Sarah Joshua Danielle C.J. Valencia Chantz Sherry Hunter Candice Victoria Daniel Brittney Michael Joe Adrian Tarrius Victor


Sarah Joshua Danielle C.J. Valencia Chantz Sherry Hunter Candice Victoria Daniel Brittney Michael Joe Adrian Tarrius Victor



Information provided on the page is for classroom use only; not for publication. 2001


Chrysanthemum ~ Kevin Henkes

What’s Your Name?
A Guide to First Names and what They Mean ~ B. Goodman & N. Krulik (Scholastic)

Word Wall: The kids’ names are the very first words on our Word Wall.  I put them all up at the beginning of the year and we go over them every day.  I point at them with a very long pointer as we read them.  As the kids learn them, I stop reading with them and let them read the words to me.  Click here for a picture of our Word Wall.

Word Wall Bingo: Provide each student with a piece of paper divided into 9 boxes or whatever is appropriate for your students.  Have them copy a name from the Word Wall THAT THEY CAN READ into each box.  As you call out a name from the wall, write it down on a sheet of paper (I keep a clipboard loaded with paper and handy for this).  When all the names on their page is covered, check for accuracy against your list.  If they are correct, then they’re the winner.  I stress to the other students not to clear their paper until I’ve announced that the student is a winner.  Some of my students tend to just put on a marker every time I say a word!  You can use edibles markers for this such as Fruit Loops, M&Ms, etc.  After play is finished, then everyone’s a winner and gets to eat their markers.  A picture of this is also on the Literacy Connections page. 

Name Game: Have your students sit in a circle, then have them take turns saying their name.  First go round, they might all whisper their name, then the next go round, they’d shout their name, then sing, clap the syllables, etc.

Name Necklaces: There’s a particular type of noodle that is tubular and slick (don’t know the name of it) that is good for doing this activity.  Dye enough raw pasta for each letter of your students’ names.  You dye the pasta by putting it into a gallon size ziploc bag, adding a capful of rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of food coloring.  Move the bag around until all the pasta is colored.  For a deeper color, let it sit a while.  Then remove and allow to dry on newspaper.  Using a Sharpie marker, write one letter per noodle, until you’ve spelled each student’s name.  Put the noodles for each student in a ziploc bag along with an appropriate piece of yarn.  The yarn should have a small piece of masking tape put around the end of it to form a “needle” and to keep it from coming unraveled.  Label each bag with the student’s name.  The student will use the noodles to form his/her name on the yarn.  Hint:  If you tape the left end of the yarn to the desk/table, it will prevent MANY mishaps of the noodles sliding off the unused end.  Modeling for the students before having them do theirs is a good idea.  They should understand that the letters have to be put on in the correct order and facing the correct way (not upside/down).  Provide name plates for the students to use for models as well.

Plate Sail
(tune:  If You’re Happy and You Know It)

If your name is on the plate pick it up.
If your name is on the plate pick it up.
If your name is on the plate,
Then you’re really doing great.
If your name is on the plate pick it up.
~ Author Unknown

This song is one of the very favorite songs/activities of my students.  I even like it (non-musical) because it’s easy to sing and easy for me to remember.  I write each student’s name on a small plate.  As we sing the song standing in a circle, I throw down one plate.  Whoever’s name is on the plate has to pick it up.  We sing until all the plates are gone. 

Name Graph: Graph the number of letters in each student’s name.  Afterwards, discuss who’s name has the most, who’s has the least, which letters have the same amount, etc.  This is a great activity to do after reading Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

Name Practice: This activity is good for those students who either don’t know how to write their name, or for those who need more practice tracing.  Fold a sheet of white paper into thirds vertically.  There will be a top flap and a bottom flap that will fold over the middle section.  Open the paper up, and in the middle section write the student’s name with a broad tipped black marker.  Demonstrate to the students how to fold the top flap down over their name and trace their name using a pencil or crayon.  When finished, they fold the top flap up, then fold the bottom flap up and over their name.  Again, they trace their name.  Afterwards, if needed, the two flaps they traced their name on can be folded backwards, and it will form a name plate showing the name written in marker.  The students can then practice copying their name from the name plate onto paper, a slate, or small dry-erase board.

Name of the Day: Choose one person’s name per day and write it on the board.  Then lead the students in a cheer each day while pointing to the letters in their name.  One of my K students did this adaptation while working one-on-one with her during tutoring using her name.


