This lesson as described encompasses eight (8) classroom days (estimated at 90 minutes each). Homework assignments: a total of three 30-minute sessions may be required – one session following Days 1, 3 and 8. A fourth session may be attached to complete j
Very few people choose their names; our names typically are given. In Western cultures especially, our name has little to do with who we are and more to do with “the others” the name references (ancestors, family friends, famous people). Add to that the realization that we share our name with a few thousand people around the world; we have less in common with other “Stephens” or “Nancys” or “Pauls” than we’d admit having with other Capricorns, Aquarians, or Libras. So when it comes to name and personal identity, one has to wonder, “What does my name have to do with me, as I know myself?”
In this lesson students are challenged to explore the link between who they are (personal identity) and how they’re known (their name). Because high school students are particularly engaged with identity issues, this lesson offers an opportunity to create a visual representation based on investigation, examination, and analysis. Armed with references, they can then investigate what it means to choose “the right font for the job” through lessons and exercises exploring type and its characteristics. The final phase requires students to apply all their knowledge to design their name to reflect their personality.
The lesson culminates in a “gallery walk” that requires students to practice skills in observation and offering constructive criticism.
To add another level of emphasis to the exploration, I’ve made reference throughout the lesson to quotes attributed to Sherlock Holmes, the greatest investigator documented in literature. It’s fun to remind students throughout the process that, like Holmes, their success will result from applying their powers of observation, logic, and keen deduction.
Standard 1. Level 1. Uses a variety of strategies in the problem-solving process
1. Draws pictures to represent problems
2. Uses discussions with teachers and other students to understand problems.
Arts and Communication
Standard 1. Level IV. Understands the principles, processes, and products associated with arts and communication media
1. Knows skills and techniques used in the commercial arts
2. Understands how the elements, materials, technologies, artistic processes (e.g., imagination, craftsmanship) and organizational principles (e.g. unity and variety, repetition and contrast) are used in similar and distinctive ways in various art forms
3. Knows specific techniques and skills used in different art forms
Standard 2. Level IV. Knows and applies appropriate criteria to arts and communication products
2. Understands the process of critiquing one’s own work and the work of others (e.g., making choices, forming judgments, expressing preferences based on personal and art
7. Uses criteria and judgment to determine the differences between the artist’s intent and public interpretation
Standard 3. Level IV. Uses critical and creative thinking in various arts and communication settings.
1. Understands specific principles and techniques used to solve problems in various art forms (e.g., using the elements of art and principles of design to solve specific art problems; using the design process to address design problems)
5. Understands the role of criticism and revision in the arts and communication
8. Knows ways in which different sources are used to produce art forms (e.g., personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings; real and imaginary sources; nature and the constructed environment; experimentation; events; the human senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste).
Thinking and Reasoning
Standard 3. Level IV. Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences
2. Identifies abstract patterns of similarities and differences between information on the same topic but from different sources
Standard 5. Level IV. Applies basic trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques
6. Represents a problem accurately in terms of resources, constraints, and objectives
10. Evaluates the feasibility of various solutions to problems; recommends and defends a solution.
Common Core Standards
Anchors for Reading:
Key Ideas and Details:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
Anchor Standards for Writing:
Production and Distribution of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Range of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:
Comprehension and Collaboration:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Anchor standards for Language:
Conventions of Standard English:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
- know ways in which different sources are used to produce art forms (personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings; real and imaginary sources; nature and the constructed environment; experimentation; events; the human senses)
- conduct informal research through inquiry and interview to identify problems or concerns
- understand how personal experience can influence interpretations of different art forms
- demonstrate knowledge of skills and techniques used in graphic design (typography, illustration, mechanics)
- demonstrate knowledge of skills and techniques within specific computer software (Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Scribus or Microsoft Word)
- understand the role of criticism and revision in the arts and communication
- offer evaluative, written critical analysis to communicate ideas
- understand the process of critiquing one’s own work and the work of others
Comprehensive references to the origin of names:
Alphabetical reference to origin of company names:
Recommended color profile test (to support student exploration of
Day 4 research site for color meaning/symbolism:
Computer software (can be replaced by using art materials to support
presentations): Microsoft Word; Adobe Illustrator, InDesign;
Scribus free open source software http://www.scribus.net/canvas/Scribus
The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams, Peachpit
Color Design Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Using
Color in Graphic Design by Terry Stone et. al., Rockport Press
- project notebook for each student (3-ring, 1.5” ring, with side pocket and three tabs, sheet protectors, and loose paper. Tabs should be labeled “Journal Entries”, “In-Class Exploration” and “Sketches.”)
