Sunday, 31 July 2016

Three Simple Name Activities for Back to School

Names are the perfect place to start at the beginning of a new school year! Using names is relevant and familiar to our kiddos and an awesome way for students to get to know each other and build community. 

1. Name Printing Mats
Most primary kiddos can use a little practice with their names when they start a new school year.  Whether they are learning to print their name for the first time, need practice with letter formation or have the "all CAPS" bad habit, it is an essential back to school skill. These name printing mats are quick and easy to make and can be used as long as your students need them. 

I made mine in Word and simply typed each student's name twice at the top of each page.  I centred my text and then typed each name once in black and once in yellow.  The yellow is great for tracing without needing a fancy dotted line font.  Use whatever font you like best, making sure it has a letter formation consistent to that used in your classroom.   The font I used is called KG Primary Penmanship.  This font can be found in Kimberly Geswein's Store on TPT and is free for personal classroom use.  CLICK for link.

That's it..   Print and they are ready to go!  To make them a little more "fancy" I printed mine out on some bordered printer paper that I bought at my local stationary store.  Make sure to look in the discount section.... I got a large pack that I has lasted me for a few classes of name mats.

To make them reusable simply laminate or slip into a page protector and use with dry erase markers.  With my kinders I always laminated them because they got so much use throughout the year.  Once they got their own name mastered they loved to try printing all their friend's names too!  I would stick them in our writing center and they would be used all year long.  With my firsties I tuck them in page protectors because they are only used at the beginning of the year.  Once their names are mastered I take them out and let them print their names with "special" markers in their very neatest printing and take them home.  

2. Name Pocket Chart Sentence
If you can get past the fact that this is totally a run on and on and on.... sentence, this little activity is a great way to get students reading classmates' names and learning a few sight words. The fact that is does go on and on is precisely why kids seem to like it so much and it can't hurt to have the sight word "and" mastered in the first week of school!  For our kinders often their name is the only word they know and they love seeing and hearing it as part of a lesson. All you need is a sentence strip and some index cards to whip up this name sentence. I love using neon index cards for the student names.... they totally pop.   

Ways to use it:   
*Have students add their names to the pocket chart in the morning for attendance.
*Read together at morning meeting.  Add Good Morning to the beginning.
*Choral read together.
*Add to centers for students to assemble and read independently.

This is easy to put together on your own with some sentence strips and index cards (no printing and laminating needed!) but... if you want to print and laminate... CLICK for the word cards I used above.  

3. Class Name Book
I LOVE class books and the first one I do each year is a Name Book. All your kiddos (and you!!) print their name & draw a picture of themselves.  This book is super easy and SUPER popular with the kids.  I is sooo fun to look at your friends and read their names!!  It also makes a great keepsake from the first week of school.  Just take the book apart at the end of the school year and send the pages home with your students.

You can simply give your students a blank piece of paper to create your own Class Name Book... I did this for years and it turned out great...but for a FREE printable version click below.

Class Book Freebie
I hope one of these ideas will work in your classroom! What name activities do you do at the beginning of the school year?

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