The best name is your own

Throughout this school year, the Colorado Academy Lower School has adopted a book for each trimester to support our work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. During trimester two, each classroom read the book The Name Jar and completed activities in class and at home with their family members.

This book is a heartwarming story about the new girl in school, and how she learns to appreciate her Korean name. Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what happens when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious about fitting in. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she decides to choose an American name from a glass jar. But while Unhei thinks of being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, nothing feels right. With the help of a new friend, Unhei learns that the best name is her own.

Each classroom read the book and discussed a series of questions, including:

  • Do you think that Unhei should use her Korean name, or should she change it to an English name? Why or why not?
  • Has someone ever mispronounced your name? If so, how did you feel? What did you do about it?
  • Can you think of any other reasons why someone who is new to a country might be teased?
  • If you were a witness to or saw a teasing incident of a classmate, what could you do to be a positive change-maker (an upstander), rather than a silent witness (bystander)?
  • How do you feel about your names?
  • What do you think your names mean?
  • Why did you family choose your name?

All students completed a name card that represented special things about them. The name cards will be added to our Hall of Families, which highlights all of our Pre-K through Fifth Grade families. The Name Jar was a wonderful activity to celebrate the identity of each student and support each student in being true to themselves. Each “trimester book” has been helpful in creating thoughtful and constructive dialogue within each classroom community to recognize and celebrate the uniqueness of each member of our school community.