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Your Name Your Name To have students relate writing directly to their own lives; to discuss prejudice. Optional Free Write Topic: If you had kids, what would you name them and why?

Alter Egos


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Step One: Hand every student a blank name tag (or, if you don’t have any, just give them a piece of paper and some tape).

Step Two: Tell students that today they are going to give themselves a new name. It can be whatever they want (within reason, of course—no curse words). Ask students to choose a name that they think suits them, or that makes them feel special.

Step Three: Have students make a name tag that says their new name and one sentence about why they chose it. When they finish, allow a few students to introduce themselves with their new names and explain why they think that name suits them.

Step Four: Announce that students will be called by their new names for the rest of the day. If you like, create a funny rule to punish people who forget to do this: “Remember, guys—if you call someone by their old name, instead of their new name, you have to do ten jumping jacks!”

Step Five: Discuss with students: How does it feel to be called by a different name? Why does it feel that way? What makes names important?

Readings: Monologue from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare; quotation by Malcom X; “Is My Name the Frogleg of Names?” by Tashjadala Norette Anacaryica Mikell. Also recommended for this lesson is the chapter “My Name” from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

Write about your name, BUT DON’T DO AN ACROSTIC POEM. Be firm on this last point; acrostics (i.e. poems that start each line with the next letter of a word, like “CAT: Cranky, Agile, Taciturn”) are so formulaic that they often encourage cliché, lazy writing. Make your students challenge themselves.

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The Cure for IDK  
The Cure for IDK  

The Cure for IDK isn't a typical lesson book. It is frank, funny, and full of lessons that are simultaneously entertaining and challenging....