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Day 63 – Names (creative ideas for home schooling)

For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 8) choose a stimulus that drives the learning. We hope that you enjoy the blog and can take some inspiration from what we love doing - making learning as engaging as possible!



A name is such an iconic thing. It is part of who you are and how you are perceived. It is not even something you choose - it is given to you. Do you grow into your name or does your name define you? Why is it that people think that a name suits you or not? Whilst I do not know the answers, I do know that a character's name is a joy to play with.



  • Common nouns

  • Compound nouns

  • Proper nouns

  • Word association

  • Character description through name, action and description

Common Nouns

We began by making lists of common nouns (everyday nouns), under the categories:

  • Soft things (e.g. feather, fluff, pillow...)

  • Hard things (e.g. iron, stone, slab...)

  • Everyday things (e.g. pen, pot, brick...)

The task was then to combine 5 soft nouns with 5 everyday nouns to make 5 new fictitious compound nouns:

  • featherpot

  • cloudcup

  • cushiongrass

  • kisstree

  • fluffloor

Then the same with 5 hard nouns:

  • brittleboard

  • harshhat

  • leadtree

  • cliffbrick

  • bushbee

  • ironstone

Compound Nouns

We then all chose our favourite new made-up compound nouns and had to decide what they were and then define them.

Here are the boys' new words and definitions:

  • bunnypad: an app that screams, "BUNNY" when you get a new text message.

  • rocktable: where the Gods sat to work out the world's problems.

  • fluffyship: a cotton wool sleeper ship for long voyages.

  • brickfence: a hard crystal fence used by fairies to build magical castles.

The purpose of this activity is to help the children understand the difference between common, concrete nouns and compound nouns.The juxtaposition of words also helps open up the world of possibility and imagination.

Proper Nouns

I then showed the boys a really nifty trick. As an author, a great character tool is to reveal something about the character through their name. It is the concept of Miss Honey vs Miss Trunchbull - the name tells you a lot. By turning our compound nouns into proper nouns (names), we create new insightful names that we can use in our story:

  • Miss Featherpot

  • Mr Cliffbrick

We then discussed what sorts of characters we thought both were and agreed that Miss Featherpot sounded kind and sweet and Mr Cliffbrick sounded stern and severe. I then showed the boys how to link the actions of a character to their name, whilst also focusing in on an interesting, iconic detail. Here is the model:

The boys then crafted their own contrasting character descriptions, using their compound names.

Miss Bunnypad quietly walked into the classroom, peacefully sat at her desk and talked to the children. Her glittery eyes shone.

Mr Rocktable stormed into the dungeons, quickly glared and ferociously typed. His massive eyes stared at the screen.

Mr Fluffyship glided into the classroom, sat down and marked the children's work.

Mr Brickfence stomped up the stairs into the classroom, sat down and glared at the children.


If you are enjoying this blog, please do share it and spread the word. Thank you to all of you who have got in touch and shared some of the outcomes from what you have tried - we love to hear from you.

Do tune on Monday, where we exploring:


My thanks to Pie Corbett, Julia Strong and the Talk for Writing team for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.

This blog is copyright. All materials herein, texts and supporting resources are copyright to Jamie Thomas & Talk for Writing. They may be used to support children/staff/parents in home-learning ONLY and not for commercial gain or for training or sharing widely, in their original form or any variations. They must also not be shared online or on any social media platforms without prior permission.

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