Introductory activities

Introductions: Story of Your Name

The purpose of this activity is to get to know people’s name on a more personal level through storytelling.

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Introductions: Story of Your Name
Educator prep: Minimal
Student prep: Minimal
Synchronous
Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Duration: 5-30 mins

Activity purpose

The purpose of this activity is to get to know people’s name on a more personal level through storytelling.

Useful for

  • An icebreaker activity on the first day of class or group meeting.
  • Learning about people’s lived experience and culture.
  • Helping people remember each other’s name by attaching a story to it.
  • Building relationships of trust in a new group.
  • Creating a safe space for people to share about their background.
  • Humanizing 

Preparation

  • No preparation needed by participants.
  • Facilitator could create a slide with name of activity and questions.

Instructions

  • Describe activity and why doing it: namely, invite each participant in turn to tell a story about any part of their name (first name, last name, middle name, nickname)
  • Tell people why you find it interesting and helpful to hear the story of someone’s name
  • Explain they can share as much or little as they are comfortable
  • Pose some questions to spark what story they want to share 
    • How was your name chosen?
    • Were you named after someone?
    • Does it have any cultural or historical meaning?
    • Is there a story or experience related to your name you would like to share?
  • Let them know it can be first name, and/or last name
  • Let them know they have 2 minutes to share. If using Zoom you can set a timer.
  • If people are going into a breakout room ask that someone be assigned as timer, note taker, and person who will share back.
  • Set up a collaborative document such as a Google doc or OneDrive so that the small groups can write down their stories. Then add in a shared space so that others can read everyone’s story at a later time.

Duration

  • If less than 10 people you can facilitate as whole group.
  • If more than 10 people, suggest putting people into groups of 3-4.
  • 3-5 minutes explaining the activity, why you are doing it, and putting people into groups if needed.
  • 2 minutes per person to share story.
  • If people shared in small groups 1-2 minutes for each group to share something back that they learned.
  • 5 minutes to wrap-up and highlight importance of what they learned, how connects to the community and ways they will be working together.

Technical requirements

  • If a large group suggest using breakout rooms.
  • Google docs or other collaborative tools can be used as a way for small groups to share their stories in their small group, and then they can be shared so the whole class can see them.

Useful resources

N/A

More 'Introductory activities' activities:
Equity Unbound Activity
Thick Greetings
Try out a slower and more deliberate opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves.
Maha Bali, Mia Zamora, Autumm Caines, Laura Gibbs
Equity Unbound Activity
What kind of animal are you?
Fun introductory or warm-up activity.
Irene Maweu

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