Saturday, August 17, 2013

B2S Name Activities

I'd like to send out a big thank you to Amanda from Teaching Maddeness for featuring me today in her Budding Blogger series.  If you are visiting today from Amanda's blog, welcome!  I'm so glad you are here!

Back-to-School is right around the corner for me.  Our students officially begin the new school year on August 26th.  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 picture books and "Getting to Know You" activities to use during the first few days of school. 

Read Aloud Books (with a 'name' theme)

Chysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits

Getting to Know You Activities

1.  Name Comparison

This activity is great for kindergarten and first grade students. Students will need scissors and a glue stick.

Download the Venn Diagram and letter tiles {click on the image below}. Copy a set for each student.  You may wish to have a few extra copies of letter tiles on hand. 

Directions for Use  
Partners use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the letters in their names.

2.  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 {here} to download this freebie.  :)

3.  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.  

4.  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.

5.  Build a Name 

This center activity is also great to use with students in kindergarten and first grade. 

You will need the sentence strip name pieces and fun manipulatives like letter tiles, blocks, dough, letter stamps, scented markers, etc.

Students use the manipulatives to spell classmates names.

How do you help students learn their classmates names during the first few days of school?  Leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you!

If you haven't already checked out Teaching Maddeness, hurry over and will love her blog.  Amanda has so many great will love, love, LOVE her!  I promise.  :)

Teaching Maddeness


  1. Hi Wendy,

    I found you from Teaching Maddeness. Love the pictures of your family! Were you underground in the last pictures?

    I also am a Reading Specialist. I left the world of Special Education a few years ago and entered my dream job! I have been so happy teaching what I am passionate about.

    Thank you for sharing your B2S ideas. I have to see if my school has the Name Jar. I like the looks of that book. I like to use From Anne to Zach with my kiddos. We create a name book after reading that they love to revisit during the year.

    Excited to be following your blog!

    The Rungs of Reading

  2. Great 1st weeks ideas. I think I may steal the name comparison one. I am looping this year and they already know each other for the most part, however I think it would be fun for them to do some ice breaker type activities with their names. Thank you for sharing! :)