- computers (one per student)
- internet access (for research)
- poster board or large sticky poster sheets
- colored permanent markers
- colored pencils
- drawing paper (8” x 10” minimum; at least five sheets per student)
- magazines (as reference to fonts and typographical styles)
- small Post-Its or paper slips (for tagging work during gallery walk)
- etymology: an account of the history of a word or word element, including its origins and derivation. (In this lesson, students will explore the origin of names, or their etymology.)
- eponymous: giving one’s name to a tribe, location, place, etc. (In examining the origin of first names, students may discover that their name is such a source (e.g., Romulus is the eponym of the city of Rome.)
- branding: to mark with or as if with a hot iron; to mark to show ownership; to provide with or publicize using a brand name. (All dimensions of the word will be examined in discussion of the value in creating identity through designing your name.)
- semiotics: the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing. (As students examine the origins of corporate logos, they will be introduced to an understanding of semiotics through references to how color, shapes and font styles are used.)
Note: Quotes from Sherlock Holmes (A.C. Doyle) are included in this lesson
plan at the start of each day’s listing. They can be shared with class on
board, like chapter titles.
“YOU SEE, BUT YOU DO NOT OBSERVE. THE DISTINCTION IS CLEAR.” - A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA
Challenge: How can student make their name truly their own?
1. Distribute handout #1 (Hello, I’m … and I …: A Survey of Self) Ask students to complete the handout by responding to each of the designated categories. Allow fifteen to twenty minutes for this part of exercise.
2. Divide the students into several groups. Instruct the groups that they will have fifteen minutes to analyze their responses as a group by tallying how many descriptors they have in common among themselves. Have them designate one person in the group as the facilitator, the recorder, and the timekeeper. Record all participants’ names and role, if any, at the top of the group tally sheet.
3. While groups are working, create columns on board using four color markers titled Group 1, 2, etc.
4. At end of group meeting, give each facilitator a separate color marker. Ask one facilitator to begin by listing terms most commonly used by group on board. Instruct other facilitators to stand and declare, “We, too!” if a term listed was also used in their group. They should then put a check in their group column across from the listed term. After first facilitator has exhausted list, have second approach board to add new terms, with same response by other groups. Final group will list any terms that have not already been referenced. At end of listing, circle terms that are common to three or more groups.
5. Then, if class has more than one student with the same name – or more than one name shared by students in class - have those students approach board. Without erasing first listing, have them add column headed by their name and begin list of descriptive terms/favorites. If they have a term in common, ask them to circle it.
6. Now, select one term listed on board. Ask all students who listed that term to stand. Have students look at each other, then ask, “Do people who describe themselves with this term look alike?” If this group includes those who share a name, have everyone but those students sit down. Now ask again, “Do these people who share both name AND term look alike?” (The answer to both questions should be “no.”)
7. Wrap-up: Explain that this exercise might present two obvious conclusions; one, that people can be “intelligent”, “comical”, “nature lovers” or “fun loving” without sharing a name; and two, that people who share a name may have some traits in common, but aren’t identical because of their name. However, people’s names are considered an important part of their identity; it’s how we are known to one another. But did the students ever realize that many people throughout time have had the same name they now have? The point is, being unique does not mean you have to have a unique name; it means you should find a way to make your “David” different from other Davids. Or Karens. (Reference your students’ names here.)
8. End of class: Have the students write reflections in their project journal. They should consider the list of shared terms on board. Are any descriptors listed on the board that they feel describe them, but they didn’t include on their worksheet? If so, they should list them now, along with any additional terms that have come to mind during this discussion. (Everyone should be able to add at least three terms to his or her original listings in this process.)
9. Assignment: Distribute handout #2 (Who Am I? No, Really!). Have students complete handout by next class meeting. Activity: conduct research on origin of their name through (a) asking parent or adult who knows story [oral history]; (b) researching etymology; and (c) creating of list of other people who share their name (celebrities, historical, family, etc.).
