WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate

Students use markers and crayons, or coloured pencils to create a nameplate that communicates ideas about who they are, and then use the nameplates to introduce themselves to their classmates.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


contrast line nameplate repetition rhythm symbol


Scissors Light Weight Cardboard such as Tag Manilla Glue Sticks Crayola Crayons Pencils


WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step One

Step One

  1. Brainstorm a list of qualities that represent who you are.
  2. Think about the things you like to do and words that describe your personality.
  3. Make some sketches of symbols that could represent these ideas.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Fold the paper in half lengthwise – long end to long end.
  2. Make a crisp fold.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Open thepaper.
  2. Draw the letters of your name on the top half of the fold.
  3. Make sure the letters are double outlined and sit on the fold.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Carefully make small cuts at the base of each letter that are about .24 cm (1/4 in) long.
  2. These cuts will make it easier to cut out the letters.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Insert the tip of the scissors into the opening and follow the lines to cut out the letter.
  2. Do NOT cut along the fold inside the letter.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Fold the letters up and background of the letters down.
  2. Prop up your nameplate to see how it looks.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Seven

Step Seven

Design the bottom of your nameplate using lines, shapes and symbols to communicate your ideas. Use crayons, coloured pencils and/or markers to complete the design.

WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Eight

Step Eight

If you do not want to cut out individual letters cut out one rectangle big enough to fit your name.

WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Nine

Step Nine

Cut a decorative border around your name that tells people about your personality.

WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Ten

Step Ten

Use lots of colour and contrast to make your message stand out.

WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

Break up the space with lines and patterns to create a sense of rhythm.

WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

When you have finished colouring the nameplate use the 7 cm x 11 cm (3" x 4.5") piece of tag manilla. Fold it in half, short end to short end. Fold the two outer edges up about 1 cm (1/2"). It should look like an accordion fold.

WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Thirteen

Step Thirteen

Make sure the biggest fold is facing up towards the fold of the nameplate. Glue one short edge of the paper to the inside of your nameplate. Place it along the bottom edge and in the middle.

WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Fourteen

Step Fourteen

Glue the other short edge to the opposite side of your nameplate. This will support the nameplate and keep it from falling over when you display it.


Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a nameplate that expresses ideas about their interests and personality;
  2. Use placement of objects to create areas of emphasis;
  3. Use repetition to create rhythm;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


  1. Have students research naming ceremonies from around the world and then reproduce a ceremony including simple costumes and props.
  2. Learn about nameplate usage, such as in a very formal setting at the United Nations. 


  1. Pre-cut small pieces of tag manilla 7 cm x 11cm (3" x 4.5")
  2. Gather the materials required for this activity.
  3. Prepare a story about your own name to use as an example. 
  4. Display some books about names, for example,
    The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi, Naming Ceremonies, by Mandy Ross, My Name Is Yoon, by Helen Recorvits
  5. Make a sample. 


  1. Ask students to work in small groups. Invite them to take turns telling a story about their name. Prompt their thinking by posing some questions. For example, 
    How did you get your name?
    Do you like your name? What would you have called yourself if not the name you were given?
    Are you named after anyone?
    What does your name mean?
  2. Provide a short example by telling about your own name.
  3. Once students have shared their stories in small groups ask for a few volunteers to share their story with the whole class. 
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a nameplate that expresses ideas about your interests and personality.
  2. Use placement of objects to create areas of emphasis.
  3. Use repetition to create rhythm.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students.
  3. Encourage students to think about how they can use colours, lines and symbols to communicate their ideas.
  4. Discuss how the placement of objects in a design can create areas of interest and emphasis. Ask them to think about what they want to emphasize in their design. 
  5. Talk about how repetition of lines, shapes and colours can give a sense of rhythm in a design. Encourage them to break up the entire space with shapes, lines, and colours.
  6. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  7. Observe students as they work. 
  8. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. When all the nameplates are complete ask students to take turns sharing their work in small groups. Have students first tell what they think the nameplate design is communicating about the artist. Remind them to support their ideas with evidence found in the work. Ask them, "What do you see that makes you say that?" 
  2. Once students have said what they think, have the artist say what he/she intended. 
  3. During the discussion include references to:
    ​- placement – How has the placement of different shapes and symbols been used to create areas of emphasis? What message does this communicate?
    - repetition – How has the use of repetition created a sense of ryhthm? What message does this communicate?
    - creativity – How does the design reflect the uniqueness of the artist?
  4. When all the groups have finished sharing have students do a walk about to view all the nameplates in the class. 
  5. Ask a few volunteers to share what they learned.
  6. Have students display their nameplates on their desks throughout the week.



  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.