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Korean Children and their names

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Korean Children and their names

In Riverside Unified School District, in unit three, there is a story called, "Yunmi and Halmoni's Trip." There is also a Gooru collection called, "Trip to Korea." If you sign into Gooru, you can enter the class code IKCX4XB to join this class. This is the class code for the 2015/2015 school year. It is possible that the code will not be the same after this school year.

Standards in Unit 3 attached to this story:
W.3.1 (opinion writing - supporting opinion with evidence from text)

Students will have written their opinion of which character was more selfish, comparing Yunmi to Pepita from a previous story. They will have also learned a bit about Korean food, dress, and customs from the story and also from the Gooru collection.

"To succeed in the twenty-first century, today's students need to develop linguistic and cultural literacy, including academic knowledge and proficiency in English and in world languages and cultures."
"To understand the connection between language and culture, students learn how a culture views the world. Students understand the ideas, attitudes, and values that shape that culture. These shared, common perspectives, practices, and products incorporate not only formal aspects of a culture - such as contributions of literature, the arts, and science - but also the daily living practices, shared traditions, and common patterns of behavior acceptable to a society. Students acquire the ability to interact appropriately with individuals in the target culture, to communicate successfully, and to make connections and comparisons between languages and cultures."

CONTENT 1.0 Students acquire information, recognize distinctive viewpoints, and further their knowledge of other disciplines.
COMMUNICATION - Functions 1.6 Reproduce and present a written, oral, or signed (ASL) product in a culturally authentic way.
CULTURES 1.2 Recognize similarities and differences within the target cultures and among students' own cultures.


Materials for all three lessons:

"The Name Jar", authored by Yangsook Choi.
"When My Name Was Keoko", authored by Linda Sue Park.
"Lost Names", authored by Richard E. Kim


White watercolor paper or construction paper
paint brushes with pointed tips
red and/or black tempera paint or any kid friendly paint

I will leave the anticipatory set up to you. I do not want to script a lesson for you, but rather provide you with an adequate overview that you can mold to your liking.

1) Read "The Name Jar" to the class with a paper copy, or project it onto your screen with a digital copy. (7-10 minutes)
2) Ask students to discuss with their partner or group answering the prompt "What is your name and what does it mean?" "If you don't know what your name means, what would you LIKE it to mean?" "Who chose your name for you?" (5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the groups)
3) Have students write a response to the story using a sentence frame similar to "My name is ______ and it means/I would like it to mean __________. My _______ chose it for me. (...because_______) (5-7 minutes)
4) While students were discussing, you were walking around listening. When you heard one or two good examples, you asked those students if they would be willing to share with the whole class in a few minutes. Now is the time to let those students share their responses to the prompt. Then ask if there are others who would like to share or read their responses to the prompt or from the sentence frames. (This can last from 5 minutes to as long as you wish for them to share)
5) On post-it notes, ask students to write about what they thought was interesting or important from the book, discussion, or lesson in general. Then have them place their post-it note on a large poster with the title of the book, "The Name Jar", or any title you feel is appropriate.

This is a lesson suggestion, and of course you will modify it to fit your style or class. You may stop here for the day, or continue on to part two.

1) Project on your screen or print out copies from the above named wikipedia website about East Asian Seals.
2) Remind students of the seals that were used, talked about, shown in the book, "The Name Jar."
3) Read/describe from the website what seals are and why they are used.
4) Now project on your screen or print out a copy of the wikipedia page of Chinese Characters. On the upper right-hand side of the wikipedia page, there are examples of Chinese, Vietnamese, Zhuang, Korean, and Japanese names, using both the traditional and simplified Chinese Characters.

At this point, you can do either a simple or a complex version of this lesson. Simple would be to try to copy the Korean name from the screen onto the art paper with paint, by modeling this for the class and having them follow you, or letting them try one of the names on their own. Even more complex would be to learn the meanings of some Chinese characters, and letting them choose which character to write based on the meaning they like.

5) Using the paper, paint, and paintbrushes, practice writing the Chinese characters, according to which level of complexity you chose. (see above)

PART THREE OR DAY THREE: This part could be stretched out over a week or two, if you read both stories in their entirety.
1) Remind students of the previous two lessons about names and their meanings.
2) Introduce the story "Lost Names" by telling students that this is a story of a Korean boy who had to change his name when Korea was occupied by Japan. You can introduce this in the way that you deem appropriate, according to the level and sensitivity of your students. It may suffice just to explain that it is the story of a Korean boy, and let the story tell itself.

Please read the story in advance, so you can judge how many sittings it may take to complete the reading. You may also want to omit parts that are beyond the scope of what you wish to discuss, or what you deem is appropriate to broach with younger students.

3) Another book you can read, if you wish to, is "When My Name was Keoko." You can read one chapter per sitting. It is nicely divided.
4) If you have chosen to read both of these stories to your class, they will have a very good picture of a significant period in Korea's history; One which many students will never know about.
5) If you have students take notes during each reading session, they can use those notes to write a compare/contrast essay when you're done.

Students will write a multiple paragraph essay comparing and contrasting the characters in the stories they have listened to. This can be written on paper, or on a computer/word processor. You can use this as a practice for the SBAC, which is the state test taken in the third trimester of third grade and administered on computers. The writing that SBAC asks the students to do is to read two texts/sources on the same topic, and then write a paragraph detailing the similarities, then another paragraph detailing the differences. You can use the introductory paragraph as a teacher modeling opportunity. Teach them how to use the keys to indent and capitalize, so the introductory paragraph could be the same for everyone, if you wish. Then let them use their notes to write the two compare/contrast paragraphs. Then you can model how to write a concluding paragraph on paper or on the computer, whichever you are able to do.

Whether this writing assessment is done on paper or digitally, it will be good practice on using evidence from two/three sources to support your opinion.

If you have any questions about these lessons, feel free to email me at
I tried to be as succinct as possible, because I know that you are a professional, but if I left out something important, please let me know
edited by erosales on 1/27/2016

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Message from ebonilla

Thank you for sharing, erosales! This is an easy to follow lesson plan.

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Message from lwirtzer

I have just started teaching Ancient India - Im saving this for the Ancient China unit which is next.

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Message from njimenez

From one of the sessions reading handout I found Resources from Korea from 1800, which had a link to The Korea Society website. This website has different Korean lesson plans by categories. How easy is this. I just bookmarked this website for reference to future projects. Lessons range from k-12 so there is something for everyone.

If you are still searching for a lesson plans please take a look at this website.