Crocodiles learn what makes their names special

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Cleveland Elementary students learned what makes their name special, then drew self portraits representing who they are and who they want to be.

What’s in a name? For students at Cleveland Elementary, there is a lot to be proud about with one’s name. Crocodiles in Jennifer Stallsworth’s first grade class have figured out what makes their names special and put it to paper.

Cleveland Elementary is celebrating Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month school-wide, and during the commemoration they are spending time enriching lessons and activities by incorporating diverse texts, videos, and discussions.

Stallsworth’s students read “Alma and How She Got Her Name” by Juana Martinez-Neal about a young girl named Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela who thinks she has too many names. Her father tells her the story of her name so she will know that her name will always fit. Each part of her name is part of a special story from their family history and culture. Alma proudly realizes, “That’s my name, and it fits me just right. I am Alma, and I have a story to tell.”

After reading the story, students were asked to think about how they would want to be introduced to someone through a story similar to the ones told by Alma’s father. Students were asked to think about what they would like to be known for – special interests, talents, accomplishments. They then drew self portraits surrounded by items that represent them – who they are and who they want to be.

“My hope is that students learned that they all have special stories to tell,” said Stallsworth. “Each student is special and unique, and students should feel proud of who they are and where they come from.“