What's in a name? - Part Two - Mid-Pacific Institute

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What's in a name? - Part Two

Posted on September 22, 2017

by Kelly Tokuhama on September 22, 2017

Upon receiving their name home activity last week, the students stirred with many questions and ideas! Here are some of the thoughts they had beginning this week:

"Why do we have middle names?"

"Why don't I have a middle name?"

"My middle name is the same as my friend's first name!"

"Can we call each other with our other names?"

"My name is spelled so many ways. But they mean different things!"

{HTY field trip connection} "Mulan's name meant magnolia! She's trying to find out who she is too, just like us!"

"Wow, I am just like my name."

Through our connections, and this last statement, the students were fascinated by the idea that many of their personality traits matched the meaning of their names. "Kylana really is calm!" "I think Rylan is very outgoing." "Aria's first name and middle name mean love!" "Josh is definitely generous." "Danica is really kind and caring." "My name means Little Fire, and I'm definitely a little fire!"

This brought us to a very deep thought: "Were we named after our personalities? Or did we become just like the meaning of our names?" After careful thought and consideration, some students concluded that we must be like our names rather than the other way around, "because we didn't really have our personalities yet when we were born... we were zero days old!"

As a class we decided to make name tents (just like the first week of school) for the second time. But this time, our name tents would have our first, middle, or last names on them, with the meaning of each. This way the students can truly identify themselves with the meaning and history of their names as a class.

Our first and second grade buddies partnered together to continue their research. Many students already had meanings of their names from their name home activity. However, just about everyone wanted to know all three (first, middle, and last) parts of their name, while some wanted to know the cultural origin as well! Here's what they discovered through their iPad research:

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"Peyton is an Irish name- and I am part Irish!"

"My name is also Irish, and Scottish too! What are some other Scottish things?"

"Why does my last name mean 'island meadow?'"

"My last name means 'great plains.'"

"Two of us have names like the Bible."

"I wonder if I'll be a King just like my name says?"

After our research, sharing, and discussions, the students made many final conclusions this week:

"If you're Chinese, Japanese, or Korean your last name might be a kind of land name."

"Our names have a lot of meaning! I wonder if our parents know?!"

"Some of our names have similar meanings, and some are very different."

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We are excited to be more mindful about the meaning of our names over the next couple of weeks, as we keep our name tents on our desks. We also look forward to where these explorations will take us, as we continue to further explore who we are!