I said give me an "A" and she said "A - you got your A, you got your A!"  :)  I asked her where she heard this.  And she said she was a cheerleader!  This is one of their cheers.  So I'm going to add this to the cheer because it gives them even more practice identifying the letters.  And I think I'm going to add large letter cards to the chant as well, like the cheerleaders use to use and hold up.  So here's the new cheer:


B: give me a B!  (B - you got your B, you got your B!)
E: give me an E!  (E - you got your E, you got your E!)
V: give me a V!  (V - you got your V, you got your V!)
What’s that spell?

I think these cheers typed up would be an excellent addition to their poetry journals.  (See more about the poetry journals that we use in our classroom at Literacy Connections.) 

Letter Stamps: Lakeshore Catalog has these neat sponge letter paint stampers that are good for letting your students stamp out their name.  You use them with tempra paint.  The downside of them is that the ones that I have are all capital letters, so it throws some of your students off that only know how to form their name using mostly lowercase letters.

They can also use letter stamps and ink pads to form their name. 

Letter Tiles: Another idea is to give them paper letter tiles.  They can either glue them onto another piece of paper in the correct order, or you could have them laminated and let them keep them in a ziploc bag in their desk for use during “free time.”  If laminating them, I would suggest making them kind of large so they wouldn't easily get lost.  I also provide my students with an identical name plate so that they can put the letter tiles directly underneath those on the name plate.  Once that’s mastered, then they began trying without the name plate as a model.  We use the name plate to self-check.

Magazine Letters: Cut letters out of magazines to form their name.  Glue onto paper.

Rainbow Writing: Furnish them a copy of their name written rather large.  Instruct them to keep tracing over their name using different colors to form a rainbow.  Or, you could instruct them to use the 7 colors found in a rainbow, so that when they’d used all 7 colors they would know that they were through.  (some of my cherubs think that one or two colors constitute a rainbow)

Magnetic Letters: Use magnetic letters to form their name and those of their friends.  Cookie sheets can be used as magnetic boards.  (check with a magnet prior to buying)  There are also VERY LARGE oil drip pans that can be used as a magnetic board.  A teacher down the hall from me had one and she kept hers on an easel for the students to use.  I think they cost less than $10 and you can get them at auto parts places.

Write the Room the Name Way!: If you use name plates on their desk, you can furnish them with a clipboard and let them go around the room and copy theirs and their friends’ names onto the clipboard.

Playdough Stampers: I also purchased playdough stampers from Lakeshore.  They come in capital and lowercase.  The students use them to stamp out their name into the playdough.  Some of your students could make “snakes” with the playdough and form the letters of their name that way.  This last activity causes great difficulty for students for some reason.

Playdough Mats: This name activity is good for those students who have difficulty forming their name with playdough “snakes”on their own.  Make a mat with their name on it in big letters; laminate.  The students now have a model for forming their name.  They make their “snakes” then form them on top of their name.

Tactile Names: Allow the students to use “things” to form their name, such as beans, cereal, buttons, etc.  Allow them to form them freely, or give them a piece of cardstock or construction paper with their name written on it in large letters. Let them trace it with glue and add the objects for a tactile name plate.

Take-Home Activity: Send home a sheet with your students so that their parents can tell them how they got their name.  Tell the parents that the student will be asked to share their answer with the class the next day.  Have the parents write the story down on the paper in case the student forgets.  You’ll have a “cheat sheet” to prompt them with.  This has always been an eye-opening activity for me, and it’s one of the most completed homework assignments.  Be sure to share your story as well. 

Pocketchart Activity: Take each students picture and have it laminated along with an index card containing their first name.  Place the students’ pictures in the pocketchart and have the students match the names to the pictures.  Later you could make a card containing their last names and have them match first and last names.  You could also make a matching activity where they match the names as normally written, to the names written in all caps.

Attendance: Use name cards alone to take attendance.  Instead of calling roll, hold up name cards and have the students answer when they see their name.

A New Itsy Bitsy Spider
The itsy bitsy spider
Crawled up on ______’s head.
He crawled all around, then used it for a bed.
He crawled down (his/her) back
and jumped down to the floor.
Then the itsy bitsy spider
Crawled underneath the door.

