Just checked out my class rosters, and in addition to my three classes of returning students (105 returners–we are at capacity!), I have 72 new faces that will walk through my door next Wednesday. The big question is… how fast can I learn their names?
Learning student names is serious business.
There are few things that I take more seriously in the first week of school than learning student names. It affects everything. I originally posted my name-learning strategy in my first day lesson plans, but I want to make sure you all catch it because it will help you to start your year off on the right foot with all of the humans you get to teach this year!
How to learn student names FAST!
Step One: Students make name cards
On the first day of class, have each of your new students write their names–in BIG, LEGIBLE LETTERS– mine write them on this Name card.
Step Two: Photograph groups of students holding name cards.
Before class lets out, have students stand in short line-ups of two, three, or four students and flash a smile (or not) while holding up their name cards.
Step Three: Study the photos!
Put the pics on your computer and study their names and faces until you have them. Okay… when I first started teaching, I had a little flip-phonne, hence the photos-on-the-computer thing. 2019 UPDATE: PUT THE PHOTOS ON YOUR SMART PHONE!!
Step Four: Quiz yourself til you know ALL the names!
While you’re eating your breakfast, while you’re using the bathroom (gross!), while you’re brushing your teeth… keep looking at those faces. Focus on their faces and see if you can recall the name that they are holding up. Look down to check! Keep going until you’ve got it!
It REALLY works!
Every year that I’ve used this strategy, I have learned all of my students’ names by day 3. There is no better way for you to instantly connect with your students and make them feel welcome in your classroom.
But you have to study. Do your homework!!