During the week of January 18-22, Lee Elementary will be celebrating kindness and observing No Name-Calling Week. No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the popular young adult novel entitled The Misfits by popular author James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. The friends create a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. The No-Name Party in the end, wins the support of the school's principal for their cause and their idea for a "No Name-Calling Day" at school.
In classroom lessons we read The Name Jar written by Yangsook Choi. In the story, a new student moves from Korea to the United States and is teased about her name, Unhei. To avoid the teasing, Unhei decides that she will pick another name instead, and the students in her classroom start offering up many suggestions. Will she keep her own unique name or change it? Check out the sweet story to find out the ending.
After discussing the importance of our names, we had a snowball fight. Yes, you heard me right! Each student received a piece of white paper and folded it into 4 equal parts. In each box we wrote about something different that had to do with our names:
- Do you like your name? Why or why not?
- Do you know why you were names this? Explain.
- If you could pick any name for yourself, what would it be?
- What does your name mean?
The second part of the activity came in a subsequent lesson, and was initiated by our 6th graders in the No Place for Hate Coalition. As one of our projects for No Place for Hate, the 6th graders came up with a thoughtful project that coordinated with No Name-Calling Week. Each student would receive a small mosaic tile. They would write hurtful names they have been called or mean words that affected them with sharpie all over the colored tile. This would help to heal ourselves by removing the horrible memory of its existence from inside our heads and placed visually onto the tile. Here are some samples from different grade levels:
The tiles will be crushed, smashed and hammered into little broken pieces destroying the power these harsh words have had on us. Then, with the tiny pieces left, they will be crafted into a hopeful mosaic art piece to be hung in the hallway at Lee - representing the positive outlook we have going forward at our school.