"DATA! DATA! DATA!" HE CRIED IMPATIENTLY. "I CAN'T MAKE BRICKS WITHOUT CLAY." - THE ADVENTURE OF THE COPPER BEECHES
1. Using the information gathered by the students on their worksheet, lead a discussion about the variety of ways names can originate. Introduce the terms “etymology” and “eponymous” (referenced on handout). Ask students to illustrate the discussion by sharing details they’ve discovered about their names. Have them begin by referring to the name’s specific etymology, then any personal knowledge of their given name.
2. Designate one student to list on the board the ways names can originate (e.g., parent’s favorite, named for a family member or friend, combination of others’ names, location of birth, etc.) Ask students to identify which of these reflect etymology or are eponymous. Share Web site reference “List of Company Name Etymologies” with class (either by projecting URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_company_name_etymologies
or having student access site on classroom computers).
3. As you review names, ask students to make note of at least three examples of company names that reflect etymological origins and three examples of eponymous names.
4. Wrap-up: Propose query to class: Is it possible to create a personal etymology for their name? Could they make their name look like what they want it to mean? What concepts about themselves would they want to make sure they included?
5. End of class: Have students write reflections in their project journals. Respond to questions posed in wrap-up with a brief description or sketch with explanation of how they would design their name. Have them refer to their first worksheet to select specific terms (e.g., funny, timid, sports nut) they would like to include. If sketching, ask them to identify how that term is represented in their illustration.
“THE LITTLE THINGS ARE INFINITELY THE MOST IMPORTANT.” - A CASE OF IDENTITY
1. Ask students to write down the names of at least two companies/organizations they would recognize immediately by their logo (company name cannot be part of logo, as in Coca-Cola.) Introduce students to several recognizable company logos, either by projecting samples on screen or creating a handout. Try to present logos all together, to allow for comparison/contrast during discussion. Suggested logos: BMW, NBA, Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, Target, Disney, Proctor and Gamble (both versions), NBC, ABC and CBS. Include any earlier versions to reflect marketing trends. If projecting images, ask students to share their responses to sponge and add those to ones to view. (Teacher note: Wikipedia has articles on each; these will provide you with logo or logos, as well as background on color, font and other semiotic references. It’s important that you are aware of the “legends” behind each logo so you can assist students in making connection between corporate branding and personal branding.)
2. Lead a discussion about the concept of branding: its history (use of symbols to designate ownership of property) and evolution during 20th century (companies attempting to distinguish their presence in marketplace with easily recognized symbols).
3. Share handout #3 (Circles, Arches & Swoosh: Corporate Branding) with students at this time (template provided for personalization by teacher). Have students break into groups of three or four to complete worksheet. Ask students to (1) iden
tify each logo, (2) suggest words they associate with those companies (“What do they think of when they see this company’s logo?”) and (3) provide brief statement on why they are making those associations. (Note: Remind the students to limit their responses to what they see, not personal experience with the brand or service.)
4. Regroup class to discuss results; look for multiple interpretations and probe further. Whenever an association is made that links to origin of design, provide background information – for instance, if student remarks that the BMW logo makes them think of “reliability”, then share with them that the four sections of the circle not only refer to the company’s origins in making airplane engines (propeller in motion) but also suggest the four points of the compass, which is interpreted as a symbol of reliability. Guide students to make reference to choices of: color, font (especially with Coca-Cola and Disney) and suggested shapes (circle, rectangle/square, triangle).
5. Wrap-up: Following review of corporate brands, compare their names to logos and how both can serve as visual reflections of values and personality. If logos provide visual clues to the “personality” of a company, then the way they design their names can also reflect their unique personality. Explain that in the next few days they will be introduced to how three different components – color, font and shape – can help them to achieve their own form of branding.
6. End of class: Have students write reflections in their project journals. Referencing entries for Days 1 and 2, they should respond to comments in wrap-up by revisiting ideas for name design. They should refer to corporate logos discussed in class; make note of any qualities (use of shape, color(s), font or font effects) that they might want to consider in personalizing the design of their name.
