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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

Behind the Name: My Name Project

Website Example:

More Ways

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, PowerPoint and word processing software

Activity Description

Students use the Internet to find information about the meaning of their first names, write a paragraph with this information and reflect on the personal connotation of their names, and make an oral class presentation.


  1. Prepare a handout, modifying the "My Name Project Prompt" (Example Document, above) as desired. Print and make photocopies.
  2. Check that the Example Web Site (above) Behind the Name is not blocked at your school. Other Web sites that can be used for this project include Meaning of Names  and BabyZone  or students can just a Google  search, entering the question "What does the name ____ mean?" Prepare your own sample paragraph and presentation as a model.
  3. Decide whether or not you will have students use PowerPoint or another presentation software for their presentations or simply create a poster.


  1. Ask students if they like their names, if they know the meaning of their names, the origin of their name, and if they know how they got their names. In pairs or small groups, provide the conversation questions and guide students to ask and answer the questions for a warm-up conversation activity. Then tell students that they are going to research the meanings of their names on the Internet, write a paragraph, and use the paragraph as the basis of a class presentation about their names.
  2. Distribute the Example Document (above) for note-taking. Have students write answers to questions for which they know the answers.
  3. In a computer lab, have students open the Example Web Site (or alternate) for Behind the Name. In the search box, they should type in their first name. If the search yields no results, they can try one of the alternate Web sites or do a search on Google, entering the question "What does the name ____ mean?". Demonstrate for students how they will take notes with a sample search.
  4. After students have answered all the questions on the note-taking form, show them a sample paragraph. Have them write the first draft of their paragraphs and collect them. Provide feedback on content, format, and mechanics. Have students revise their paragraphs and compose them using a word processing program (optional).
  5. Show students a sample presentation (see Example Document PowerPoint, above). Tell students that they are going to take the information from their paragraphs and use it in an oral class presentation, if students use PowerPoint. Demonstrate the program if they are unfamiliar with it. Have students save their files and share with you, either by e-mail or saved on a USB device. Optionally, students can create poster presentations.
  6. On presentation day, if students made PowerPoint files, open the files and go into slideshow mode (Slideshow tab - From Beginning). Have students present their projects.

Teacher Tips

  • Showing students a sample presentation helps them understand the assignment expectations.
  • This assignment will take some time, so it may be advisable to break it up into chunks
  • In order get students to the Web site, you can make it a Favorite or Bookmark the site on each computer browser, e-mail them the link, e-mail a word processing document with the link in it, or post the link on your class Web page.
  • Many sites, like these, have advertising. Teach your students what it looks like and how to avoid selecting it since many times it contains malware that they will not want on their computers, at school or at home. It is a very important and necessary skill for them to know.



  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (0.2) Communicate regarding personal information

Basic Communication

  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
  • (7.6) Demonstrate the ability to view the media critically
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.