This song was another favorite of my students.  It’s another easy to sing and remember song for me as well.  We turned it into a pocketchart activity as well as added it to our Poetry Journals.  For the pocketchart, I wrote up all the lines leaving a blank the size of a 3 x 5 index card where the student’s name went.  Then as we sang the song, I inserted different index cards with a student’s name on the card.  We also talked about when to use “his/her” and why it was written like that.  For the Poetry Journal, I typed it up in a graphics program, then added a large spider underneath the song.  I modeled how to draw their picture, showing them how to make the spider ON their head, not ABOVE it.  (Good time for a quick mini-lesson for on/above/over).  They filled in their name in the blank or that of a friend.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear Spin Off: Make a class book as a spin off of Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  Instead of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?  use “______, _______, who do you see?”  Use students’ names in the blanks.  Add a picture of each student to the appropriate page.  At the end, have “Teacher, Teacher, what do you see?”  “I see ________, _______, _____, etc. looking at me!” and list all the students’ names along with their picture.

Friendship Station: Provide each student with their name written in all caps down a page (with horizontal lines) vertically.  The students are to copy a classmate’s name that begins with the corresponding letter in their name beside each letter.

M Melanie
I    Ivy
A   Alan

Smelly Name Plates: Provide each student with a cardboard name plate with their name written in thick black marker.  Have the students trace over the marker with glue, then sprinkle dry Berry Blue Jello over the glue.  After they’re good and dry, shake off the excess Jello.  Hint:  Make the names large enough that the glue doesn’t just run together in a big blob.  Of course, you could always have some real Blue Berry Jello as a follow up activity!

Making New Friends: Using a graphics program, make a page with 9 activities (or however many you can get on a page) that children like to do, with 2 lines under each picture.  Some of the graphics could be swimming, playing ball, a dog, a bike, a book, at the beach, flying a kite, a cat, mountains, etc.  Provide each student with a copy, then have them go around to their new friends and get them to sign their name under the pictures of the things that they like to do.  Instant ice-breaker and good for name practice as well.

Korky’s Cool Rhyme Machine: Go to this site, and plug in the name of each of your students and it will give you a rhyme with their name included.  This is a must for your Names Unit!!  Print out each rhyme, then add it to your students’ Poetry Journals.  (Each student will only have their own name rhyme.)  With a big group of students, you might want to add one student’s rhyme per day.  Read the rhymes every day and before long, not only will that child know their name rhyme, but most of the rhymes of the other students as well.  This is an excellent pre-reading activity and wonderful for increasing both phonemic awareness and memory skills. (Update 11.23.07: As far as I can tell, Korky's is no longer online.  If you find the website, please share the URL and I'll add it to the page.)

In The Spotlight: This is an activity that you might want to do in conjunction with the Name Cheer.  Choose one student and have them complete the following sentence frames:

My name is _________.
I am ___ years old.
I like ______________.

Put this onto a chart, then read it several times with your students.  By using the same sentence frame every day, it turns into a predicable chart and they’ll soon start to recognize those words.  (Be sure to track along with a pointer as you read it with your students.)

Have each student draw a picture of the “spotlight” student and write their name below it.  Compile all the pictures and type or write up the 3 sentences.  These can be put together as a personal book for each student and can go into their Book Boxes.  (more info on Book Boxes on the Literacy Connections pages)

Alternative Attendance Idea: Keep an attendance sheet in an easily accessible place and have your students sign in each morning to let you know that they’re present.

Question of the Day: As they sign in each morning, you could have them answer a “Question of the Day.”  This would be a yes/no question written on a T-graph.  To indicate their answer, they’d write their name under “yes” or “no”.  (The question goes across the top of the T, and “yes” is on one side, and “no” is on the other.)  Ex.:  Do you like milk?

Tracing: Another tracing idea is to have your students trace over their “dotted” name.  Start with first name only, then after they’ve mastered writing it, add their last name.  Instead of sitting for a very long time and “dotting out” every one’s name for a master page, you can use software that is downloadable for free off the Internet.  The name of the font is: Zyia Learns Letters  It’s available at The Teacher’s Parking Lot and also at Billy Bear’s Playground.  I used it last year for some of my students and it works well and saves you so much time.  The main thing that you need to remember (took me a while to figure this out) is that once you download it, unzip it, and move it into your fonts folder, you still need to know how to make it LARGE!  Those students who need to use it normally need to start out BIG!  So I made sure that the student’s name covered across the whole page (vertical for names with 5 letters or so, and horizontal for long names)  To make it BIG, go to the font size on the tool bar of your word processing software (Microsoft Word/Microsoft Works, etc).  If you click on that little arrow and scroll down, it will only go to size 72 font.  You need BIGGER!  So, click inside the box where the number is, erase what’s there, and type in bigger numbers until you get the size that you need.  I can’t remember exactly how big I had to make them, but I think it was over 100.  If you keep each student’s name on a disc or saved to your hard drive, when you want to add their last name, you just have to pull up their page, change what needs to be changed and print.

