No Copycats Allowed
To begin the lesson, read the book No Copycats Allowed by Bonnie Graves. This is the story of a girl named Gabrielle who is entering second grade in a new school. She is understandably nervous as her older brother walks her to her classroom. His advice is, “…do what everyone else does." As the day progresses, Gabrielle takes this to an extreme. She changes the spelling of her name to copy the spelling of each new friend she is trying to impress. She also changes her favorite interest to match the new friend. When her new friends call her a copycat, she is traumatized.
What’s in a name?
Names are important part of a person. You’ll notice that when you call a person by name their faces often “light up". Gabrielle changes the spelling of her name several times. Now your students should examine their names and those of their classmates.
1. Who has the longest first name? The shortest?
2. Who has the longest last name? The shortest?
3. Who has the most vowels in their name?
4. Challenge the girls in the class to put themselves in ABC order by first name and then do it again by last name. Do the same with the boys. Then do this with the whole class. (You’ll be able to see right away the class leaders who take charge and put everyone in order.)
Students must find who chose their name and why. Were they named after a relative or friend or for some other reason. The children will take pride in themselves and their names.
Compare the hair!
Gabrielle’s hair is described as, “black-as-pepper curls". Instruct each student to draw a picture of themselves from the neck up, paying particular attention to the hair. Then they must write a description of their hair (or eyes, nose, mouth, etc.) comparing it to something else. Be proud that you are unique and special.