone says their names and claps out the beats.

Game #2:
Match Beginning Sounds. Say a sound like sssss ( not the letter). Have all children whose names begin with that sound stand together. For example, Sammy, Susie, and Sandy would stand together. Have the class say the names, stretching out the beginning sound each time.

Game #3:
Rhyme the Names. Say a word that rhymes with someone’s name. Have children repeat the word along with the name that rhymes with it. For example: sat, Pat.

Game #4:
Give each child his or her name card and a baggie containing individual letters in the name. Allow time for children to practice putting their names together, using their name cards as a guide if necessary. Talk with each child about the letters in their names. Use a rubric to assess what children know about their name.

___Knows letter names
___Knows letter sounds
___Can count letters in name

Game #5:
Play the Name Cheer. Have a child (Johnny) pass out the letters in his name and then stand in front of the group holding his name card so that everyone can see it. Johnny will call out the letters in his name beginning with the first letter. As he calls a letter, the child holding the letter stands up . When all the letters in Johnny’s name have been called out the children holding the letters line up to spell the name. This helps young children understand left-right orientation and that the order of letters in words is important.

Game #5:
Sort the names by the first letter. Count how many names begin with each letter. Put the names in ABC order. Sing the alphabet song and decide which letters don’t begin any of the names.

Game #6:
Create a Name Graph. As a group count the number of letters in each child’s name. Group the names with the same number of letters on a graph. After all the names are sorted, read the names with the students. Write the number of letters in each group of names under or above the group, for example, Paul, Dawn, Mike will have a 4 under or above the group. Upon completion, display graph in classroom for students to read often.


Student progress can be assessed by observing how well the children understand the concept of alphabetical order. This should be an on-going measurement that progresses over time. Children who are actively involved at least 80% of the time are working at a satisfactory level.
The graph will also serve as an assessment tool.
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