Another Tracing Activity: Use the software mentioned above and print out each student’s name.  Mount onto a sentence strip, index card, cardstock, or construction paper; laminate.  The student can use these to practice tracing their name over and over using a Vis-a-Via pen.

Flannelboard Center: Provide the students with felt letters and let them form their name on the flannelboard.  This can also be turned into a file folder activity by gluing a piece of flannel onto the front of a file folder.  Tape a ziploc bag inside the file folder using packing tape.  Keep the felt letters in the bag.

Writing in the Sand: Provide the students with a shallow box or pan containing sand.  The students can practice writing their name in the sand providing them with another sensory integration activity.

Sandpaper Letters: Cut letters from sandpaper, glue onto cardstock.  Allow students to use these letters to form their name; then using their index finger and their middle finger, trace over and say each letter.  The use of two fingers provides more motor control and sensory integration.

Name in Glue: This activity is similar to the one above, but you do the student’s name in colored glue.  Using a thick line of glue, trace over a student’s name that’s been written on cardboard or something stiff.  Let dry for several days.  The student can trace each letter using the two finger method and say each letter.

More Tracing: Dot each student’s name onto a sentence strip; laminate.  The students can use these day after day, tracing their name with a Vis-a-Via pen. Once they’ve mastered their name, they can use the back side to practice writing or copying their name if you’ve used two sided sentence strips.

Alphabet Stickers: Provide the students with alphabet stickers and let them use them to form their name on something personal such as their Poetry Journal, etc.

Name Line: If you have room for a clothesline in your classroom, or even if you don’t, you can have your students form their name by hanging the letters in the correct order on the line.  Buy colored index cards and print the appropriate letters (one per card) for the names of your students on the card vertically.  Don’t forget the capital letters for the first letter of their names. For those students who need assistance, provide a cheat sheet card with their name for them to look at.  They can hold the card in their hand for assistance, or hang it on the clothesline first as a model.  For those students who have no problem with forming their name, provide them with a list of names of the students in the class and have them work on forming the names of their classmates.  This is a good activity for letter sequencing and letter discrimination. 

For those teachers who do not have room for a clothesline, if you have a wall with about 3 ft. of space available at “kid level”, then you have room for a clothesline!  I made a mini - clothesline on my wall for my students to use.  (
See picture; on this day it has a math activity on it)  You can also use the Ellison machine to cut out articles of clothing and write a letter for each student’s name on it, and let them hang out the wash!  I know Ellison has a t-shirt and a sock die.  You can also do like I did in the picture and find a clothing shaped notepad, program each page, and laminate.

Kinesthetic Name: You might want to do this activity in conjunction with the Name Cheer as well.  Choose one student’s name per day to form using the students in the classroom.  Issue each student needed to participate, a card or necklace with a large letter of the chosen student’s name.  For example for Alex: four students; one with capital A, one with l, one with e, one with x.  Instead of writing the name cheer on a chart, you could say, “Give me an A” and the “A” child could step forward.  Continue until everyone has stepped forward.

Name Bingo: Make Bingo cards using your students’ names.  Here’s a site where you can make Bingo cards online to print.  Print on cardstock for better durability.  Laminate if you intend to use them all year.   

Personal Educational Press

Colorful Names: This activity is fun for the students and really gets them engaged, however it is a lot of work, especially if you have a large class.  AND, you also need LOTS of colors of construction paper and an Ellison machine.

Choose one color of construction paper for each of your students.  The colors can not be duplicated unless you divide your class into 2 groups and make 2 separate activities (or however many groups you want). 

For example, Sarah’s color is purple.  Use the Ellison machine to cut out each letter of Sarah’s name from the purple paper (including 2 lowercase As, not just one).  Glue each letter onto a 3 x 5 index card, vertically; laminate. 

