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


Crayola Scissors Crayola Glue Sticks Crayola Crayons Crayola Fine Line Markers Crayola Twistables Coloured Pencils Pencils Erasers Light Weight Cardboard such as Tag Manilla

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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. Sketch some 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.
  3. Open the paper.
  4. Draw the letters of your name on the top half of the fold.
  5. Leave a space of about 3 cm (1.25") from the outer edge of the paper to the top of your letters..
  6. Make the letters double outlined.
  7. Make sure the bottom of each letter is on the fold.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Refold the paper.
  2. Carefully make small cuts about .24 cm (1/4 in) long at right angles to the fold at the bottom of each letter.
  3. These cuts will make it easier to cut out the letters.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Open the paper.
  2. Insert the tip of the scissors into the opening and follow the lines to cut around the letter.
  3. Do NOT cut along the fold at the bottom of each letter.
  4. Keep the background intact.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Bend the letters up so they are at right angles to the fold.
  2. Fold the background of the letters down to form a tent.
  3. Prop up your nameplate to see how it looks.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Design the bottom of your nameplate using lines, shapes and symbols to communicate your ideas.
  2. Use coloured pencils, crayons and/or markers to complete your design.
  3. Use lots of colour and contrast to make your message stand out.
  4. Break up the space with lines and patterns to create a sense of rhythm.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. If you do not want to cut out individual letters cut out one rectangle big enough to fit your name.
  2. Cut a decorative border around your name that tells people about your personality.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. When you have finished colouring the nameplate use a 7 cm x 11 cm (3" x 4.5") piece of tag manilla.
  2. Fold it in half, short end to short end.
  3. Fold the two outer edges up about 1 cm (1/2").
  4. It should look like an accordion fold.
  5. Make sure the biggest fold is facing up towards the fold of the nameplate.
  6. Glue one short edge of the paper to the inside of your nameplate. 
  7. Place it along the bottom edge and in the middle.
  8. Glue the other short end to the opposite side of your nameplate.
  9. This will support the nameplate and keep it from falling over when you display it.
WHO AM I? – Back to School Nameplate - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Work with a partner.
  2. Take turns looking at each other's nameplates.
  3. Tell your partner what you think their design means.
    - What does the nameplate tell you about the artist?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
  4. Now you tell your partner what you intended your design to mean.
  5. What did you learn about each other?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a nameplate that expresses ideas about their interests and personality;
  • use placement of objects to create areas of emphasis;
  • use repetition to create rhythm;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • research naming ceremonies from around the world;
  • reproduce a ceremony including simple costumes and props;
  • practice presenting the ceremony;
  • work with their peers to video their presentations;
  • present their ceremonies to the class.


  1. Pre-cut small pieces of tag manilla 7 cm x 11cm (3" x 4.5")
  2. Download and display the Contrast and Rhythm posters available on this website.
  3. Teach or review the principles of Rhythm and Contrast.
    - contrast - elements with strong differences placed beside or near each other
    - rhythm - repetition of similar elements, but with variations
  4. Prepare a story about your own name to use as an example. 
  5. 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; and Alma and How She Got Her Name; by Juana Martinez-Neal. 
  6. 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. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Show student your sample.
    ​- 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. 
    - 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.
  3. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - used my own ideas
    - used symbols to express my interests
    - used shapes, lines, and colours to express my personality
    - repeated lines to create rhythm
    - placed shapes to create emphasis
    - used contrasting colours

    - created a sturdy nameplate
    - kept the paper in good condition
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Observe students as they work.
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  7. Encourage students to think about how they can use colours, lines and symbols to communicate their ideas.


  1. When all the nameplates are complete ask students to take turns sharing their work with a partner. 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.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Nameplate_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students reflect on their nameplates in their sketchbooks. 
    Ask students:
    - What worked well in your nameplate? Why? 
    - What was satisfying about making this nameplate?                                           
    - What would you change or do differently next time?