Why? Because you’re not just teaching…you’re teaching kids. You’re bonding, making kids feel special and valued—like they’re part of a wonderful club.
Kids will be better behaved when you know their names. They’re not “You!” they’re “Chrysanthemum!” You know what I mean.
Here are 7 tips for teachers to learn children’s names quickly.
1) Create name tags with LARGE first names. That way, you’ll see the face and the name, and form an association. Write the last name and class, too, much smaller, in a corner of the tag.
2) Plan a seating arrangement before the kids arrive. Then you’ll associate seats with names. Place your name tags around a table, boy then girl with non-English speakers next to a native; and kids who you think might need extra attention up front closer to the meeting area.
3) Make a seating chart. Make it simple; it will be obsolete after a few days. Fold a plain white paper into 24 boxes, 6 X 4, in roughly the configuration of the kids’ seats. If you need more boxes, fold accordingly. Write the kids’ names in pencil, because they may change after day 1.
4) Write a description of each child on your seating chart. You can do this as they sit eating their lunch or as they write at their seats.
This is for your eyes only, so write just enough to trigger recognition, such as:
· “Paul McCartney” (for a kid who looks like the young Beatle)
· Big, happy eyes, brown buzz cut
· Tiny braids with color clips
· Longer hair than _____
· Taller than _______
· Rounder face than ______
5) Sing a song with the kids (to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”). Teacher: “(Name, Name) are you here?” Student response: “Yes, Yes, I am here.”
6) If your school or district allows it, take a photo all the kids sitting together in the meeting area with name tags in view. Study the photo and names overnight.
7) Take photos of the kids at their seats while they’re writing, and review them at home, referring to your seating chart with names.
You want to learn every child’s name quickly. It makes a huge impression when you greet each child with a big hello and their name. They’re part of the club now.
For more tips, here’s a comprehensive Teacher’s Kit: Love Your First Days of Kindergarten. Inside you’ll find full scripts from the moment kids walk in the door till the moment you say goodbye. Also: lessons, printables, posters, letters to the parents, and hundreds of tips to get started for your first week of kindergarten and beyond.