We love the book, “The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi. This mentor text is a great book to use at the beginning of the year during your names unit. We use this picture book all week long lesson plan for reading comprehension skills.
This engaging story is perfect for kindergarten, first grade and second grade classrooms. It provides an opportunity to talk about your students’ own names and the special meaning some of those names hold.
What is The Name Jar About?
Unhei is a girl who recently moved from Korea to America. While on her bus ride on her first day of school, her new classmates laugh at her Korean name. When it’s time for Unhei to introduce herself in her new classroom, she decides to keep her name a secret. Unhei tells her classmates that she is still thinking about what American name to choose and will reveal it by the end of the week.
To support her, the boys and girls in her class create a special glass jar where they suggest different names for Unhei. However, none of the names they propose feel quite right for her. Unhei finds comfort in the name stamp that was given to her by her grandmother in Korea and the importance of her name. At the end of the story, Unhei decides she wants to keep her real name.
The Name Jar Reading Comprehension Activities
Elementary teachers agree The Name Jar is an excellent book to use as an interactive read-aloud. During these lessons, the teacher reads the text and suggests thought-provoking questions. Students discuss and answer questions with their partners. So essentially, the teacher does the decoding work, and the students do the thinking work. In this way, every student participates and can express their own point of view. Additionally, oral language skills are strengthened!
At the beginning of the school year, the teacher may need to support students as they learn these comprehension questions are discussed. Over time, students will need less support, so it is important to pull back on the lesson’s scaffolding over time. You can also use these discussion prompts as writing prompts. Students may respond by drawing pictures at the beginning of the year.
The Name Jar Activities Making Predictions
During your first reading of the book, pause and ask students to make a prediction on what is going to happen next in the story. Give students the chance to discuss their thoughts with their partners.
Remember, we want to remove the game-show feel… you know… where the teacher asks questions and calls on students until the correct answer is given. Not only do we want students to predict what will happen next, we also want students to explain their thinking.
The Name Jar Activities Retelling the Story with Sequencing Picture Cards
This wonderful story is perfect for retelling the story’s events. We use the story event cards to retell the story sequentially. Then students turn to their partners and practice retelling the story. As the year progresses, we use transitional words like: first, then, next, and after that. It is amazing how this practice starts to seep into their writing! Our Name Jar literature companion unit includes the picture cards you see below.
If you don’t have our Engaging Readers, you can create your own story book companions:
- Create picture cards representing key events from the book.
- Have children work in pairs or small groups to sequence the cards and retell the story using their own words.
- This retelling activity reinforces comprehension, sequencing skills, and oral communication.
The Name Jar Activities Inferring
It amazes me how quickly young students quickly learn the skill of inferring. Here is the discussion prompt for this activity:
- Readers infer to help them understand what is happening in the book. When Unhei went into Mr. Kim’s store, she saw Joey. Why do you think Joey was in the story? Why did he pick that store to go into?
The Name Jar Activities Author’s Purpose
Discussing the author’s message is a great lesson to include in any book you read to students.
Writers have different reasons for putting pen to paper, but let’s break it down into three main categories:
- Persuade you – the author may want to convince you of something and make you see things from their perspective.
- Inform you – the author may aim to give you the lowdown and share information and facts that you might find helpful or interesting
- Entertain you – the author may just want to entertain you, whisk you away to a world of imagination or make you laugh out loud.
Whatever reason someone has for writing usually falls into one of these three categories.
Opinion Writing Activities for The Name Jar
Unhei’s mother tells her that is good to be different. Have students discuss if they agree or disagree with Unhei’s mother. It is okay to talk about things that make us unique as well as well as things we have in common. This is all part of building a classroom community.
The Name Jar Vocabulary Lessons
Each week, we select two vocabulary words from the picture books we read. We examine the word through definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and contextualized mentor sentences. As the weeks go by, students are encouraged to use those words to help make them stick!
The Name Jar Craft
This is one of those fun activities that students can revisit all week. Students will create their own name jar with the letters of their names. Then students can unscramble the letters to reveal their classmates’ names.
We love a craft that does double duty… don’t you?
The Name Jar Lesson Plans
Hey, we get it! We know you are busy. So we have done the heavy lifting for you.
You can find all of the activities discussed above in our Engaging Readers Reading Comprehension Lessons. Each activity is planned for you. All you need to do is print and teach! Easy! Each book has five days of meaningful lessons your students will love, AND they are back by brain research!
The Name Jar Read Aloud Video
Each day, you will want to read and reread the book as part of your interactive read aloud. However, offering another model of reading fluency is helpful (and rests your voice.)
This is a great video version of The Name Jar!
Additonal Name Activities for Centers
In kindergarten, we are all about learning our names. A few years ago, I created a set of editable name activities! You just enter a student name once, and all of the pages are filled in for you. Here is a peek!
Free Editable Lesson Plan Template
Would you like to download this free lesson plan template? Simply click on the lesson plan image below and you can download this file from my Google Drive… EASY!
More Lesson Plan Ideas
Here are a few more lesson plan ideas that are great from the beginning of the school year.
- Free Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse Activities and Lesson Plans
- Fun Chrysanthemum Book Activities and Lesson Plans – Free File
- The Dot Activities and Lesson Plans (Free File Too!)
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Activities-Lesson Plans & Free File
Do you want to see a whole year of lesson plans like this one?
I’ve got you!