Continue this until you have completed everyone’s name in the class.  Provide the students with a master list of names.  The students sort the letters by color.  Then use the letters to form each student’s name.  (For example, all Sarah’s letters will be purple, all Alex’s letters will be yellow, etc.  There will be no mixing of colors within the name)  When finished, they’ll have a rainbow of colorful names!

To make the activity even more difficult, ALLOW the mixing of colors within the names.

Crayon Resist: Have your students write their name 3 times on a piece of white construction paper.  For some, you might want to have them trace over where you’ve written it very lightly.  When they’re finished, have them watercolor over the whole page.  The watercolor will adhere to the paper, but the crayon markings.  The kids will think it’s magic!

Yet Another Tracing Activity: Use a yellow or light green highlighter or marker to write the students name on paper several times.  Use an orange marker to put a dot at the “start” of each letter letting the student know where they should place their pencil to begin forming the letter.  Have the student trace over their highlighted name starting at each orange dot. 

Note:  I also use the orange dot method in conjunction with the “dotted” print software.

Providing Boundaries: For some students who have difficulties writing their name within the lines provided on tablet paper due to developmental or visual perception difficulties, you can highlight the top line with one color and highlight the bottom line with another color.  Then when you’re instructing your students to write their name, you can tell them to start at the “green” line and come down to the “orange” line. Or, to write their name BETWEEN the green and the orange line.  To make this even easier, Frog Street Press now publishes colored line writing paper.  They use a blue top line for the “sky”, and place a tiny cloud at the beginning of the line.  Then the dashed/middle line is red, and the bottom line is green for the “grass”.  They place a tiny flower at the beginning of the green line.  When using this paper, you instruct your students to start at the “sky” and pull down to the “grass/ground”.

Silly Name Song
(tune: Zippety Do Dah)

Zippety zoo zah, zippety zay
My oh my what a silly day.
Zippety zoo zah, zippety zay
Billy sing this song in a silly way.

Bippety boo bah, bippety bay
My oh my what a silly day
Bippety boo bah, bippety bay
Sarah sing this song in a silly way.

Sippety soo sah, sippety say.....

Sand Art Name Plates: On cardboard or stiff paper, write or have each student trace their name with glue.  Sprinkle colored sand over the glue.  Allow to dry.  Colored sand can be bought or you can dye your own.  To dye your own, place a cup or two of sand in a gallon ziploc bag.  Add a few drops of food coloring.  Zip the bag shut and move the sand around in the bag until all the sand is dyed.  You can save left over sand for another project or add it to your sand table.

Take-Home Activity: Provide each student with their name printed “coloring book style” on a sheet of cardstock.  (This can be done using some graphics programs such as Print Artist)  Send them home with each student along with a note to their parents to help them decorate their name and send it back to school.  Encourage them to be creative.  You might want to have your name already done as a model for them to look at before attempting theirs.  Display the decorated names on a bulletin board covered with birthday wrapping paper and the caption:  My first gift from my parents …  Affix a bow in the corner of each student’s paper, similar to a gift.

Bulletin Board: This is a good bulletin board to use if you’re using the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  Cut out large flower petals and write each student’s name on one with a black permanent marker.  Have the students paint the petal.  Assemble all the petals together to form a large flower on your bulletin board. 

Predictable Chart: This activity also goes with the book, Chrysanthemum.  Make a predictable chart using large chart paper.  List each student’s name on a line with a colon behind it.  Beside each student’s name, write the sentence frame:  I wish my name was _________.  Have each student dictate their answer.  Read over the chart daily.  This is a great pre-reading activity as well as teaching name recognition, sight words, and one-to-one correspondence.  Make sure that you track along with a pointer as the students read the chart aloud.  Leave up in the room as a Read the Room activity.

Puffy Paint Name Plates: Mix the puffy paint according to the recipe below.  Have your students trace over their name written on heavy cardboard or mat board. 

Puffy Paint Recipe.

equal parts of:
salt, flour, water
(1 cup each is a good starting recipe)
Mix well. Add liquid or powdered tempera paint (or any paint) to this
mixture if desired.
Put in squeeze bottles from mustard or shampoo.

Squeeze mixture from the bottle while printing or writing the name.
Dry overnight.

Kindergarten Magic: Write each student’s name on a sheet of white construction paper using a white crayon.  Trace over it several times to make the crayon “thick”.  On the back of each page, write the student’s name very small in pencil.  Make up a story having something to do with “magic”, then have the students paint their piece of paper using watercolors or thin tempra paint.  Then they’ll see some “magic” of their own.  Their name will magically appear on the page!

