Names, Names, Everywhere Names!

One of my first endeavors at the beginning of school is to fill the room with the student’s names!  This helps the children feel welcomed and at home.  It is a comfort for them to see their name around the room.  Here are a few of the things I do:

 My first homework assignment is this name tag for their cubbies.  I send home a 5 x 7 index card and ask that the children find the letters of their name in magazines and create their name.  I put them on construction paper and laminate!
 Here is another one -so cute!!
 Here is peek at the cubbies and those name tags.
 I put up our Letter Posters. And check out the frames above the posters.  I put each child above their cubby.  It looks so endearing!  So guess where I found those cool frames?
 IKEA!!  Just $1 per frame (two in a package).  Oh how I adore IKEA!
 In honor of my sick daughter (who adores movies) – I used a “movie” theme.  I took photos of each child in black and white.  (Don’t you just love the look of black & white? So cool.)
 I put each photo on black construction paper and used a gold paint pen to write their name and make a quick dot or slash border.
 So sweeeeet!
 I have a chart paper with everyone’s name on my front white board.  It is our “reference” sheet for names.
 This idea comes from Mrs. Flynn (who is so efficient – love it!) – these are little name tags with magnets.  It is at the top of my white board and tells the children where they sit.  I changed the seating for two children.  They knew because they had looked!  Yay!
 These are my attendance/lunch tags (with a magnet).  The children move their name to the lunch board in the morning arrival.  The names remaining let me know who is absent.
Each child makes a birthday poster the first week of school.  I put them in order of dates and hang.  This is a great reminder of the next birthday.
Another thing I do that is not pictured:
  • Every child has a name tent at their table.
  • The first class book I make is a “Friend, friend, who do you see?” with a photo of each child and their name.
  • The second class book is baby photos of the children (I type “I see Ethan.” or whoever the baby is).
  • The next class book is of family photos.

Here’s a class book idea I love from Fairy Dust Subscriber – Amy Pylant:

  • Each child has a page with the familiar rhyme and their picture. Our favorite is Peek A Boo Guess Who.
  • I mount each child’s photo on a piece of card stock.
  • I take a second piece and cut out a peek hole somewhere on the page so that when laid over the photo you only see a portion of the face.
  • The text on each page reads, Peek A Boo guess who? The children have to guess who and even after many repetitions, they still want to read it even though they have memorized who is behind each peek hole! So much fun and laughter!
  • I like to write their name at the bottom of the page so they see their name in print.

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  1. I love your black and white photos! I love IKEA too. Sure wish we had one close. I also stock up when we travel. The homework assignment with their names is adorable! I am going to do it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Brenda B says:

    So many great ideas for class books! Love it!

    • Sally says:

      Class books are so powerful!

  3. Regina says:

    Great ideas I’m excited to implement some of the ideas.

  4. Jo Tappenden says:

    I have a ‘Home/School’ pocket chart. When the children arrive they move their name from the ‘Home’ side to the ‘School’ side. Of course, at the end of the day, they do the opposite.

  5. Karen Capretta says:

    I use their names in a class book to demonstrate the phonemic awareness skill of recognizing how many syllables are in a word. (In preschool, we just talk about how many “parts” a word has). I have them stamp their name with large letter stampers we have with a space between the syllables. We then count the syllables in their name and they write the numerals above each syllable. I then include a photo of each child on the page as well.
    Sorry I don’t have a photo to show an example…hope it makes sense!

  6. Connie says:

    I love all these ideas! Thanks!
    I have a question regarding how to write/display the children’s names…upper/lower case, or all caps.
    I teach PreK and my new co-teacher feels we should start with all caps when displaying there names, then gradually as we introduce lower case change there names to reflect upper first, lower for the rest of the letters. What are your thoughts? Thanks 🙂

    • Sally says:

      There is so much debate on this topic. I have done it both ways and here’s my feeling. I like any display of the child’s name to be written like it will be for the rest of their lives – first letter uppercase and the rest lowercase. Environment print is the first introduction of written language and I like have it as it would be in normal print.

      I also delay formally teaching them how to write their names until I know they are developmentally ready. When we have children writing their names in all caps – it is simply an indication their fine motor skills are not there yet. I do not rush the process. I assess and watch for indicators that their fine motor skills are ready for handwriting. (Their drawings are very good gauge.)

      That said, if I have a child with clear developmental delays – all caps like Handwriting Without Tears program is perfect for special needs. I individualize.

      • Ginta Karklina says:

        When I taught older students (up to Grade 3), it was common that students wrote sentences correctly – starting with a capital letter and the rest with lower case letters, but their own names they still wrote with all caps. As they had started writing their names with capital letters in preschool, it had become a habit that was very difficult to get out of.

        In preschool my heart sinks every time a child says he/ she does not know how to write his/ her name. As I think about writing in preschool, a child should put some scribbles, lines or any other marks on the paper and tell that the name is written there. When I hear a child telling that he cannot write his name, it makes me think that the child has been shown or taught the “proper” way to write the name and obviously cannot do it yet, therefore does not do it at all.

        Preschool is all about experimenting, exploring and trying all sorts of possibilities. I keep telling the children that there are many ways to write their names. I start with my handwriting which to them looks very much like scribble writing, then I show other options, including scribbles, xxx, all caps, first cap and lower case letters. That usually gives enough freedom to a child to chose and do whatever the child is ready for.

        • Sally says:

          What a wonderful and encouraging way to support the children in their writing. It is so important that children express their thinking through their fingertips and writing. Thank you for supporting that in your students!

