One of the first skills we work on during the first few weeks of school is name recognition. While some young learners come to school able to recognize their name in print, many can not. Here are a few of the ways I help my students learn their names.
Find Their Names Around the Room
When setting up and decorating my classroom I place student names in many places to help them learn to recognize their names in print.
The first things I have students find during Open House and the first day of school is their cubby and desk which are labeled with their names.
Their names are also displayed on classroom displays as well as on our door so I can easily ask them to find their names when they arrive and do name hunts during group times.
Students love having classroom jobs, so using their names on that board gives them incentive to learn to recognize their names so they know if they have a job that day.
Spell Their Names with Cards
This is a fun and easy activity that helps students learn the letters of their names and the order of the letters.
I make card holders from pool noodles by cutting long pieces in half lengthwise so they sit flat and then cutting a 1/2 inch slit down the length of each section.
Students use their name plates as reference and find the letters in their names on cards and put them in order in the holder.
Trace It, Build It, Count the Letters, Write It
This is a name recognition small group activity and center that can be used the first few weeks of school.
Students first trace their names at the top of the page. It is very important when teaching handwriting that students know how to properly form the letters. Some students know this from pre-k, but others do not. Therefore, I use 2 different fonts for the Tracing section – one that has arrows that show how to properly form each letter and one that does not for students who are already familiar with proper letter formation.
Then they build their names with magnetic letters, count how many letters are in their names and write the number.
Lastly, they write their names on the bottom.
Photo Name Puzzles
Since I take pictures of students on the first day of school, I have pictures to use for this activity. I use PowerPoint to make the puzzles. Insert the photos, place the names underneath spacing out the text. Print them out and cut them apart.
I place them in baggies on the students’ desks for a fun morning activity.
Students put the pieces together to spell their names and realize they are building their own pictures! They love it!
Roll & Write Name Activities
These roll & write activities make name writing practice more engaging and fun! Bonus – students also get practice with subitizing/counting and color words!
Students roll a die and then write or trace their names in the box using the color crayon they rolled. For example, if they roll a 4 they write their names with a red crayon and then roll again. They repeat the process until all 6 boxes are filled.
For students who need guidance with proper letter formation, I give them a nameplate to look at as a guide that shows the proper letter formation for each letter in their names.
The crayons on this sheet are colored in to aide in color recognition and color words.
Students who already know proper letter formation and colors, use this sheet which does not have the crayons colored and do not use a nameplate guide.
Since students LOVE writing with all the different writing instruments in the writing center, I decided to do a version where they get to practice writing their names with different writing instruments too.
Digital Name Recognition
In recent years we have started using iPads, therefore we also practice typing names as well as sizing the text, choosing text color, and moving text. It is a fun, simple introduction to using the keyboard and iPad.
We use Google Slides as well as Seesaw because these are the apps that we utilize most.
Students use their name plates as reference and type their names on the iPad choosing the font and text color they wish.
Next, they count the number of letters in their names and type the number and place it in the box.
Since students really enjoy the roll and write name activities, we do a digital version too using the iPad in place of a writing page.
Name Go Fish
This is a fun name recognition / getting acquainted activity that we do on the first day of school. I put student names on one side of a fish cut out and attach paper clips to them. Students use a fishing rod that has a magnet as “bait” to catch a fish. When a student catches a fish, he/she holds up the fish to show the name. The student with that name stands up and tells the class something about themselves or answers a question about themselves.
If you would like to use any of the resources from this post in your classroom, click the links below.
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