Story of the Naming Word
Black pyramid symbol, bible, telephone directory
This story is given to a small group of children, it can be told with drama.
‘Remember that we said it was so useful when the human being named the things around them in their environment. It was as though they named their world, it seems to give you power over your environment when you know it enough to give it names. We don’t exactly know when human beings arrived on earth, but we do know they names everything around them. These names are still with us today, reminding us of those earth people, who disappeared long ago. Do you know something, when you were a baby this is exactly what you did too, you named your world, ask your mum and dad. Now look at this pyramid, it is going to represent names, because names, like the great pyramids are very ancient. Do you know anything about the pyramids and where they came from? Do you know where they were build?
Yes, the pyramids were built in Egypt because the people believed that if you protected the body, when the person died their soul would live forever. Some people think that names are very sacred, like this man, called Simeon Potter, in a book called, ‘Our Language’, this is what he has to say about names. ‘Primitive man felt that the relationship between name and thing, between symbol and referent was close and intimate, the frivolous or malicious handling of a name in speech might imply insult or injury to the person bearing that name, the very name was sacred’. Has anyone read the Bible? “The Yahweh God formed from the earth all the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and brought then to man to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2: 19-21)
Nowadays people have a rhyme which was used a long time ago, maybe it was used to ward off evil, ‘sticks and stone will break my bones but names will never hurt me. We also find names in the telephone directory, they are arranged alphabetically according to the surnames, we have names like, ‘Ford’ and ‘Green’. Some of these names come from the fathers names, the work they did, originally people only had one name, just imagine the confusion! It would be so hard if we had only one name we would get mixed up about whose thing belonged to who, whose mail should go to which house, imagine getting everyones Christmas card to the right person if we only had one name.
We give examples of Patronymic, Descriptive and Occupational and Locative names suit English language, for other languages find typical groupings of names.
At first we associate the names and the early people to give the impression of the antiquity, the the pyramid is brought in to give an impression of this and through it’s faces to connect it with the triangle, the constructor, nouns are the constructors of a language
Don’t explain everything to the children but sew seeds for their own explorations
The quotations used are to put them in touch with the whole of humanity, in Genesis humans names gods creation while the telephone directory represents daily life.
After the lesson:
Children will want to find out about their own names, to find what they mean, were it comes from and when it entered the language. Provide books for them to use, human and place name books and atlases with local references.
Follow up work:
This work connects with History and Geography and may lead to a study the wider place names. Children might be interested to see how naming has changed recently, following matriarchal as well as patriarchal lineage, they may also become interested in the changes of place names for political reasons.
Collection of thirty cards taken from the filler boxes, including all parts of speech (8 boxes), a card which says, ‘noun’ from filler box 2D, the box of the advanced symbols and the black pyramid.
Say to the children, ‘Do you have a name, do you, does everyone in the room have a name, does the boy with the glasses have a name? Does the girl with the red jumper have a name? If I wanted to get the attention of the girl in the yellow top, what I do? (call her name), Susan, bring me, bring me! I need it, bring it to me! (what) a ruler. Josh can you bring me a pencil? Peter can I have a book. Susan how did you know what to bring me?, Josh what about you?’
‘Remember the story of the name, we found out where the names came from, all the objects have names too, the ruler has a name, so does the book. Remember that we said that the pyramid would represent the names, today we will use the black triangle to represent the name, it is one face o the triangle and it is easier for us to use. I’m going to put all the thing with names over there’, put the pyramid and the objects to one-side.
Hand out one or two cards to each of the children. Ask the children to read the word on the card, check the children know the meaning and ask them if they have a name word or not, ask them to put the ones which are names in a column, and the ones that are not names to another side. If it can belong to two parts of speech let the child decide. ‘Remember we said we would use our triangle to represent our naming word? I am going to put the triangle at the top of the list. We can also call naming words nouns, I am going to put this card which says ‘noun’ over the triangle to help us remember this. All these words are noun’
Peter, what kind of nouns did you have for breakfast today?’, Hahn, can you tell me any nouns you saw on the way to school today? Sam, can you tell me any botany nouns? Who can tell me a geography noun?
Introduction to using the codes of the filler boxes
We need to put the cards away, we need to put each card into a particular box, when I turn the cards the other way there are some symbols’, read the symbols with the children and classify them into rows of different numbers. Ask the children to bring a different box, replace the cards according to their part of speech and ask the child to put them on shelf, show the child how to check the codes.
Classification of nouns
This is the most practical way to introduce the filler boxes.
When to give the lesson:
After all the work in Casa we use this activity to give the name ‘noun’. This can be done directly after the story of the naming word or separately, the children should know some of the symbols. The story of number and word study in the Casa introduce the Roman Numerals.
Follow up work:
Children can make classifications of nouns (animals, food, geography, botany) with the moveable alphabets, pen and paper, with booklets. They can also find and underline nouns from a piece of text They can work in a group; someone plans, someone scribes, someone designs the cover. They can use a dictionary to support their spelling.