Name Mobile: Using different color construction paper and the Ellison machine, cut out the letters of each student’s name.  Put each student’s letters in a ziploc bag to keep them separate.  Label the bag with their name.  Provide them with an appropriate length, vertical strip of paper to glue their letters onto to form their name.  (Sentence strips might work well for this.)  Hang these from the ceiling using fishing line and plastic clothespins.  Tie the fishing line to the clothespin using the hole provided in the clothespin.  Then just clip the mobile to the clothespin.  If you’d like, you can make two holes at the top end of the mobile and add a loop of yarn to hang them from.

Another Mobile: Use the Ellison machine to cut out enough shapes for each letter of each student’s name.  Program each shape with a letter of their name and place in a ziploc bag labeled with their name.  Tie enough lengths of yarn onto a wire clothes hanger for each letter in the student’s name.  Vary the lengths of the yarn.  Have each student tape the opposite end of the yarn to the back of the letters in the appropriate order to form their name.  This might be an activity best done in a Center or small group.

Name Poems: These poems would work well as pocketchart activities.  Have students’ names on index cards and insert them into the blanks.

_______looked at the moon.
_______ looked at the stars.
________got in a rocket
And went to Mars!

Apples, Apples
On the tree
Some for _________
And some for me!

1, 2, 3, 4
______'s sitting on the floor,
Eating _________ on a plate!

Too Cool! : You can use Crayola Overwriter Markers to teach students how to write their name.  You write the student’s name with the Underwriter, and the student traces it with the Overwriter.  As the student traces with the Overwriter, the Underwriter changes color!

Name Book: Each student will complete their own name book.  Each book with have a page corresponding to each letter in their name.  Ex. Alan:  will have 4 pages in his book.  On each page of the book will be a letter of their name in the correct order.  The student will complete the book by adding a picture to each page that begins with the letter sound.  Ex.  Alan’s book will look like this:
pg 1 ~ A: alligator
pg 2 ~ l: lamp
pg 3 ~ a: apple
pg 4 ~ n: nickel

“Roll the Ball” Name Game: Have all students sit in the floor in a circle.  Have one student say their name and roll the ball across the circle to another student.  That student will say their name and roll it to another student.  After everyone’s had a turn, have the student with the ball say a classmate’s name and roll it to that classmate.  Continue until the children lose interest.

Name Train: Using the Ellison machine, cut out a train car for each student from assorted color construction paper along with a black engine and a red caboose.  As a student learns to write their first name, write their name on a train car and the word “first” on the front wheel of the car.  Display the train car behind the engine and add the caboose.  When the student has mastered writing their first and last name, write the word “last” on the second wheel of their train car.  This indicates that the student has mastered writing both their first and last name.  As the students begin to master writing their names, keep adding to the train until all train cars have been added.

Another Name Train: Using the Ellison machine, cut out one train engine, one caboose, and enough train cars for the number of letters in each student’s name.  Program each train car with a letter in the student’s name.  Place all pieces in a ziploc bag labeled with the student’s name.  Distribute the bags to each student along with an appropriate length of adding machine tape.  Model for the students how to draw a railroad track on their tape with a black crayon and how to glue their train on to the track. (This is crucial for some students or you will have the tops or middle of the train cars glued to the track.  Left on their own, some students will start their train from the right side, therefore forming their name backwards OR, they’ll start their train in the middle of the paper and not have enough room to place their whole name on the track.  THEIR solution for this will be to place the unused letters in front on the train.  Beware!)  After they’ve drawn their track, have them glue their train onto the track.  Watch closely for those who need help.

Name Graph: Graph students’ names by beginning letters.  Have each student write their name on an index card.  You can either have a graph showing just the letters that are needed for the beginning letters of the names in your class, or one showing all 26 letters.  Use the actual cards and tape or glue them to the graph in the appropriate place.

Nonstandard Measurement and Graphing Activity: Give each student their name written on a sentence strip or piece of adding machine tape.  Provide the class with enough of the same manipulatives that everyone can measure the length of their name using a nonstandard measurement.  For example, they would measure their name using counting bears, beans, Fruit Loops, paperclips, buttons, etc.  (Unless you want to have to deal with halves, keep the measuring instruments small)  After everyone has measured how long their name is, help them to write their answer down on a piece of paper.  Use the measurements to graph the length of everyone’s name.

