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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


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






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Profile Publisher

Grades   6 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Writing & Publishing Prose

Profile Publisher

Students use the Profile Publisher to draft online social networking profiles, yearbook profiles, and newspaper or magazine profiles for themselves, other real or fictional characters.


Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


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  • Confirm that students have signed Acceptable Use Policy statements on file, or pass out copies of the Model Acceptable Use Policy or your school systemís Acceptable Use Policy and require that the information is turned in before students create online e-mail addresses, profiles, or other Internet resources.

  • Make copies or transparencies of the Name Story Assignment, Naming T-Chart, Online Name Form, Online Profile Tips, and Online Persona Evaluation Form.

  • Schedule this lesson so that students will have time to interview or gather details about the names theyíre exploring. If you complete the first session on the last day of a week, for instance, students will have the weekend to interview someone for the activity.

  • Gather books on naming from your library, being sure to obtain books that cover a range of cultural names. Try to find books that provide some details on name origins, frequency of use, historical figures with similar names, and so forth. In addition to the books included on the general list, there are numerous books that explore specific naming traditions.

  • Pay attention to the specific situations of your students as they research names in this activity and adapt the activities as necessary.

    Students may not have access to family members who can provide background on where their names came from. Additionally, if a studentís name points to a source of contention within that studentís family or elsewhere, provide alternative options for this activity. Ideally, simply explain during the first session that students can research someone else in their family or community, and provide examples of other possible choices (e.g., the school principalís name, the town mayorís name). Students might also research the names of heroes, celebrities, or historical figures. Work the alternatives into the activity naturally so that students with special situations do not feel singled out.
  • Decide on the way to structure the final activity where students create online personas by choosing a name and creating a profile. See the Online Persona Options handout for additional information.

  • Test the Whatís in a Name interactive, Tracking Teresa, and the Profile Publisher on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

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