One of the first activities I had my new students do is make name tags. Okay, sounds a little elementary, right? Wrong. Even though making name tags on the first day might be something done back in Kindergarten, there’s a way to make it relevant for even secondary students. [Or at least somewhat!] And that’s by making it a name activity rather than just a tag.
I gave my students the freedom of several colors of construction paper and markers. I asked them to write two facts about themselves on the back—two things that I would never know just by looking at them. They were able to decorate their nametags however they’d like, and after a few minutes, we all went around and shared them.
It was very simple, but it helped me to put names and facts to faces. At the end of the period, I asked the students to return their tags to their assigned slots. [The slot coincides with the students’ computer numbers. For more about that, click here]. And every day for the next week or two, the students could grab theirs on the way into class so that I could see their nametag on their desk and not have to waste time asking, ‘Wait, what’s your name again?’ over and over.
This was a simple way to get to know the students, as well as create an undercover means of classroom/behavior management. In order to keep my students’ attention on the lesson and my focus on the teaching rather than name-calling, I had the nametags to help eliminate distraction and wasted time. The nametag slots also helped by being a place for phones at the start of class. A very low-key, easy way to keep electronics from interrupting my classroom.