Alphabetizing Names: Write each student’s name on an index card with a marker; laminate.  Have the students alphabetize the names by first letter.  This is a good activity to do on the floor so that the student has plenty of room to work.

Kinesthetic Names: Print each student’s name in large letters on construction paper.  Have them place their paper over a piece of corrugated cardboard.  Provide them with a pushpin and have them “trace” their name by pushing the pin into the paper. These can be displayed in a window where the light will shine through the pin holes.

Name Puzzles: Cut posterboard into whatever shape and size you’d like each students name puzzle to be.  Decorate each puzzle with their name and hearts, flowers, ladybugs, etc.
Cut the puzzles into pieces and place in a ziploc bag labeled with the students name.  This might be a good first day/week of school activity for when the students come in to class.

Name Necklaces: This would be a good Center activity.  Provide each students with an appropriate length of cord and alphabet beads that can be purchased at Wal-Mart or a craft store.  The students will string the appropriate beads onto their necklace in the appropriate order.  As with the noodle necklace, tape the left end of the cord onto the table to keep the beads from sliding off.  Some students might need a name plate to use as a model and some might need to be given only the beads that they’d need to form their name instead of having access to a whole bowl of beads.

Pocketchart Activity: Make a sentence strip for each student’s name with the following sentence frame and their name inserted into the blank:  “Hi!” says _____.  Have the students match the sentence strip to the appropriate classmates’ picture.

Potluck: Have each student bring in an edible “snack” that begins with the same letter as their name.  For example, Andrew could bring enough sliced “apples” for the class to share.  Bethany could bring “bananas”.  Take a picture of each student along with the food that they brought.  These could be compiled into a book using the sentence frame:  _______ brought _______.  Each student would have a picture with their picture on it and the completed sentence frame.  If you have doubles made of the pictures, you can also create a phonics activity as well.  Program a card with the beginning letter of each student’s name and laminate it along with all the pictures.  The students match the pictures to the correct letter. 

Write the completed sentence frames on sentence strips and the students can match the correct sentence strips to the pictures.  OR, they can match the pictures to laminated name cards!

Names That Are a Snap! : Some teachers may have a problem with this activity, but I do not.  Using a black Sharpie marker, write each letter of each student’s name onto a Unifix cube.  (Eventually it will wear off, or you can probably take it off with hairspray or some type of cleaner.)  Have the students snap together the appropriate Unifix cubes to form their names and the names of their classmates.  Provide them with a master list of names to use for reference.

Pockets of Names: Purchase enough “library pockets” for each beginning letter of your students’ names or one for each letter of the alphabet.  Stick them onto a piece of colored posterboard and program each pocket with a letter.  Laminate the board, then slit the pocket back open with the sharp point of a pair of scissors or a straight edge razor.  Either purchase “library cards” to fit in the pockets or make your own cards.  Program each card with a student’s name; laminate.  The students will sort the names by the beginning letter into the correct pocket.

Name Chant:
I have a friend named ______.
I have a friend named ______.
Can you spell it?
(Teacher or student points to each letter of the name as the class spells it)
Can you spell it?
(Repeat letter pointing)
I have a friend named ______.

Name Sort: Make two gender mats and name cards for each student.  For younger students one mat can have a picture of a boy, and the other mat a picture of a girl.  For older students, you can use the words "boys" and "girls" on the the mats.  Have your students sort the name cards according to gender.

This is a picture of our mats.  The illustrator was my TA. :)


Dismissal: Instead of lining your students up by rows, tables, or groups, pull a name out of a hat!  (If you don’t happen to have a top hat, use something you do have handy)  If you do happen to have top hat, cut out enough white rabbits using the Ellison machine for your students, label each with a name and laminate.  Put them all in the hat, then to dismiss the students, pull a name out of the hat and hold it up for the class to see.  The person who’s name is on the rabbit gets to line up first.  Continue until everyone has been dismissed.

Snack: Prepare a place card for each of your students.  A piece of construction paper or cardstock with the student’s name written on one or both sides will do.  Fold the place card in half, with the student’s name showing.  This will make it stand up.  Have a student distribute the place cards on the tables before snack time.  The students then find their name and seat in the designated spot.  Laminate these and a substitute teacher would love to have access to them when you’re out sick!