7. Assignment: Ask students to visit the Web site http://www.taubmans.com.au/homePainters/colour/profiler.asp
and take the color profile test. They may take the test more than once, comparing results based on various responses. At end, they are to write a description of their test experience and make note of final result for use in next class.
"THE QUESTION IS, WHAT CAN YOU MAKE PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT YOU
HAVE DONE?” - A STUDY IN SCARLET
1. Pair students into teams; explain that they will work in this pairing throughout balance of lesson. Distribute Handout #4 to each student. Explain that it’s similar to Handout #1, except that each person will use their form to evaluate their partner. Ask them to complete the form as objectively as possible, without discussion with partner. When finished, have them fold in thirds (so response cannot be read). If possible, provide each student with a seal. Have students put this sheet aside for now. (Note: Attempt to pair students who would not usually choose to work together. Avoid pairing long-term friends, those who share the same schedule or know one another from elementary/middle school. The more discovery you introduce to this part of lesson, the more value the student will realize from today’s exercise.)
2. List summary of previous day’s activities on board as:
Title: The Mystery of “What’s In a Name?”
Day 1 – Mystery revealed!
Day 2 – Gathering of clues
Day 3 – Examining the clues
3. Add to list: Day 4 – The Game’s Afoot!
4. Suggest that, like Sherlock Holmes, they are going to approach the solving of the puzzle of how to make their name look like them through the application of logic and deductive reasoning.
5. Distribute handouts #5, #6 and #7 to students (may be preassembled as packet).
6. Review contents:
- Handout #5 addresses how people associate colors with specific personality traits (compliments results of last assignment); Additional reference: http://www.squidoo.com/colorexpert
- Handout #6 describes type families and characteristics, with examples of different fonts for each family; Additional reference: www.adobe.com/education/
- Handout #7 references shapes and personality traits people often associate with colors and names.
7. Announce that today, using these worksheets, students will focus on assembling all their data (clues to their personal identity) and start working toward solving the puzzle of their name. Have them begin by assembling all worksheets and journal entries at desk. Then use this data to respond to questions on each worksheet. Remind them that at this point they are not to discuss their ideas or conclusions with their partner; that will come later in the class. (Allow at least 30 minutes for students to work alone in completing worksheets).
8. Call time. Ask students to exchange Handout #4 (folded and sealed) with their partner, open it, and read responses. Have them compare objective observation with their own conclusions in today’s class. Allow pairings the opportunity (five minutes) to discuss findings with one another to validate conclusions.
9. Wrap-up: Ask students to share one thought on what they have learned today about themselves, how they’re perceived and what elements they can use in their name design to help others visualize that trait.
10. End of class: Have students write reflections in their project journals. They should write either about the discovery they shared in class or describe how they envision using the three elements (color, font, shape) to further develop their visual interpretation of their identity.
“ELIMINATE ALL OTHER FACTORS, AND THE ONE WHICH REMAINS MUST
BE THE TRUTH.” - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
1. Distribute blank drawing paper (at least two sheets per student) and any colored pencils or markers available. (Do NOT have students work on computers at this phase, even if you have access to a computer lab. The goal is for students to feel comfortable with expressing their concepts on paper and to recognize that computers and software are merely more advanced tools for expression that work best when approached with a fully developed idea in mind.)
2. Using the information gathered in the past four days, have students create at least three sketches of how they might design their name. Each sketch must demonstrate application of all three elements introduced in the previous lesson, with emphasis placed on one of the three in each sketch, if desired. Remind students that at this stage they are to work on their own. (Allow at least forty-five minutes for this process.)
3. Call time. Ask students to regroup with assigned partner and to take turns sharing and evaluating their work. Demonstrate process through short role play with one of your students (show work; ask partner to comment, using constructive criticism technique. Student showing work cannot respond during process, but they can make note of partner’s comments. Repeat process with partner showing work. No exchange of comments can take place until after both critiques have taken place – and only if phrased as a constructive question, e.g., “How do you think I could introduce “loyal” as a quality?”, “Why do you see blue and not green as a better color choice for “modest”?”) Allow ten minut
es per person.
4. Wrap-up: Regroup class. Ask one pair of students to volunteer to discuss their experience with class. Have them focus on what they learned during the activity, not on presenting their work to rest of class.
