Name Activities

Back to school name activities, Learning new names at the beginning of a new school year.

The most important thing you do at the beginning of the school year is to learn the names of your new students!  Even before the kids walk in the door, most teachers have name cards in place and display boards with student names waiting for artwork to be added.

Not only do you need to learn the name of all your students, but the students also need to learn the names of all their new classmates.  Here are a couple of fun name activities you can use in the first week of school.

Name Scoot:  Students are given the Name Scoot paper and asked to write their first and last name at the top.  (You can write it for them if they don't know how to spell their last name.)  There are also two statements they complete about themselves.  During the scoot game, other students learn a little bit about their new classmates and write a word that can be made with the letters in the name.

Learning Names, Name Scoot, Back to School Activity

All About my Name
Behind every name is a good story.  Do you know why your parents chose that name for you?  Do you have a nickname?  How did you get that nickname?

Sharing stories about our names is a fun and interesting way to get to know your students.  During the first week, send home this "What's in a Name"  survey.  When students bring them back share a few every day as you get to know your students.
**Please be aware, if you have students who live with a guardian, or in a foster home, this activity may not be appropriate.

What's Your Name, Name Survey,  Back to School Activity

Click on the image below to download these two free name activities from my TpT store:

Names are also a huge part of your classroom management system.  It seems I was always needing a list of student names--checklists, tracking participation, arranging groups, etc.  

Here are a few tips for managing names in your classroom.
-Full page checklists with data columns.  Good for tracking assignments turned in through one week or homework turned in for the month or grading period.

-Single column checklist.  I used these to attach to a set of papers to track who had turned in their work.  I could fit 3 on one piece of paper then cut them apart to use one list at a time.  These also work well when the office or another teacher needs a quick student list.

-Name sticks.  Love, love, love name sticks!  They are a great way to keep kids accountable and focused on lessons because they never know if their name is going to be called.  Depending on the discussion or situation you can always allow students to pass if their stick is called and they prefer not to participate.   I would make up several sets of sticks and have them in cans around the room.  That way there was always a set of sticks no matter where I was standing or having a class discussion.  If you meet with small groups I would suggest you have sets of sticks for those groups as well.

-Name tags.  I suggest you have a set of name tags ready to go the very first day of school.  I've seen them made with the plastic sleeves that pin on a shirt, or on a lanyard that hangs around the neck.  Name tags are wonderful to use when a substitute is there for the day or on field trip days, too.

-Name Labels.  You just never know when you need to stick a student's name on something- folders, projects, mailboxes, supplies, books . . .   I learned it was very helpful to print sets of labels with student names.  I usually had sets printed on the small return address label size (30 per sheet) and the larger address label size (10 per sheet).  That way when I was putting together literature or writing folders I'd add a label to the corner and each student had a folder, ready to go.

-Mini Cards.  Small name cards can come in real handy.  I kept several sets in my desk drawer. I'd use them to make new desk arrangements, sort students into project groups, or set up partners for field trips.


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I Like Kids' Books Linky

How much fun is this, writing about my favorite kids’ books!  I have so many favorites it's going to be hard to choose just one.

Thank You Mr. Falker, my favorite children's book of all time.  You can use it to teach the themes of being unique, acceptance, friendship, bullying.

Have a box of tissues ready when you read this book to your class.  I can't get through it with my throat closing up and struggling to say the words on the last page without crying. I usually have half the kids crying too!  But we're not crying sad tears, they are definitely happy tears.  We're all happy because Trisha knows she is special and it's all because of one very special teacher, Mr. Falker.  

There are so many things you can stop and discuss along the way as you read this book to your class, but one of the main themes in accepting others and celebrating unique talents.  Even though Trisha is admired because she does "magic with the crayons", she is bullied because she can't read.  This is the perfect time to discuss and explore the special and unique talents of the students in your class.
Patricia Polacco, wonderful illustrator and author,  her books touch our hearts!

I can't think of another illustrator I enjoy more than Patricia Palacco.  Her stories are not only heartwarming and genuine, they are truly works of art.

Roald Dahl, these books are perfect for 3rd and 4th grade literature studies.  His books are filled with humor that appeals to kids and adults!

I could have named Patricia Polacco again as my favorite author, but Roald Dahl deserves the recognition in this category.  When ever I needed a book to make us laugh I'd choose one of these as my class read aloud.  Since I taught 3rd grade, my students were able to read most of his chapter books on their own.  I loved doing a literature study of his books early in the year so the kids would have the rest of the year to enjoy his books.

I started my literature/author study with the book Boy, Tales of Childhood.  Roald Dahl wrote it as a collection of true stories from his life.  I didn't read every chapter, but chose a few of the most interesting.  Hearing the stories about his life the kids understood where he came up with some of his story characters and his view of adults.  

After reading a few chapters from Boy, Tales of Childhood I would read Matilda to the class.  I think I chose this book as a read aloud because of Matilda's love of books.  Every year, one of my goals was to turn all of my students into book lovers and Matilda was the perfect first step toward that goal.

During the author study I would begin the literature studies with small groups.  I usually used the books The Magic Finger, George's Magic Medicine, The Twits and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

I have three of these literature studies available in my TPT store.
The lit studies are available in a bundle, or individually.

 Roald Dalh Literature Bundle

I bring a lot of informational books into my lessons.  This book, From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons is a treasure. She does such a wonderful job of explaining concepts with her words and her illustrations.  I've used this book several times when I introduce finding evidence in the text.  Here's a freebie from my 3rd grade interactive notebook that covers this skill.
 From Seed to Plant Free Interactive Notebook page, great way to teach finding evidence

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Crazy for Clipboards

Clipboards are one of the coolest inventions of all time! How clever is it to have a board with a giant clip to hold loose papers --so simple, and so useful.  And, you couldn't have a more perfect item in your classroom.

I love clipboards so much that I started a Pinterest board just to collect ideas for clipboards.  Clipboard Craze is where I've collected lots of ideas for decorating and using clipboards.

Here are a few of my favorite. 
DIY Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards - great gift idea!
 This clipboard is not only adorable, but you can also write on it!  

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Pick 3 July DIY

July Pick 3

Summer is finally here.  Many schools have just started their summer break, but many schools will be back in session in just a few weeks! So my Pick 3 for this month is ideas that you do at home to get your classroom ready for a new year!  They're all about DIY, Do It Yourself!

My first pick is this adorable chair.  Turn that ugly, old office chair into a style that goes with your classroom decor.
 DIY desk chair, from old and ugly to spectacular!
Click on Image to View Original Pinterest Link

This idea looks a little more challenging, but I think it will totally be worth it.  Can't you see this in your classroom library!
 DIY ottoman and book storage
Click on Image to View Original Pinterest Link

Finally, I've saved the easiest for last.  I love this calendar and might even make one for my office.  All you'll need are paint chip samples and a frame with glass.   How cute is this~
 Paint chip calendar.
Click on Image to View Original Pinterest Link

I've enjoyed looking for these DIY projects so much I started a Pinterest board just for DIY Classroom Projects.  Check it out for a lot more cute and creative ideas.


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