Let's Teach Names
When students first come to us in kindergarten, one of the very first things we have to teach them is how to write and recognize their name. They have to be able to recognize their names so they know where to sit, where to hang backpacks, and which things in the classroom belong to them. And writing their names is just as important! Every paper they ever complete from here on out will need their name written clearly at the top, so that they can take ownership of their work, and so you as the teacher can tell who completed it.
That is why at the beginning of the year, I always begin with a variety of fun ways to teach names. After all, repetition is going to be the best way to help students master recognizing and writing their names, so they are set up for success for the rest of the year.
Building Names with Manipulatives
Perhaps the most fun way to teach students their names is with hands-on practice! Pretty much any material or manipulative you have available in your classroom can be used for students to build their names. Craft supplies like popsicle sticks, stickers or pom poms can be used to make the different letter shapes. You can recycle items like bottle lids to make moveable letter pieces that students can use to build their names. You can even use common classroom manipulatives like pattern blocks, snap cubes and magnetic letters! The possibilities truly are endless! Even better, when students are practicing their names with hands-on activities, they are also strengthening their fine motor skills. It’s a win-win!
Your youngest learners may not yet have the fine motor skills necessary to hold a pencil or crayon to practice writing their name. My Editable Name Set 3 allows you to create name activities for each student in your class. Students then use assorted manipulatives to spell out their names.
Tracing and Writing Names
As I mentioned before, the best way to get students to recognize and write their names is to repeat, repeat, repeat. But, that doesn’t mean that it has to be a monotonous task. Instead, I like to give them a variety of different name tasks even within the same worksheet. This way they are getting multiple exposures to their names at the same time. Planning to teach names doesn't have to be boring.
For example, students could begin by coloring the letters of their name to help with recognition. Then, they could move on to tracing their names either with a pencil or with crayons. As a final task, students could write their names more independently using boxes provided. I especially like this way of practicing names, because it helps students to see the shape of their name. The boxes provided show when letters are ascending, descending, or contained within the middle and bottom lines. By giving students multiple exposures to their names, they are more likely to remember it. You can find these in my Names Set 2 Unit.
Once your students are beginning to write, you can move on to my Editable Names Practice worksheets. Once you type in your students’ name, the pages are automatically generated for you. This gives students lots of practice with tracing and writing their name.
Creating Personalized Name Books
You can also have your students create an Editable Name Book. Once again, you simply enter your students’ names on the first page and the name books are automatically generated for each student. This book is full of name practice activities your young learners will LOVE. When they are done, they will have a fun book of their name.
We know how important students recognizing their names is, even from the very first day of school. It is a necessary skill that not all students come to us with much experience in. That makes it our job to give them experience with multiple exposures to a variety of fun ways to teach names. With tasks like rainbow writing, and hands-on activities, students will be mastering their names in no time!