Saturday, July 27, 2013

HELLO, My Name Is.....

I'm so excited to meet you!  I'll be guest-blogging for Nicki today while she is on her mission trip.  I'm a former first grade teacher turned reading specialist. You may know me from the blog, Read With Me ABC.

If you're anything like me, then you've been thinking a lot about 'Back to School'.  Those first few days of school are so important for setting the climate of the classroom, learning student names, and helping students develop peer relationships.  

Along those lines, I'd like to share with you a few of my favorite "Getting to Know You" activities to use during the first few days of school. 

Read Aloud

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
Book Introduction
Ask students, "If you could choose any name of yourself, what would it be?"  This is the question Unhei faces in the story.

After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her American name should be. Students place their name suggestions in a jar.  Unhei reveals her 'new' name.

Follow-Up Discussion
Ask students, "Why do you think Unhei finally decides to keep her own Korean name?  If you were Unhei, what would you have kept or changed your name?  Why?"

Extension Books
Here are some other books about names you may want to read, too:  

  • Chysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  • My Name is Yoon byHelen Recorvits

HELLO! Bingo 

This activity is great for students in kindergarten through third grade. You will need a class list, bingo chips, and bingo cards. 

Directions for Play 
The game is played like regular bingo.  The bingo cards have a student's name (or photo) in each square.  The bingo caller announces name of a student; if the name appears on the bingo card, it is covered with a bingo chip.  

The twist in this version of the game is that when a student hears their own name called out, they must stand and say, "Hello!" Play continues until a child has covered a complete row on the bingo card and shouts, "Hello Bingo!"

Preparing the Cards  
There are many options for preparing the cards.  Choose the one that is developmentally appropriate for your students.

Kindergarten:  Provide students a sheet of photos of their classmates to cut out and paste randomly on a blank bingo card.
You can make the cards with pre-printed names on them by using an online bingo card generator.

Grade One:  Provide a sheet of names for students to trace, cut out, and paste randomly in the squares. 

Grades Two and Three:  Provide a class list for students to use. They will write the names of their classmates in the squares of a blank bingo board like the one pictured.  Click on the bingo card image to download this freebie.  :)
Graphic provided by Creative Clips

Name Trace (Write & Wipe)

This center activity is great to use with students in kindergarten and first grade during the first few weeks of school.  

Laminate a sentence strip with each child's name and picture on it.  

Directions for Use 
Students use the sentence strips to trace the names of their peers with wipe-off markers.  In doing so, they learn to identify the printed name with the photo on the strip.  

Classmates Match (Pocket Chart Activity)

This center activity is great to use with students in kindergarten and first grade during the first few weeks of school. 

Reuse the laminated name strips (from wipe and write activity).   Cut the pictures and names apart.  Shuffle the pieces and store them in a basket.

Directions for Use 
Students match the pictures with the corresponding names, then display them in a large pocket chart.

Use the sentence strip pieces to play a memory matching game.

Other "Getting to Know You" Activities

  • I have...Who has? - Use class names and photos to play.
  • Build a Name - Spell classmates names with letter tiles, block, dough, wax sticks, stamps, or other fun manipulatives.
  • Name Comparison - Partners use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the letters in their names.
How do you help students learn their classmates names during the first few days of school?  Leave a comment.  Nicki and I would love to hear from you!

I've had so much fun filling in for Nicki and visiting with all of you today.  Let's be friends!  Here's how we can keep in touch...


  1. I have got to find that book. I love it!! Perfect for back to school. Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy to be following you on Bloglovin, too! :)

    First Grade Fairytales

  2. This books sounds so great & i love the Name Bingo idea. Thanks so much for sharing.