Skills Building: Alma and How She Got Her Name (PK-5)

Written and Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal        

Pre Reading Questions

  1. What is the first thing you do when you meet someone new?
  2. What is something about yourself that makes you proud?
  3. What is something special about you that you want others to know?
  4. What is something you are interested in learning about a person when you meet someone new?


Post Reading Questions

  1. What did Alma learn about her name? How do you think she felt about her name after she learned its history?
  2. Do you know the history behind your name? Does your name have a special meaning?
  3. Turn and talk to your neighbor:
    • Introduce yourself with your full name (including your middle name if you have one).
    • Share one interesting fact about yourself with your neighbor.
    • Shake hands, or choose another way to greet, and say “It is nice to meet you, (their name)!”

Creative Enrichment Activity: “We All Fit Together” Puzzle Quilt (Pre-K-5)

Overview: In Alma and How She Got Her Name, Alma learns about her family and what makes her special. In this activity, students will create puzzle pieces about themselves and what makes them unique while seeing that they are one piece of a very big puzzle. Without the unique gifts, talents and personalities of each student, our puzzle would not be complete!


I am… Puzzle Piece on Cardstock (1 per students). Download template.
Markers, crayons, colored pencils

Duration: 35 minutes

● 5 minutes: Explain activity and pass out materials
● 15 minutes: Create Puzzle Pieces
● 5 minutes: Clean Up
● 10 minutes: Share and Reflect


  1. Before the activity, print out “I am…” Puzzle Pieces for each student on cardstock.
  2. Gather students at tables and set out expectations. Set the expectation that students will completely color the entire puzzle piece. This will ensure a colorful quilt when complete.
  3. Pass out puzzle pieces and allow students to choose between markers, crayons, and colored pencils or a mix of all three.
  4. Students will then complete their puzzle piece including their name, a self-portrait, their family (however they define this), and one of their favorite things.
  5. As students finish, prompt them to go back and add more color if they did not color it completely. Students will NOT cut out their puzzle piece.
  6. Have students clean up their workspaces and sit in a circle with their puzzle piece.
  7. Have students share their puzzle piece and what they chose to draw. For large groups or limited time, break students into smaller groups or pairs to ensure that every student has the opportunity to share their work.
  8. Reflect.
  9. Have staff cut out puzzle pieces and fit them together for a wall display!

Reflection Questions

  • What is one thing that makes you and your family unique?
  • How did it feel to get to know more about other students?
  • Why is it important that we learn about each other?
  • What is one thing that you learned today from making your puzzle piece?