Sunday, September 14, 2014

Learning our names

We've spent a lot of time talking about names this week! Working with names is a great first step to early literacy for kindergarteners. For most students, seeing their own or a friend's name in print is the first time they have understood that a word can represent a concept. My goal is for all of our kindergarteners to be able to recognize, spell, write, and count the syllables in their own name, plus begin to recognize and write their friends' names. Here are some activities we've been doing to increase familiarity with names.

Special Name of the Day

Every day during the first month of school, I pick a new person to be the "Special Name of the Day." When the name is picked, that child comes to the front of the room and picks his/her name card out from a chart where I have written all the names on index cards. Then we study their name, following the same routine each time:

  1. We count the letters in the name.
  2. We say the letters in the name.
  3. We cheer the letters in the name. (Gimme an S...S! Gimme an A...A! Gimme an M...M! What does it spell? SAM!) (needless to say this is their favorite step)
  4. I cut apart the name, and the child tries to put it back together correctly.
  5. We study the features of each letter in their name. Does it start with a capital letter? Are the letters tall or short? Do any of the letters have a tail (like g and y)? Do you have any of the same letters in your name?
  6. Each person draws a picture of the child, and writes their name underneath.
  7. The child takes home the packet of pictures from their classmates, as well as their name puzzle, so they can practice putting it together at home.
Name Magnets
Our assistant teacher, Ms. Breuer, made awesome name cards with each child's picture and their name written in capital letters. Kids can find their own name, or a friend's, and use magnet letters to spell the name on this small magnet board. The kids love doing this!

Name Mats
We made these name mats and put out playdough so kids could roll it up and write out their names. Next week I'll put something new, such as dry erase markers or bingo dobbers, so kids can practice forming the letters in different ways.

We will continue to work on writing, tracing and reading our names throughout September. You can practice writing and reading your family members' names at home too!

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