  7. Becky Sakovitch says:

    i make an A-B-C name book. A is for Alice and she likes apples. M is for Marc and he likes monkeys. The child’s picture is on the page and they draw a picture of what they like with a large letter on the page. The kids love this book because they can read it to each other and their parents. When the class goes up a grade in September, our new class passes the pages on. The older students love to see what they said as a Transitional Kindergartner.

    • Sally says:

      Love this! I especially love the child’s photo. I bet they do love it!

  8. julie says:

    I love the “Peek-a-Boo, Guess Who” book! 🙂

  9. Helen says:

    There are so many good ideas here thank you. I love the birthday posters. I add names to our word wall. We also play games using our name tags.

  10. Fatima says:

    Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas. I appreciate your generosity.

  11. Shannon says:

    Love the “homework idea” with the name card and magazines clippings!

  12. Nitsa Farenick says:

    Thanks for sharing. Seeing the pictures is so helpful, especially since I am a visual learner. I love the ikea frame pictures to feature their faces. And I love the magazine letter hunt idea too!

    In my class (I’ve done this in Kindergarten and in Grade one), I’ve put their names on laminated frogs and they’re on the carpet waiting for them at the start of the day as they enter the classroom. Students have to find their name (this is reading and name recognition) and then stick them on the chalk board (they have magnets on the back) under the title “Who’s Hopping Around Today?” It also serves as attendance and used for other activities as well. Students continue to use their frogs to learn how to write their names independently, and other students can write their friends’ names too by using their frogs as well.

  13. Brenta Clem says:

    Love the birthday idea. It really makes each child feel the importance of being in the established community in the classroom.

    • Sally says:

      I agree, Brenta. Birthdays are such a special time for our friends!

  14. Mary Ann Colella says:

    Love all the name art, and letting the children recognize their names. We also like to assign an animal with that name so the child can find it easily. ie: Matthew-Monkey
    Nathan-Narwhal etc.

    • Sally says:

      How fun! I love that!

  15. Mariluz says:

    Thank you so much for all your great ideas I will be working with these ideas as we begin the new year. For now we have names on cubbies and the parents mailbox’s but your ideas are cooler so will see how we will improve our name use through out the classroom. Thank you

    • Sally says:

      I can’t wait to see what ideas you come up with in your own classroom. Please share!

  16. Karen says:

    Love all of these ideas!! Thank you!

  17. Karen J. Pennington says:

    I love the idea of the birthday poster. It is a great way to use as a birthday board. It is also a different way that I haven’t seen before.

    I also love the class book ideas. I’m always thinking about different class book ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Helen says:

    We have ‘all about me’ books and posters with their name on the front and filled with pictures of their families, pets, favourite toys books etc. These are sent home on the first day of the year and come back to school when completed. They are great for comforting and distracting children who are a little upset and promote lots of talk about likes, experiences and similarities and differences.

    • Sally says:

      I love All About Me books. Such a wonderful practice!

  19. Sarah smith says:

    They love to be highlighted and praised!

  20. I love the cubby tag, it gets the families involved right from the start of the year.

  21. Liga says:

    Dear Sally!
    Thank you for sharing all those great ideas! I love the Star poster- it is so simple, but it makes every child feel very special? I love also a framed picture above the cubie. It can help especially at the beginning of the school year. In our class we use a welcome name card with childs name&picture at the door, a table card and of corse artwork signature. Children wright their names according to their abilities. At the beginning first or first 2 letters and then slowly the whole name. Its good to see their progress. When a child has his/her unique way to sign the artwork, we let them do it. We and even other children recognise whose work it is!
    I have a question- I saw in your class name cards one what was Maris. Is he a latvian boy? Its a typical Latvian name (I am from Latvia myself).

    • Sally says:

      It is a girl and as far as I know, a name the family liked. I do not think they had Latvian roots.

  22. Laxmi says:

    Love these ideas. I teach kindergarten in an IB school. I use names for self registration. The names are written on a name tag( I change them according to the theme) and stuck to the entrance door. When the child comes in the morning they do self registration by picking their name tag from the door (name recognition) and matches it with the beginning sound of his name on a alphabet chart(sound recognition ). If they are ready ( I have board fixed on the wall which is at their eye level) they can copy writing their name on the white board.

  23. Jyoti says:

    Great ideas!

  24. Frances Granger says:

    Love all of these! It is so important for a child to see and hear their name in their classroom. I like to have them make name sensory tubes. They use letter beads for the name and put them in a mini test tube with water and glitter. This goes in a center. The kids write the letters they see in the tube and then try and figure out whose name it is! Not sure where the idea came from but I would love to give them credit as this is a great way for kids to explore and learn their classmates names. Thanks for sharing these ideas!

    • Sally says:

      Frances, what a wonderful idea! I love when we share ideas. I agree that children love seeing and hearing their names. It’s certainly honoring our young children.

  25. Jill Wilcox says:

    These are all such great ideas! I teach pre k and kindergarten. We have a sign in table where each child’s name is written on a rock. They put their rock in the basket when they arrive. I also have a sign in sheet where they can make a mark or write their name if they are ready. I also add their names to the word wall. I also have a pocket chart with everyone’s name and photo posted. I leave a basket of stones with letters of the alphabet on them next to it. They love to practice spelling their name and that of their friends.

  26. Chani says:

    Thank you for sharing. The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other, I am so excited to start the new school year with these great ideas. Love the black and white photos.Love the idea of filling the classroom environment with the children’s names. As you said, it truly gives the child a feeling of belonging and ownership.

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