Name Match: Purchase two different color index cards.  Write each student’s name once on each color card; laminate.  The students match the cards.  If you don’t have colored index cards, you can use two different colors of ink.

Room Decorations: Cut the letters of each student’s name out on assorted bold colors of construction paper using the Ellison machine.  Place the letters for each student’s name in a ziploc bag labeled with their name.  Distribute the bags and provide the students with a black strip of construction paper to glue the letters onto to form their name.  Model how to glue their name on prior to distributing the materials.  Display in the classroom.

Name Rhymes: Have each student create their own name rhyme using the pattern of:

A my name is Annie,
And my friend’s name is Andrew.
We live in Anahiem,
And we like apples.

For ex. Carla’s rhyme could say:

C my name is Carla,
And my friend’s name is Casey.
We live in California,
And we like candy.

These could be compiled into a class book.

Your Name
Growl your name
Howl your name
Stretch it till it’s long
Chant your name
Pant your name
Sing it like a song
Clap your name
Snap your name
Announce it loud and clear
Spell your name
Yell your name
Tell the world you’re here.
~ Diane

Alphabet Name Game: Write a letter for each letter of the alphabet on a 5 x 7 card.  Sing the following song and have the students stand when appropriate.  (You could also just sing the song while pointing at an ABC chart)

(tune:  Mary Had a Little Lamb)

If your name begins with ___,
begins with ___, begins with ___,
If your name begins with ___, stand up please.
~ Author Unknown

Glad to See You:
(tune: Frere Jacques)

I’m Mrs. _____, I’m Mrs.______,
That’s my name, that’s my name.
I’m so glad to see you,
I’m very glad to see you,
What’s your name?  What’s your name?
(teacher points at student, student says his name)

Teacher sings:
Welcome _____, welcome _____.
I like your name. I like your name.
We’re so glad to see you.
We’re so glad to see you,
At school today, at school today.

I am _____, I am _____,
That’s my name, that’s my name.
I’m so glad to see you,
I’m so glad to see you,
What’s your name?  What’s your name?
~ Author Unknown

(tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)

My friend has a green shirt on,
a green shirt on, a green shirt on.
My friend has a green shirt on,
Can you find my friend?
(students then identify the friend by name)

Name Song
(tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)

If your name is (child’s name), clap your hands.
If your name is (child’s name), clap your hands.
If your name is (child’s name),
If your name is (child’s name),
If your name is (child’s name), clap your hands.

You can either sing this song and hold up a student’s name on a card, or put it into a pocketchart and insert the cards into the pockets.

You can also change the motions to:
stomp your feet
snap your fingers
do all three
nod your head
say “Hello”
jump up and down

Teacher Where is (child's name)? Where is ___?
Child Here I am.  Here I am.
Teacher How are you today, ___? (shakes student's hand)
Child   Very well, I thank you.
Teacher Run away, run and play.  (student runs back to seat )

Round is a circle,
Round is a game,
Round-about, round-about,
Tell me your name!

As you're saying this, make a circle with your hand, then point to a student.

Phonics Activity: Fold a sheet of construction paper in half verically for each student.  For students with more than 6 or so letters in their name, you'll need a larger than normal size of construction paper.  Turn the paper towards your body horizontally with the fold at the top.  Section the paper off into however many letters are in the student's name.  For example, Cindy:  I would have the top flap of the paper sectioned off into 5 sections.  Once you've sectioned off the TOP FLAP into however many sections you need, cut the TOP FLAP ONLY into sections, making sure to stop at the fold.  I would now have 5 separate flaps on the top and a solid piece on the bottom.  Write one letter per section of the student's name on the top flaps.  Provide enough small size pictures that the students can glue a picture under each flap that begins with that letter.  To make my pictures, I used a graphics program.  I sectioned off my paper into the size grids that I needed, then made sure that I had at least one picture for every letter of the alphabet.  Because some students will need more than one picture for some letters, you'll need to run extra copies.    I always model this activity for my students using my own name before turning it over to them.  My name would be like this.
C car
i ink

Some students will need to be provided only the pictures that they'll need for their own name and you'll probably have to model for them using their name.  Afterwards, give them the opportunity to complete the assignment on their own.  You'll be surprised at what some of them learn/remember.

What’s In Your Name?

Kevin Henkes from Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site

BabyNamer Meaning Search

Behind the Name




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