Standard Lesson

Name Tag Glyphs

2 - 5
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Two 50-minute sessions
  • Preview
  • |
  • Standards
  • |
  • Resources & Preparation
  • |
  • Instructional Plan
  • |
  • Related Resources
  • |
  • Comments


In this lesson, students create a name tag using information about themselves.  Each student's name tag, while being similar, will visually represent personal information.  These name tags will help the teacher learn students' names, but they will also help the students get to know each other and practice a visual, contemporary literacy when they interpret glyphs made by others.  Students learn that communication is symbolic on a very fundamental level in this lesson.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

According to the NCTE definition of 21st Century Literacies, readers and writers must design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes as well as build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally.

Using glyphs allows students to design and share information without words, making it possible to communicate across cultures sometimes inaccessible because of language barriers.  Comparing their glyphs allows readers and writers to collaborate with others, and synthesize and analyze data using interdisciplinary skills.

Further Reading

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Tape or gluestick
  • Colorful card stock or construction paper
  • Yarn/string
  • Hole punch
  • Computer with Internet Access
  • Color printer



This website has ideas for using glyphs in teaching, plus many free teaching materials.

This teaching resource website focuses on math-related glyphs.

This ReadWriteThink partner (from the Thinkfinity consortium) has math lesson plans featuring glyphs.


  1. Make enough copies of the two student handouts so that each student in the classroom may have a copy.
  2. Prepare your own glyph in order to familiarize yourself with the Doodle Splash student interactive and the glyph-making process.
  3. Gather yarn/string and colorful card stock/construction paper for the name tags.

Student Objectives

Students will:

  • make a glyph based on personal information.
  • interpret glyphs made by other students.
  • synthesize information in answering questions about the class based on information in the glyphs.

Session One

  1. To begin the lesson, tell the class that they will be getting to know their classmates by creating a name tag that also is a way to represent data, something called a glyph.
  2. Model how students should make their glyphs by walking through the steps by which you made your own using Doodle Splash.
  3. Hand out the directions for the glyph and allow students to “pre-write” by either circling the appropriate answer for their situation or by jotting down information.  For example, they could circle the color that their tree trunk will be, and they could write down how many branches they’ll need on their tree.
  4. When students are ready, have each student open Doodle Splash student interactive and enter his/her name as the "title of the text."  They should also choose the "Color Printer" option.  Once into the doodle, students can begin following the instructions on their handout to create the correct glyph that identifies him/her. 
  5. Tell students that they only need to concentrate on the drawing; it is not necessary for them to put anything into the text boxes (unless you choose to have them enter information in those boxes).  Circulate as students complete their glyphs.
  6. When students are finished with their glyphs, instruct them to print their glyphs, cut out the drawing, and use the gluestick to secure the glyph to construction paper or cardstock.  Punch holes in the name tag and use yarn or string to make necklace name tags.  These name tags will be used in the next session for students to introduce themselves.

Session Two

  1. Students can then introduce themselves to the class using their glyphs.  See the suggested Extensions for other activities.
  2. After introductions, lead a class discussion in which you ask students what similarities they notice about the drawings.  You could also ask questions such as these to help students read and analyze the glyphs:
    • If you want to know whose favorite subject is science, how can you tell from the glyphs the class made?
    • How many students in the class have pets? Ride the bus? How can you tell?
    • What is the genre of reading that most students prefer?  How can you tell?
    • How many people prefer to work by themselves?  How many people like to work in groups?
    • If I wanted to find out more about the hobby of playing soccer, is there anyone in class I could ask?  How do you know?
    • Could you find out from the glyph where someone lived? How or why not?
    • How would you help a friend read your glyph?
  3. Students can wear their name tag glyphs for the rest of the day or until you learn their names.  Then, the glyphs could be displayed on a bulletin board.


  • If students do not have access to technology for this lesson, they can create their glyphs by hand and follow the same steps/procedures, even without the addition of the Doodle Splash student interactive.
  • Have students compare their glyphs in pairs.  After they have had time to analyze each other’s glyphs and have learned specific information (like the names of pets, books they have read, names of people in the family, etc.), have students take turns introducing each other.
  • Because the glyphs reflect personal information, students could use them as a resource for topics to write about in upcoming lessons, especially if they are displayed in the classroom.  They could write about family members, pets, hobbies, or their own reading and writing habits.  You could also design seasonal glyphs to convey information.
  • Students could use the Bio-Cube student interactive to extend the lesson by filling out the information based on their personality rather than a fictional character.  This information could be added to the glyph later in the school year as you continue to get to know the students.  For older students who are familiar with Facebook, the Profile Publisher could be used as a substitute for the information in the Bio-Cube.
  • The Venn Diagram, 2 Circles student interactive can be used to compare and contrast the data gathered from student glyphs.  For example, students could compare the number of students who wrote something over the break with the number who read something over the break.  Is there a correlation?
  • Once students have been introduced to glyphs through this lesson, use the NCTM Illuminations website to make glyphs in math, or create your own seasonal glyphs for science or reading lessons.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Students can fill out the Glyph Reflection Worksheet to help them reflect on the information they learned about their classmates.