Monday, July 10, 2017

3 Easy Ideas to Help School Counselors Learn Students Names

In elementary school, I was a very shy and quiet student.  I didn't like to stand out and I only participated in class when called on by my teacher.  I would say the majority of my elementary school years I felt invisible.  It wasn't until the fifth grade that I felt like my teacher really "got" me. My teacher, Mr. Bellon, invested his time and energy to develop a strong relationship with ALL his students. Every member of his class felt valued and appreciated. To this day (25+ years later), my heart is filled with such gratitude when thinking about him and the impact he had on my life.

School Counselors have A LOT of students.  It is difficult to know and memorize the names of every student at school.  At the end of my first year on the job, I thought back and reflected on who were the students that made it EASY for me to to remember their name? They were the students assigned to my caseload, the ones who raised their hand after every question asked, the ones with behavior challenging issues, and the ones who went out of their way to engage with me on a regular basis. Due to the large number of students at school, it's easy for the quiet and shy students to fly under the radar. Since my first year on the job, I have made it my goal to seek out those students and to do my best to get them engaged in my classroom lessons and to develop a positive connection with them. Although it may be unrealistic to know every student's name, here are 3 EASY IDEAS that can help with name recognition for the beginning of the school year.

1. Class List With Individual Pictures and Names: At the beginning of each school year, I print a list of every class which includes each student's picture and name.  When teaching classroom lessons, I pull out that particular class list and refer to it often as a way to help me memorize student's names. This has been a useful method to learn their names quickly and helps me avoid calling on my students like...."You, in the back with the blue shirt!"

2The Name Game:  Have the class sit in a large circle. Tell the students you want them to pair an adjective that starts with the same letter as the first letter of their first name. Example: Joyful Jodi. One person starts by saying..."I'm joyful Jodi."Then, the student to their right goes next and says "This is Joyful Jodi, and I'm Rockin' Rachel." Then it's the third person's turn and he/she has to name the two prior students and so on around the circle. The last person has to see if he/she can remember the name of every class member. With younger aged students, I like to do the same type of game but use animals that start with their first initial of their name. Example: Jaguar Jodi, Rhino Rachel etc.

3. Name Tags:  The BIGGEST help for me to learn my student's names is having name tags. The first lesson of every year, I have students pick out a name tag that best resembles them.  I have them color and personalize their own name tag. I have my students place their name tags on their desk during my classroom lessons. When my lesson is over, they store their name tags in their desks until my next lesson.

This FREE download includes 30 different Name Tags from which students can select.

I would LOVE for you to use these editable name tags at your school as a way to help you get to know the names of your students. Click HERE to snag these name tags from my TpT store for FREE! Comment below any ideas you have found useful at your school for name recognition.