Santa Clara County Office of Education

Back-to-School Campaign: Getting to Know Our Students' Names

Do you want to support our students, parents and staff in starting the new school year feeling valued and included in our community?

Join the "Getting to Know Our Students' Names Campaign"!

The California State Board of Education adopted the California English Learner Roadmap in July 2017. The My Name, My Identity Initiative, which is a partnership effort between the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) and the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), has been featured as one of the illustrative examples for Principle One: Assets-Oriented and Needs Responsive Schools of the California English Learner Roadmap.

The My Name, My Identity Initiative encourages schools to designate a “Getting to Know Our Names Week” to launch a community effort in developing a culture of respect, and building relationships and a positive climate in the school community at the beginning of the school year. The activity ideas listed below can be adapted for preschool through grade 12 as well as for staff at the school sites and district offices.

Please share your My Name, My Identity class activities or stories by adding #mynamemyid to your Tweets or posting them on Facebook at

Recommended Resources

Getting to Know Our Names Week
Getting to know our students' names is the first step in building a welcoming, inclusive and respectful learning environment. This resource is designed for teachers to use in the first few weeks of the school year with their students.

Picture Books

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (Grades PreK-2)
Chrysanthemum Read Aloud in YouTube (Grades PreK-2)

My Name is Sangoel by Karen Williams and Khadra Mohammed (Grades 1-5)

My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits (Grades 1-3)

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (Grades PreK-2)
The Name Jar Read Aloud in YouTube (Grades PreK-2)

Teach Us Your Name by Huda Essa (Grades 1-8)

Three Names of Me by Mary Cummings (Grades 3-5)


My Name Is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River by Jane Medina (Gardes K-6)
My Name Is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River by Jane Medina (Grades K-6), read in both Spanish and English

Chapter Books

My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada (Grades 2-5)
Me llamo María Isabel (Spanish version)

Short Novels

Names/Nombres by Julia Alvarez (Grades 6-8)

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Grades 9-12)

History-Social Science

Changing Names
After Emancipation, many former slaves adopted new names and surnames. They did so either to take on a surname for the first time, or to replace a name or surname given to them by a former master. Here, three different former slaves discuss their names and the changes they underwent after Emancipation.

Names and Freedom
Historian Douglas Egerton explains one of the first tasks freedpeople had to complete once they were emancipated from slavery, surname adption, and historian Leon Litwack describes some of the factors freedpeople considered when adopting names.

GLSEN: No Name Calling Week
This lesson focuses on what names are, why they are important to us, and what the differences are between names that feel good to hear, and names that feel bad to hear (Put-ups vs. Put-downs). It provides students the opportunity to define for themselves what they like and don't like to be called.

Names, Identity, and Immigration
Stories about changing names are often associated with the experiences of migration. Some newcomers feel that by changing their own names they might be able to integrate into a new society more easily or face less discrimination based on their foreign sounding names.

Blog: Can You Say My Name? On Names, Culture & Identity
Ideas to deepen cultural competence, and enhance teachers' knowledge in initiating conversations about names and identity.

The ISAASE Name Pronunciation Guide for Teachers
Ideas for teachers on how to pronounce students' names correctly.

Technology Integration

My Name My Identity Google Slide Presentation Template (requires Google account)
A template for students to help create a presentation on their name and an "I Am" poem (Alicia Vazquez created the template.)

My Name Means (requires Flipgrid account)
Watch this clip from The House on Mango Street play. After watching this clip, share what your name means to you. What are your dreams and aspirations/goals?

Say My Name (requires Flipgrid account)
Welcome to [your organization name]! Because our names are part of our identity, we want to make sure we say your name correctly. Please record how to correctly pronounce your name.  Record your given name - first and last.  Then, record the name you would like to be called.

For example: "Charles Sanchez"
Followed by: "Charlie Sanchez"

Include your first and last name in your title.

Animate a Name [CS First]
Use Scratch to code your name!