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Learn Your Students' Names Quickly

*Adapted from The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide

Learning how to correctly pronounce and spell your students’ names is one of the most important tasks you will have to master as the school year begins.

Learning all of your students’ names on the first or second day of school is not very difficult. These quick tips will make it possible for you to go home on the first day of school confident that you know the students in your class well enough to get the term off to a good start.

• Put in some preliminary work! Organize your seating charts, study class rosters, and prepare name tag materials.

• Make sure that your students sit in their assigned seats for the first few days so that you can more quickly associate names with faces.

• If you have students fill out a student information form, when you read what your students have written, mentally match their faces to the information in front of you.

• While students are working on an opening-day writing assignment, walk quietly around the room, checking the roll. • Ask each child to say his or her name for you. Repeat it as you study the child’s face.

• Mark pronunciation notes on your roll sheet. Also, make notes to help you match names to students. For example, you can write “big smile” or “very tall” next to a student’s name. These little clues will help you when you are struggling to recall a name on the second day of school. Make sure that you pay attention to characteristics that are not likely to change, such as height or hair color.

• When you cannot recall a child’s name, admit it, and ask for help. When you hear it again, write it, repeat it, and try again until you can recall it.

Related article: What’s Your Name Again?


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