5. End of class: Have students write reflections in their project journals. They should respond to these questions: What kind of feedback did you receive from your partner? Which one of your three sketches induced the strongest response from them? Do you agree or disagree with their opinion? Will you be using any of their feedback as you develop your final piece? How do you feel their input might improve your work? (Note: Have students complete this response as homework assignment if they do not complete before end of class.)
Days 6 & 7:
“YOU KNOW MY METHODS. APPLY THEM.” - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
1. For the next two days students are to create a final version of their name design, referencing their notes and sketches (which they should be encouraged to revise if they received helpful critiques from their partners.) Their goal is to be able to document their creative pathway, from origin to final piece, during an oral presentation of their work.
2. If your class has access to a computer lab, students may now use computers to generate their final piece. Encourage students to incorporate actual fonts, not freehand lettering, to create their names. Each character should be generated in its own frame, rather than keyed as a whole word in one frame, to allow more flexibility in font choice, size, and position. Any software that references fonts can be utilized; even Microsoft Word will support this exercise, provided students are instructed to use text frames for each character (and to avoid relying on Word Art!). Best software options: Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, or Scribus. 3. Arrange for students to print their final piece – color would be nice, if available – for gallery exhibit in class. If you prefer non-digital generation, students can reference a variety of magazines for examples of type and typographical styles as they create lettering freehand.
4. As students complete work, the final step is to list the personal descriptors they attempted to represent in their work on the back of their image (at least three, no more than five), along with reference to how that word is represented (e.g., friendly – linked circles; extrovert – yellow for “i”).
“NOTHING CLEARS UP A CASE SO MUCH AS STATING IT TO ANOTHER
PERSON.” - SILVER BLAZE
”WHAT ONE MAN CAN INVENT, ANOTHER CAN DISCOVER.” – THE ADVENTURE OF THE DANCING MEN
1. Exhibit final pieces around classroom; arrange a “gallery walk” to allow students to view and comment on the others' work (if you are working in a computer lab, students can exhibit open files onscreen.)
2. Provide students with small Post-Its or slips of paper; ask them to leave one note at each site listing the one description they think of when they look at that student’s piece and the visual clue that suggested that concept. Have them turn their slips face down to discourage duplication of responses. Also ask students to reserve comments and discussion until after gallery walk is completed. One way to ensure students will view all pieces would be to have students stand in front of their own piece, then move one position clockwise from their work. Students will complete observation when they return to their own work.
3. At end of walk, have each student retrieve their paper slips to tally the comments. Ask them to compare these notes with their own notations on their work. Discuss the outcome. Each student should be able to articulate whether or not they feel they were successful in this endeavor, based on feedback.
4. End of class/assignment: Have students write final reflections in their project journals. They should summarize outcome of exercise. They should be sure to answer the following questions:
a) Do you feel you were successful in achieving the goal (visually interpreting your identity in the design of your name)?
b) Explain how the three elements (color, font, shape) supported you in developing your idea.
c) Do you feel that you learned something about yourself and how you express your identity by completing this project?
“EDUCATION NEVER ENDS, WATSON. IT IS A SERIES OF LESSONS WITH THE GREATEST FOR THE LAST.” – THE RED CIRCLE
Assessment could be measured at three stages within project:
1) Review of journal entries (after Days 3, 5, or end of project).
2) Review of three sketches (Day 5). This could include an opportunity to include personal recommendation on selection. (Assess: time management; fulfillment of objectives; originality; not necessarily creativity.)
3) Performance during gallery walk (on task, participation, team support by sharing critiques with other students). (Day 8).
Differentiation can be accommodated by the nature of the data presented in individual reports. While this lesson references software as a possible format for presentation, students who are more “hands on” than technologically savvy may create an equally strong presentation using drawing paper. Those who are not comfortable with either format could attempt to design their names utilizing collage techniques (magazines, glue sticks, other media).
Enrichment Extension Activities
The nature of the lesson challenges the students to use higher order thinking skills in combination with natural curiosity about how they attained their name and a desire to “brand” themselves. The success of discovery is keyed to how open and receptive the student is to re-examining the familiar (their name) as though they were researching the name they would like to give themselves.