The Story of Your Name (LS-PL-355)

This learning scenario can be implemented in English and history lessons. The lesson combines language skills, history and ICT skills. The lesson can also be implemented as an interdisciplinary lesson in the school library at every moment of the school year.

Pseudonyms and nicknames

Students discover the etymology of their own names and learn how to say their names in English, they also try to create their diminutives. On the basis of some short biographies of famous people appearing in the Europeana Collections students discuss the question: why do people use pseudonyms and nicknames? Moreover, they learn to distinguish between pseudonyms and nicknames.

The meaning of my name

Firstly, the teacher moderates a discussion with students about the subject: what do you know about your name? Students try to find answers to some questions concerning the meanings of names. The teacher talks about the etymology of names using examples from the quiz and other interesting people’s names. Secondly, students work in pairs searching for information in the foreign language about names and solve, in learning apps the quiz entitled ‘Who is who?’, they connect famous people with professions or original versions of their names. 

As a next step, students search for information about the etymology of names using the Behind the Name website. They note important things about their names in one online Jamboard document. Some students share their knowledge concerning the points.

Famous people and their nicknames

Afterwards, students look at the picture of “Agent 007”. This is a method used to stimulate critical thinking. We start to learn about nicknames and pseudonyms. Using the Mentimeter tool students write answers to the question: Why do people use pseudonyms and nicknames?

Next, we share a poster with answers in class. Students learn to summarize their opinions. Students use the QR codes with links to the Europeana Collections. They search for biographies of famous people and discover information about various facts connected with their names. Students work together in groups on one online document and create mindmaps in Popplet. Short guidelines are given to students. Thanks to that, they know what information the online mindmap note should include. Other teams add their own ideas (the name in English, versions of the name in different languages, the nickname, pseudonym and diminutive) to describe the person chosen by their group. Some pairs and groups present their work in public. The teacher suggests continuing the subject at home.

Skills and trends

Students use ICT tools working in groups and in pairs and learn communication and collaboration. Students participate in discussions and learn critical thinking. The skills constitute essential elements of the national curriculum.

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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