Monday, August 14, 2017

How I Learn 100 New Student Names in 2 Days

Each year I have about 100 or so new student names to learn.  It takes me about two days to get them all down.  I think it is so important to learn them quickly – including correct pronunciations!  Here are five strategies that help me to learn 100 new student names within the first two days of school:

Yup, you read that right.  Each year I have about 100 or so new student names to learn.  It takes me about two days to get them all down.  I think it is so important to learn them quickly – including correct pronunciations!  Here are five strategies that help me to learn 100 new student names within the first two days of school:

Each year I have about 100 or so new student names to learn.  It takes me about two days to get them all down.  I think it is so important to learn them quickly – including correct pronunciations!  Here are five strategies that help me to learn 100 new student names within the first two days of school:

1)  I seat students alphabetically by last name. I always learn first and last names at the same time. I think this is actually easier because I can think about where in the alphabet their name should be when I'm trying to remember. (There are some exceptions for preferential seating modifications.)

2)  Students find their seats on day one by reading the seating chart and finding their own seat.  I do not attempt to say their name before hearing them say it themselves.  For attendance I ask them to say their name, then I repeat it.  I make it very clear that I want to be corrected if I pronounce any part incorrectly.  {My first year a student didn’t tell me until the end of the year that I had been mispronouncing her name I never wanted that to happen again!}

3)  I give students at least 15 minutes of quiet work time each of the first two days. I spend that time studying my seating chart and matching faces to names.
Each year I have about 100 or so new student names to learn.  It takes me about two days to get them all down.  I think it is so important to learn them quickly – including correct pronunciations!  Here are five strategies that help me to learn 100 new student names within the first two days of school:

4)  I demonstrate my bravery by attempting all names without a seating chart at the end of day one. This practice is a great way for me to check-in with myself and see which names I really need to focus on. Also, students get a kick out of it and it's a great way to develop relationships right off the bat!

5)  I make connections to people I already know. Did I have their sibling in class? I will probably learn their name right away. Do they remind me of a former student? I try to link the two names together in my mind.

6)  A temporary solution I use is to somehow connect what they're wearing to their name. (Example: Amy is also my cousin's name. Cousin Amy loves the color orange and today Student Amy is wearing orange.)

By the end of day 2, I can typically recite all first and last names when they are in their ASSIGNED seats. (It takes an extra week or so for recognition outside the classroom.) When I feel really brave, I let them switch seats randomly so I can try again. I love it and so do my students!  My eighth graders love to try to stump me!


What strategies do you use to learn your students' names?

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