PICTURE BOOK LESSON PLAN
GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES K+
René Has Two Last Names by René Colato Laínez and Fabiola Graullera Ramírez
LESSON PLAN CREATION
This lesson is a guided reading experience designed to accompany René Colato Laínez’s picture book René Has Two Last Names. Lesson content was written by Sofia Martinez-Mannen as part of her work in the Social Justice in K12 Education course at Portland State University and was designed to start or deepen anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.
Identity and Belonging
This book follows young René Colato Laínez, who has just moved from El Salvador, as he begins his first days at a new school in the United States. René’s teacher gives each student a name tag, but René’s says “René Colato,” instead of his whole name, “René Colato Laínez.” At first René thinks it’s a simple mistake on his teacher's part, but when the teacher continues to refer to him as just “René Colato” he becomes saddened by the choice to leave out his other last name and the part of his family that it represents. For René, it is very important to acknowledge both his Colato and Laínez sides of the family and how they contribute to making him who he is; René explains the history of his grandparents and how all of them shape who he is.
This book does a great job of showcasing the importance of family and connection to ancestry, while also addressing the issue of having two last names, something that is very common in Latinx communities. René is brave and corrects his teacher when she leaves out his other last name, which is something that many Black, Indigenous, People of Color are discouraged from doing. This book is great for children who also have two last names, or who simply have uncommon names, as an encouragement to stand up for your name and how important it is to you. It is also a good book for students with similar experiences to René Colato Laínez because it validates the experiences of having multiple names, being deeply connected to family, and coming from a different country or place.
This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist teaching and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.
The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.
TEACHING TOLERANCE STANDARDS REFERENCED IN THIS LESSON
The Teaching Tolerance Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades 3-5. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Standards and Domains featured in this lesson are as follows:
Identity Domain Standard #1: “I know and like who I am and can talk about my family and myself and name some of my group identities.”
Identity Domain Standard #3: “I know that all my group identities are part of me—but that I am always ALL me.”
Diversity Domain Standard #7: “I can describe some ways that I am similar to and different from people who share my identities and those who have other identities. “
Justice Domain Standard #11: “I know my friends have many identities, but they are always still just themselves.”
Action Domain Standard #17: “I can and will do something when I see unfairness—this includes telling an adult.”
READ + DISCUSS QUESTIONS
Do you have two last names? Do you know someone with two last names? IDENTITY STANDARD #1
Have you had a teacher mess up your name on the first day of school? If you have experienced this, did the teacher write it wrong, or did they say it wrong? DIVERSITY STANDARD #7
If someone says your name wrong, or says someone else’s name wrong, how can you correct them in a way that is both clear and kind? ACTION STANDARD #17
What does your name mean to you? Does your first name(s) or last name(s) have a special meaning or connection to others? IDENTITY STANDARD #3
Why are names so important? What do they tell us about ourselves and others? JUSTICE STANDARD #11
ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES
MAKE A FAMILY TREE
Using whatever supplies you have access to, create a family tree that includes all of the people that are important and impactful in your life (biological and chosen family alike).
Draw yourself and your family.
Write everyone’s names and how they are related to you (mom, cousin, friend, etc.).
Write something that you love about yourself and each person in your family tree.
Decorate your family tree any way you like, then show it off to your family!
Family tree examples and inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/538672805400981438/
RESEARCH YOUR NAME
With help, look up the meaning and origin of your name.
Research your first name(s)
Research your middle name(s)
Research your last name(s)
Research the names of people close to you.
Ask the people close to you for information about the names in your family and where they come from.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow