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Lesson Plan

Naming in a Digital World: Creating a Safe Persona on the Internet

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Naming in a Digital World: Creating a Safe Persona on the Internet

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Naming takes on new meanings in digital settings—as students build personas through e-mail addresses, screen names, and online profiles, they can be unaware of the ways that others may read the information they share. Students begin this lesson by researching and discussing their own names. They investigate the role that situation and audience play in how names, such as nicknames or full names, are used. Next, they determine which of their names would be appropriate in a variety of different situations and then apply that idea to email, deciding which email addresses would be appropriate for each situation. Students use an online game to see what they can tell about another person from looking at their email address and then review online safety information. Finally, students choose a specific name that they would (or do) use to represent themselves online and create a profile for this online persona.

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What’s in a Name? Interactive: Students can use this online tool to find resources about naming conventions.

Keeping Kids Safer on the Internet: Tips for Parents and Guardians
:  This resource from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children explores the benefits and risks of a variety online tools,  including email, texting, social networking, and gaming, and offers tips for keeping kids safe as they use them.

Online Profile Tips
: Students can use these tips for creating safe online profiles for their class assignment as well as in real contexts.

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Matthews-Burell, Jessica. "Exploring Heritage: Finding Windows into Our Lives." Voices from the Middle 10.4 (May 2003): 33-36.


Mitchell, Diana. "Tapping into Family Stories and Themes to Heighten End-of-Year Engagement." English Journal 87.4 (April 1998): 65-69.

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